Years ago we interviewed for a project; a great project, the kind of project we love sinking our teeth into. It was the design of a commercial interior for an up and coming studio of creative professionals (who have since arrived in full force). The clients were smart, savvy, and design-minded. They were interested in creating an exceptional space and best of all, they were fun. Make no mistake, we wanted this project.
We didn’t get it. <Cue the thunder and rain.> We lost it to a competitor, and needless to say, we were seriously bummed. Throughout the interview process we got to know and respect the clients. They were the type of people we could get a beer with and talk about business, design, social media, you name it. So despite the news of not getting the job, we kept our heads held high, treated everyone with utmost respect and continued to foster the relationship. Whether there was work in it for us or not, these are the kind of people we wanted in our community.
Cut to scene. It’s months later, the competitor’s design is done and the project is well into construction. And there are some, how shall we say, “issues” with the construction. The competing design firm didn’t make the budget a priority on the project and subsequently there are significant discrepancies between the client’s intended budget and the actual budget. By now we’re all friends (BUILD and the client). We’ve shared many a drink and the friendship has grown. So being the cost-effective bunch that we are, it was a no-brainer for the client to bring us on board to provide cost saving options, referrals to other building options and generally help close the budget gap. To this day, it blows us away that a design firm would seemingly abandon a client when the costs get out of line (but that’s another blog post).
To make a long story short, BUILD helped clean things up. The client kept their finances in order, the interior was completed beautifully, and it’s the headquarters for a still thriving creative studio. Keep in mind, we don’t mean to toot our own horns here, we are simply sharing that for all the times we’ve worked to keep our relationships in order, this was a time where we really learned the value of doing so (more on that in a moment).
From that point forward, we became their architects. The client has gone on to do several more projects, they are one of our best referrals for new work, and they continue to be fun to work with. They’ve given us more advice on social media and promotion than any marketing degree could have ever offered. They’ve included us in social gatherings, promotional events and even a few trips. In short, they’ve had a profound impact on the development of our company.
There’s an important lesson to take away from this as architects and builders (or any service industry for that matter). Creating relationships and building a community of like-minded, inspiring people around you is infinitely more valuable than any single job. Once you take this paradigm on, it affects just about every aspect of business and life. Treat people well, whether there’s work in it for you or not. Be professional, don’t let emotions get in the way of being sensible and reasonable. And most importantly, see the big picture, getting another job is just one slice of a much bigger pie.
So don’t be afraid to lose a job or two—it’s who and how you choose to be in the face of difficulty that matters most.
Cheers from team BUILD