About us and our recent successes
The evenings are getting lighter, buds are on the trees and the dawn chorus is noticeably more chirpy. Yes, spring has officially sprung. A spring clean could be on the cards perhaps?
The end of the first financial quarter provides a good opportunity to stand back, take stock and make plans for the rest of the year.
People often talk about cobblers’ children having no shoes and it’s certainly true that entrepreneurs can become so focused on serving their clients that there’s no time left for looking after issues closer to home. I’m no different.
Seeing the wood for the trees:
For years I worked all the hours God sent and worked on some amazing architectural and interior design projects including Pizza Express and Stringfellows, as well has exciting residential projects including developments with up to 150 units and 9000 sq ft luxury properties.
While I enjoyed gaining fantastic experiences in architecture and interior design, I didn’t seem to be moving my business forward. Eventually, I saw the light and engaged a career coach who helped me to identify my goals and put a plan in place to reach them. I’ve shared below the stages that helped me to breathe new life into my business.
Do some pruning:
The first step was to invest in myself by engaging business coach, Hamish Robertson from ActionCoach, who helped me to visualise my personal and business goals. Once I had written down what I wanted to achieve and where I wanted to be in five years’ time, it was much easier to see the path to getting there and to remove the obstacles in my way.
This has already reaped dividends: I was named Best Female Architectural Technologist in Europe in the Women in Construction and Engineering Awards 2015. I was invited to be a panellist at the Grand Designs show and have been asked to take over as the South East region secretary. I was also recognised as the Best Business Person of the Year for the Surrey region, in the Federation of Small Business Awards.
Look after the roots:
Of course, a key part of our business growth is ensuring that our customers are happy and that we win fresh business through recommendations and referrals. Listening is a core part of our service. We know that good design can improve our clients’ lives and wellbeing. Making sure that we have carefully listened to clients and understood their needs is critical to successfully delivering the brief. This puts us in a different place to other architects, who tend to favour technical prowess over the emotional impact of a building. Our designs are reflections of the conversations with our clients.
Nurture new shoots:
The second step was to focus on developing the team at Lewis Visuals. A key part of this was communicating our vision and mission: to enhance lives through good architecture and interior design. This also helped my employees to identify where they needed to build on their own skills and to work towards their personal goals. We currently have five full time architectural technicians/technologists working on design, planning and construction drawings and hope to expand the team this year.
My own saving grace was hiring a full time PA who manages the office, our diaries and supports our marketing activities, allowing me the time to work on developing the business.
It was very rewarding for the team when we were named Best Design and Construction Company in Surrey in the Surrey Build Awards 2015, as well as being nominated as finalists in two other categories.
Encourage fresh growth:
The third step was to focus on developing our partner relationships: setting up a referral system and creating relationships with commercial developers who provide repeat business and help boost profits. This strategy contributed to Lewis Visuals trebling its revenues over three years.
Plant some seeds:
We are working to inspire the next generation of budding architectural designers by presenting at career days in local schools, holding charity events and hosting open days to increase awareness of the career possibilities in architectural technology. We employed a full time apprentice, who has now qualified and excelling. All five of our architectural technologists are enthusiastic; share our vision of improving lives through design; have studied hard to earn their qualifications in Construction Technology and are all working towards becoming qualified with the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists.
Enjoying the fruits of our labours:
In addition to the local press coverage over the past three years, it was hugely rewarding to be featured in the Metro on 16th February 2016, in a full page feature on open plan design. The article shared Lewis Visuals’ vision of enhancing clients’ lives through good architectural design that accommodates the changing requirements of families as they grow. The feature described how carefully we listen to our clients so that we can incorporate their needs and personalities into our designs. This allows us to create environments that are tailored to clients’ lifestyles and contribute to their wellbeing and enjoyment of their homes.
We have enjoyed celebrating the successes of the last three years and are looking forward to building on this by meeting new clients and investing in new talent as we continue to grow our business.
To arrange a consultation, please call 01252 714985. We’re listening!