One of the largest architectural firms in South Carolina, Novus Architects, has broad expertise in residential and nonresidential buildings for both regional and national clients – including a strong specialization in healthcare. In 2014, with only 50 professional staff, Novus earned recognition by Inc. 5000 and the Roaring 20s as one of the fastest growing firms not only in South Carolina, but in the nation.
Novus had achieved rapid growth through its ability to handle the full range of architectural services for a fast-growing national client. However, this resulted in a higher-than-desired percentage of revenues deriving from a single client. The firm’s marketing program was felt to be less successful than desired: rapid growth had led to other concerns about whether the organization was structured effectively and whether its processes were well-suited for the firm’s size.
Novus engaged Knowledge Capital Group to perform a comprehensive evaluation of operations and recommend strategies for improvement. An initial assessment, focusing on staff and process reviews, revealed that sales and marketing functions were being performed as additional responsibilities by professional architectural staff – all of whom had direct responsibilities for ongoing client projects – and without clarity around marketing and broad objectives. As a result, sales and marketing efforts were inconsistently and inadequately resourced.
In addition, although the company had a healthy culture, characterized by exceptional openness of communication, it had outgrown the capacity of its part-time human resources support: with highly informal hiring practices, management’s efforts to engage its growing team were ineffective.
To mitigate these issues, KCG conducted the following project activities:
- Developed a focused marketing strategy in alignment with company goals to drive targeted growth
- Conducted a search for a Marketing Manager to lead sales and marketing efforts throughout the company’s regional markets
- Advised the president in evaluating architectural firms for potential acquisition; served as Project Manager throughout the merger and integration processes
- Facilitated the design and development of a re-organizated management structure for the combined firm
As a result of this engagement, KCG enabled Novus Architects to:
- Accelerate growth outside of the company’s key client [both within the healthcare field and without]
- Acquire a firm that added regional breadth, additional healthcare architecture expertise, and a new area of specialized expertise for the firm [educational architecture]
- Implement a new management structure with standardized position profiles for key leaders, driving clarity across a newly integrated organization