Mangement For Design

Autumn Release

10 Truths and Myths About Design Businesses

In our Summer eMag, we gave you 10 myths common to architecture and engineering firms and revealed the truths of each of them. We received some great feedback from these so have devised a further 10 myths that we have highlighted in this article.

It’s easy to make assumptions in the day-today of running a business. Business leaders are busy doing and don’t often have time to reflect on what is and isn’t true. Sometimes we’re deluding ourselves that a piece of software is great because we don’t want to have to accept that it’s made no impact despite a large spend. The company line may be that the client is always right, yet in reality the team are constantly bemoaning difficult clients.

Some say that truth hurts, but in business the truth can open your eyes to problem areas as well as to opportunities that are being missed.


Myth: We effectively control the amount of time we spend on the project
Truth: Work expands to use up the entire fixed fee and we will do whatever it takes to get the “best” design outcome


Myth: We’ve agreed on the deadline
Truth: The minute you agree on a deadline something will change


Myth: Our fees are competitive in the market place
Truth: There is always another firm that will do it for a lower fee


Myth: Our business is all about our people
Truth: Management has far less to do with people than you’ve been led to believe. Architects (and most people) are almost impossible to manage


Myth: Our principals set an example about how we do things around here
Truth: Principals never complete timesheets on time


Myth: There is NEVER enough time to do proposals correctly
Truth: We don’t have an effective process for managing our proposals


Myth: Our meetings start on time
Truth: Meetings always start 10–15 minutes after the start time and not everyone will get there unless it is with the client


Myth: We price our services accordingly
Truth: We really would work for nothing


Myth: We can handle anything at anytime
Truth: We’re not experts in everything and need to learn how to say ‘no’ and I’m/ We’re not the best person / business to do that


Myth: We capture the extra work that we do and bill accordingly
Truth: We’ve never had an effective way of capturing and charging for scope of services variations. We will absorb this in our fixed fee

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