Why doesn't he pair with a young company strong in aesthetics?
He gives them credibility (years in the business)
and they give him design ideas.
I would appreciate your help in order to hopefully help a friend of mine.
A friend of mine is an architect in Germany. He has a firm with 9 employees (another architect, a secretary and 5 structural designers and 2 construction supervisors).
Their core business has been in projects involving the design of new (and/or expansions of existing) industrial buildings (for heavy industries) and in refurbishing of older buildings in these industries. Their strength is not in creating nice looking buildings, it is in special knowledge of structural aspects (so their focus is on the technical aspects and not on aesthetics). Because of this they have never been able to really create a name in designing new homes. As to marketing, they never did much since all the heavy industries in their region knew where to find them. I was flabbergasted to find out that they don't even have a website (can you imagine?).
Since the heavy industry is shrinking in Germany the amount of work of his firm is also declining. Unfortunately for him this is happening at a time (he is 61 years old) that he had normally hoped to be able to sell his firm and retire.
Instead of that he is now faced with the challenge to first survive and rebuild strength in his firm before he can even have a slight chance to sell it.
My question to you is : Do you have suggestions for some actions that this man can take to steer his firm into the (semi-) fastlane, whith the type of employees he presently has? (clarification: One of the things which have always been very important for him is to provide job security to his employees. Most of them have worked for him now for more than 20 years).
I really hope that with your help he can get some ideas that can help him in quickly (re-)building his firm into a salable business instead of watching it slide into bankruptcy.
For example, one of the things I had been thinking about myself is that he could create (or copy from the United States or seek cooperation with a firm in the US with experience in this field) an efficient building concept for self storage companies. Self storage is hot in the US but is just starting to take off here in Europe.
Thanks in advance for all your in- and out-of-the-box ideas.
Kimberland, thank you for your reply.
He has attempted to find a company that is strong in aesthetics to cooperate with, but the company owners in his region with whom he spoke preferred to create their own all-in organizations rather than creating an alliance with another firm.
There is a lot of older architecture in Germany, right? What if he sent some of his structural engineers out into the streets to evaluate buildings (all kinds) and identify those in need of refurbishing and then make contact and offer services to do the work. The look of the building is to stay the same on the outside to preserve the history.
In the mean time bring in some fresh blood that has a strength in the aesthetics, maybe a rookie with a good eye and needs a place to start.
Just a thought.
If you want things to change around you, you have to change first.
Thanks, I like the idea of offering refurbishing (in a lot of cases reinforcement) services for older (possibly monumental) buildings.
Although bringing in fresh blood with a strength in aesthetics in the form of a rookie seems a good idea to me, I expect my friend to be reluctant to hire new people at this point in time. But he's never been in the unfavorable position that he's in right now, so maybe he'll realize that he will have to act differently from what he's used to doing.
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