When Opening New Offices, What Works Best?
According to a survey by Zweig White & Associates, 80% of multi-office engineering, architecture and environmental consulting firms plan to open another satellite office within the next five years.
About two-thirds of firms report that their most successful office had a "hot start," meaning the office was started with pre-existing projects or work in the region. Only 23% of the firms' least successful office began with some existing work. Over 75% of the least successful offices had a "cold start."
The survey results also show that a new office's success is more likely when a principal or owner is in charge. While 64% of firms most successful offices have an owner or principal in charge, only 48% of their least successful offices do.
Ray Kogan, Principal and Office Manager of Zweig White & Associates' Washington, D.C., office feels that the person in charge shouldn't be just any principal. "We find geographic expansion to be one of the most effective growth strategies for A/E/P and environmental consulting firms. The chances for a satellite office's success are greatly improved when a firm selects an entrepreneurial principal--one who wants to grow his or her stake in the firm." Leaders in multi-office firms agree; 66% believe that "the ability to think like an entrepreneur" is the single most important trait for a satellite office manager.
For more information about the 1999 Multi-office Survey of A/E/P and Environmental Consulting Firms, contact Zweig White & Associates at (508) 651-155 or go to www.zwa.com.