Ken: I know a lot of places like MidFirst Bank will allow customers to come in and use their conference room for meetings. There are a lot of places to meet clients if you’re not meeting them at their location.
Doug: There’s professional places and also just even the casual coffee shop are perfectly good places. Everyone can get a drink, and it’s convenient for the client. It’s usually all about the client for me.
Ken: So someone in this business, what do you think the mindset has to be for someone to really see success?
Doug: Sounds like a cliché, but hard work, long hours, doing whatever it takes to make sure each and every project comes in on time and exceeds (not just meets) the clients expectations. At the end, and throughout every project, you really need the mindset that you’re truly helped your client.
Ken: Right, just going above and beyond and over delivering; under promise and over deliver. For someone that’s starting out, a new architect, what do you think the two or three questions are that they really have to ask themselves and answer about growing their business to really be successful?
Doug: I would ask yourself, are you willing to do what it takes. This is not going to be an easy endeavor. You have to really, really want it. It’s got to be almost everything to you because of the sacrifices that you’re going to have to make in order for it to work.
Ken: Not a typical nine to fiver, right?
Doug: Definitely not. It’s 24/7, is really what it is. It’s weekends, and you have to be willing to do it, for the client, because it’s the right thing to do.
Ken: And then Doug, another thing I wanted to ask you is, are there some things that architects are supposed to do or they think they’re supposed to do but that can actually hurt their chances of success?
Doug: Things they’re supposed to do … I would say that you need to really make sure that you balance and blend your personal and work life. You think you’re supposed to work all the time but you have to make sure that you have a personal life for your family, as well.
Ken: So Doug, to wrap things up, what do you think the one thing is that you can attribute your success to more than anything else?
Doug: I would say making sure that every project is done right, and that way you’ll always get that call back if they happen to be looking again, or they have a friend that happens to be looking. Always keep in mind that this a business to make a profit, so charge a fair fee and don’t back down, you’re worth it. And if you make sure that that project is done right, then you’ll know that you can sleep at night, and that’s all you can do. The other thing, follow up. It’s all about follow up in this business. You attempt to direct something, and of course, it doesn’t always happen. You have to just continue to make sure that you follow up to make sure whatever that is gets done. I guess the last thing I would say is coming through on your promises. Whatever expectations you’ve set, of which you have to set those expectations with the client and team early, and then they know what’s going to happen, and then you have to come through. That’s vital to your success.
Ken: It sounds like great communication and delivering excellence. Those are the two things it sounds like that really have made you stand out from the crowd. 1. Being able to connect with people, being able to have great communication with yourself and with your prospects and clients, and then 2. Always knowing that you’re going to over deliver and make sure that the project goes really, really well for your clients. That’s what gets you the referral business that keeps you thriving, right?
Doug: That’s right. That’s what I go for, that’s what I attempt, and it’s a constant battle. I really enjoy it. That’s what it comes down to, I really enjoy it.
Ken: That’s great, and you do have to love what you do, right?
Doug: You do have to love what you do. You shouldn’t be doing it for the money, you should be doing it for what you love, and the money will come.
Ken: Right. So Doug, how can people reach you and DesignLine Architects?
Doug: My office is in Gilbert. My phone number is 480-710-3861. You can find me on the web at www.designlinearchitects.com. My email is email@example.com. I’m available five days a week from eight to five is my normal hours, but I’m willing to flex on those hours if needed.
Ken: Just like every other successful entrepreneur, right?
Doug: That’s right.
Ken: Thank you so much for being on today, Doug. I appreciate it. Again, we’ve been talking to Doug Rusk from DesignLine Architects. Doug owns and operates an architectural design firm in the Phoenix market, serving both residential and commercial clients on custom home plans and tenant improvement and remodeling plans. Doug, I want to thank you very much for being on the show today.
Doug: Ken, thank you so much. I appreciate your time and the opportunity to talk to you.