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The Art of Good Business

There has always been a myth that good architectural practice and making money are incompatible.  Having now hit the 10-year mark and with the fortune of hindsight, we can look back on the lessons which changed the way we think about our work and creating a sustainable business.

 

It’s a Business! (Stop calling it a practice)

After 5-years in business Maytree was a ‘failure’.  We were not profitable.  We had an unsustainable business model and were doing work we weren’t proud of.  We had to admit defeat.  But it was this ‘failure’ that metamorphosed our ‘practice’ into a business. When looking at Maytree as a business it became less personal, and far easier to frame up questions and find the answers. We are no longer afraid to pull levers to get balance. It has to spark joy, and it has to work for us all; the Maytree team and you, our clients.

Profit creates the time and space to design well

We won’t do any job where we aren’t being paid well for the time, love and care we know we will put into it.  Your fees create an atmosphere where creativity can thrive; it gives us the time to design and allows us to provide an excellent and consistent service for you, and a stable environment for our team.

Put value on all our skills – not just design

Our value extends to areas beyond traditional design.  The breadth of our role is extensive.  We manage budget, time, consultants, risk and process.  We are project managers and leaders.  We manage a variety of people and relationships.  And we have experience of making a million little, and big decisions.  It is the combined value of these skills which we bring to each and every project.

Better systems mean better business

In our experience, running a smoother architectural practice business, is grounded in the quality of the experience we give to you.  At Maytree, we have created 10 steps we take every project through – from first conversation to handing over your keys. Our process manages your project and it’s budget to ensure it doesn’t fall over (we currently see 80% of projects that start design, get built). By channelling every project through the same process, we remove variables and create certainty for you and ourselves.

Figure out what you stand for – then say it loudly

We feel very strongly about our responsibility to our environment and our community.  Over time, we’ve found ways to create and charge fairly for lovely architectural projects, but balance that with our need to give back.  A large part of what makes our day to day at Maytree so delightful is the people we are working for.  By attracting people who value authenticity, sustainability and accountability, we have this amazing group of clients who value our work and make designing with and for them joyful.

Our 10 years of lessons (some hard learnt) on how to run a sustainable business can be boiled down to a balance of 3 key things – profit, people and portfolio.

The Trifector

Having said all the above, we also don’t want money without a great work culture, and we don’t want a great work culture without the ability to create architecture we’re proud of.  Our 10 years of lessons (some hard learnt) on how to run a sustainable business can be boiled down to a balance of these 3 key things – profit, people and portfolio.  3 things which we used to see as competing, are now fundamental parts of how we define our success.  Here’s to the next 10 years!

 

 

This blog is a precis of an article Bec wrote for Parlour, a collective which work toward gender and inclusivity in the architecture industry.  Click on the link to read the nitty gritty of Becs full experience: https://parlour.org.au/opinion-analysis/the-art-of-good-business/

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Herston QLD 4006

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