Threefold Architecture was launched just six months ago by two contemporary Cantabs. Determined to break down the sometimes intimidating walls of architecture, Dan and Nick want to show the people of Christchurch that designers are approachable and just as easy to work with as the popular group home builders.
"Dan and I met ten years ago when we were both working in retail before we started our architectural studies. Through our time in retail we got a taste for how essential it was to incorporate great customer service and the importance of being approachable in any business. When we started Threefold at the beginning of this year we knew great customer service was going to be an important part of our business model. Many people have this predetermined idea that working with architects and architectural designers is difficult or harder than working with group home builders - it's not and we want to show people how easy it can be," says Nick.
So far this method seems to be working well for the two new business owners with referrals and word of mouth becoming the strongest marketing tool they have in their arsenal.
However going out on their own hasn't all been roses, with a few lessons learnt straight out of the gate.
"I think the hardest thing for us was the realisation that our time is now coming out of our pocket, so working out how we manage time allocation has been key. Ensuring time management is effective - with non-billable time kept to a minimum has been a real challenge. In the beginning we would get to the end of the day and wonder where all our time went," says Nick.
Realising that their strength lies in their talent for architectural design not business management, Dan and Nick made the decision to hook up with a business mentor early on in their venture.
"We are confident in our design skills but realised we had gaps in our knowledge for business management. We contacted Business Mentors NZ and were put in contact with a fantastic business mentor who has been of great support to us through our journey so far. If we are uncertain or have a major issue we can contact our business mentor for advice - this has been invaluable," says Nick.
In addition, Dan and Nick chose to become professional members of Architectural Designers New Zealand. The membership provides them with support, business templates and access to networking and CPD events.
So what do these two young business owners recommend to other designers thinking about going out on their own?
"Don't do it all by yourself - pay for the professional assistance you need to make your business a success. When you set up your business don't get dragged down in all the detail of logo and website design - get help so that you can focus on your clients and your business. You will get a better result and you will have less worry!"
If you want to reserve your place for So You Want To Go Out On Your Own you can do so by following this link http://www.adnz.org.nz/events/feature/38/1839/