Find out where Rena is speaking next and link to on-line educational offerings.
Current Events & Publications
Helping you run your design firm better. Problem-solving assistance, management coaching and organizational development. Help for start-ups and solo-practitioners.
Relevant, practical and participatory education for design professionals. Workshops and seminars on design firm practice and small firm management. All are eligible for AIA learning units.
Retreat Facilitation Services
Retreats can be effective and engaging. Open Space Technology method is used to maximize participation and results for design firms, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations.
Over twenty years experience in residential design and construction. Services offered include: residential design consultation; expert witness services; code consulting and compliance inspection.
Recent blog posts
- Architecture Business Plan Competition
- Podcast: How Business Consultants Will Help Small Firm Architects to Build Better Businesses with Rena Klein, FAIA
- Eco-Home Magazine Winter 2013: When Design-Bid-Build Doesn't Cut It
- AIA New York eOcculus: The New Normal
- The Principal's Dilemma
- Provide Self-Aware Leadership
- Thriving in the New Norm: Strategies for Post-Recession Success
- How Wide Is your Triangle? Business Models for Design Firms
- AIA Trends: A Small Firm Management Expert Introduces" The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice"
- Do the Work Quicker and Faster
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 is 2014 Chair of the AIA national Practice Management Knowledge Community Advisory Group The Practice Management Knowledge Community (PMKC) identifies and develops information on the business of architecture.
For more information
Rena M. Klein, FAIA serves as juror in business plan competition for design firms Winners announced June 27, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois
Read about the winners
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 running your firm better or planning for the future?
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
What kind of firm you have probably depends on what comes naturally. Your capabilities, your interests and your habits all together have a way of attracting certain kinds of work and certain ways of doing business. Chances are, whether you know it or not, you are already operating within one of the common business models for professional service firms.
So, if it’s already happening without you knowing, why should you care?