latest news

Virtual Course Series – Small Firm Practice Management Bootcamp. Rena will offer a series of interactive live webinars on small firm practice. Presented by the Business of Architecture. For more information and to register, click here

From Enoch Sears “Business of Architecture Show” – Listen to Rena talk with Enoch about strategies and best practices for small architecture firms. To view the interview, click here

Rena M. Klein, FAIA serves as juror in business plan competition for design firms Winners announced May 14, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia
Read about the winners


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Helping Small Design Firms Prosper

Are you working more than 50 hours a week?

Are you doing more projects and not making more money?

Are you considering next steps or leadership transitions?

I can help!

“Rena met with me for a brief consultation to coach me in the management of my small architecture firm. After a quick review of my firm’s business history, financial summary, website, blog, publications, and a recent proposal sample, she was able to give me some valuable feedback. She was insightful and encouraging. She offered some constructive criticism which I took to heart. Two weeks later, three, yes three, new clients hired me! Thanks, Rena for your useful and kind intervention! It helped me immensely.” – Laura Kraft, AIA, Owner, Principal at Laura Kraft Architect

Need help managing your firm or planning for the future?


Book cover

The Architect’s Guide to Small Firm Management

by Rena M. Klein, FAIA, published by John Wiley & Sons, 2010

“One of the finest practice books I have encountered.  It contains some great information for an aspiring startup architect like me.”

“An outstanding book because it is very complete in addressing all aspects of a firm, especially those topics that no one wants to touch upon, all well  organized in a concise book. I’m encouraging all our Principals and Partners to read your book.”

Available at and

Owning and operating a small architectural design firm can be challenging, with tight project deadlines, on-the-fly meetings, rush proposals, and fluctuating workloads as part of the day-to-day. To help small firm owners cope with the chaos and prepare for the unexpected, here is The Architect’s Guide to Small Firm Management, a no-nonsense guide to repurposing daily demands into workable, goal-directed solutions.

Crucial topics such as self-aware leadership, people management, technology, financial health, scenario planning, sustainable practice, and future trends are examined using real life case studies and business model paradigms. This definitive text explores the whole system experience of a small firm practice to deliver organizational strategies proven to keep a firm’s creative mission on a steady, productive path.

Key Financial Indicators and Profit Planning

Key financial indicators are a subset of key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be tracked for many different aspects of a firm’s operations. For example, KPIs for marketing might include the “hit-rate,” a metric that tracks the number of jobs won relative to number of proposals sent out. For financial performance, there are a few metrics that are critical to quickly understanding the financial health of the firm. When viewed over time, these indicators can reveal the overall effectiveness of the firm’s project acquisition and delivery processes.

Architecture Business Plan Competition



The Architect Business Plan Competition is intended to foster a dialog about the importance of entrepreneurship to the future of the architecture profession. The competition is open to registered architects in the U.S. or Canada who have considered starting a design firm or who have operating an existing design firm for five years or less. There is no fee to enter.

The first prize winner will receive a $10,000 prize. The second prize winner will receive $2,500.

Podcast: How Business Consultants Will Help Small Firm Architects to Build Better Businesses with Rena Klein, FAIA

From Mark LePage of the website Entrepreneurial Architect: On this episode of the Entrepreneur Architect podcast, Rena and I discuss the many ways a business consultant may help you build a better business.

We talk about everything from how the AIA is focusing on the small firm architect, marketing, work/life balance, ownership transitions, firm valuations and so much more. Go grab your Moleskine or open your Evernote, because you are going to want to take notes on this episode.

Eco-Home Magazine Winter 2013: When Design-Bid-Build Doesn't Cut It

Have you ever designed a near perfect high performance home just to have it diminished by poor workmanship? How about a home whose price comes in twice as high as expected when it goes out to bid? Have you ever been caught in the morass of adversarial finger-pointing with a builder when things just don’t go right? These all-too-common experiences are the inevitable result of the traditional design-bid-build (DBB) project delivery method. read more

AIA New York eOcculus: The New Normal

Thought leader and lifelong contributor to the business interests and intersections of architects and their practices, Rena M. Klein, FAIA, gave a talk called “Small Firm Practice in the New Normal: Learning from Chaos Theory” on 05.06.13.

The Principal's Dilemma

Are you the founder of a small design firm that has been in business for ten-twelve years? If so, you are at a moment of decision, a turning point. This moment in your firm’s life cycle would be the same in any economy, but it is especially critical during a recovery.

Provide Self-Aware Leadership

In the January 2013 edition of the CRAN Chronicle, I covered the importance of setting up systems and processes for routine work. In this article, I am switching gears from operations to leadership and the subject of job satisfaction, one of the critical elements in determining the success of a small firm.

Thriving in the New Norm: Strategies for Post-Recession Success

Is your firm among the many that have been seriously hurt by the Great Recession? If your firm is half the size as it was in 2008, you are not alone. According to the AIA’s The Business of Architecture: 2012 Firm Survey Report, firms that managed to survive the recession have, for the most part, gotten smaller. There is no doubt that times have been tough, and Table 1 shows just how bad it has been.