Is it worth the risk? As an A/E firm principal, you’ve probably asked yourself this question dozens of times. And in no business is risk more apparent than in the opening, closing, and management of branch offices.
A firm’s growth is often tied to its ability to successfully establish additional offices. How do you know when it’s the right time to open a branch …or close one? How sure are you that the branch won’t be stolen from under your nose … or managed poorly by an employee who places personal goals above those of the firm? And, perhaps more important, once a branch is up and running, how do you prevent a loss of focus? Of clients? Of money? Or worse… of people?!
For starters, firms must consider their branch managers nothing less than mini CEOs. Successful branch office managers:
Operate the branch office as a profitable entity. They’re experienced in profit accountability, since they must demonstrate and achieve financial viability as a branch.
Manage all office costs. They have to consider the impact of all costs—profit as well as overhead—on operations.
Promote market awareness. They must know demand and need for the branch’s services. They must also be aware of the issues that concern clients.
Keep up-to-date on human resource issues. They often serve as personnel manager as well as “head” of the branch.
Understand what it takes to be a successful branch operation.
Managing a branch may be risky, but it does have ample rewards if done correctly. The question is: Are you ready to take the risk?
For more tips and advice on managing a multiple office firm, check out PSMJ's complimentary ebook Branch Office Optimization Strategies, a clear and concise overview–direct from PSMJ’s A/E industry experts–on what it really takes to open and grow a branch office.
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