Strategic planning — no two other words conjure as much anxiety, anticipation and mental exhaustion for leadership in professional service firms as these. For AEC industry firms, this is no exception. Why is that? The conversations that occur in these planning sessions often highlight how the road to the future is unclear, or they question why the old regime is hanging on much longer than anticipated. Sometimes imperfect data and a leadership team’s differing opinions get in the way of efficient decision-making. Whatever the scenario and underlying conditions may be, Q4 is a popular time to assess past wins and losses and plan for the next 12 months.

Strategic planning considers more than financial data. It also encompasses operations, marketing, recruiting and retention, technology and more. Yet, many of today’s AEC firms use strategic planning as a short-term, tactical tool, rather than an opportunity to explore new avenues for growth and innovation. Why should this matter? Because the AEC industry continues to change rapidly, with every passing year.

It wasn’t that long ago that architecture, engineering and construction firms more or less rejected marketing. Over 40 years ago, marketing was more or less synonymous with advertising, and advertising was prohibited by the industry. But the marketplace changed and marketing has become more sophisticated and broadly accepted. Add to that the impact that technology and the erosion of geographic barriers and you have an all-new business development environment. And many firms have yet to adapt.

blogoffer-middle-aecprimerWhat should strategic planning accomplish for your firm? Will it tackle the hard questions and clarify your path forward? Will it position your firm to win new business? Or will the planning commit you to more of the same? That will depend on what your team wants to get out of the process and its willingness to foster change in your organization.

To win new business, firms must first understand how the process of finding, recommending and buying AEC services is changing. They also must consider the evolving dynamics of a multigenerational workforce and how competition is driving the war for talent.

See also: Business Development and the Multigenerational Workforce

These are just a few examples of major AEC industry shifts. To help you understand these and other critical marketplace changes, Hinge has released a new guide just for the AEC industry: Navigating Change: A Primer on How AEC Firms are Winning New Business.

This is not a “how-to” guide; instead, this primer explores the factors that help AEC firms increase their odds of winning — and suggests what firms can change today to promote future growth.

The primer covers a wide range of topics:

  • A Different Kind of Business Development
  • Building Meaningful Brands
  • Conquering the Digital Divide
  • Talent Recruitment and Retention
  • Professional Support and Training
  • Bonus: Business Development and the Impact of Elections

Download the primer now »

AEC firms have a lot to consider when it comes to remaining viable in a competitive marketplace. Why not take this strategic planning season to assess, and perhaps evolve, your go-to-market approach and overall operational strategy. An important key to winning new business is avoiding the status quo mentality so common in the industry.

Additional Resources:

How Hinge Can Help:

Hinge has developed a comprehensive marketing program, The Visible Firm®, designed to take your firm to bold new heights of visibility. The Visible Firm® Program takes your firm from plan to implementation — a process modeled on the marketing practices of the most successful firms.