ArchiTeam member Ajith Kuruvilla has written the following article
Everywhere you look there is negative news. Over the last year, the ABS has reported GDP per capita (a rough estimate of the average standard of living and economic well-being of the people in a country) fell 1.3 percent. In addition to this in the March quarter general Investment fell 0.9% and dwelling construction also fell 0.5% reflecting slowing building approvals and a soft property market.

But is this reason to be pessimistic?

One of the most common plotlines in literature is when a protagonist, over assumes a situation and reacts with a series of ill-fated choices. An example of this is the story of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. What would be the fate of King Laius and Queen Jocasta had they not given up Oedipus? By not understanding the true nature of his origins, Oedipus proceeded to make a series of decisions that ultimately fulfill the very prophecy he wanted to avoid.

When it comes to the architecture industry, it too easy to allow negative economic sentiment drive decision making and affect our overall attitudes. Staying positive in the design business can be challenging. The feast or famine attitude in the profession along with managing client expectations, deadlines, and competition for work can lead to unhealthy outcomes.

There are many things that you can do to overcoming this feeling of helplessness.

Invest in Yourself

The mind is a muscle, it can get stronger and more resilient.

  1. Invest in professional development: Learning new things can be invigorating and boost your confidence.
  2. Celebrate Wins: Acknowledging progress, no matter how minor, can boost morale and provide a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Focus on Strengths: Concentrate on what you do best. Leveraging your strengths can lead to more successful outcomes and enhance overall job satisfaction.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly. Physical well-being has a direct impact on mental and emotional health.

Lean into Your Community

Assuming you are isolated can lead to negative and unstable behaviour. The strength of the collective was on display during covid. Architeam, a collaborative formed to support and enhance small practice architecture went into overdrive trying to use the collective strength of members to navigate the unknown.

  1. Enhanced Knowledge Sharing: Being part of a collective can share insights, best practices, and industry trends, fostering a positive culture of improvement.
  2. Support Network: Members can support each other during challenging times, providing advice, resources, and encouragement and making the group more resilient to individual setbacks or market fluctuations.
  3. Mentorship: All members can benefit from the guidance and mentorship of more experienced members.

Optimise Your Architectural Practice

Dealing with a slowdown can be positive. It can provide you with an opportunity to review your business. Something not afforded when you are in the middle of the action. Take the slowdown as an opportunity to go back to basics and review your core ideas.

  1. Financial Management: Ensure you have a clear understanding of your cash flow. Focus on essential costs and find ways to get the most out of you spending.
  2. Focus on Core Strengths: Go back to basics and identify areas where your business excels. Review if you are still doing these well or have you moved away from them. Pivot back to your strengths and improve marketing efforts to attract clients looking for expertise you are offering.
  3. Improve Operational Efficiency: Review your existing processes and streamline operations to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Review how you are making use of new technologies. Are there ways to automate repetitive tasks and increase productivity? Can you upskill and train your team to improve productivity and client satisfaction?
  4. Innovate and Test: Test new service concepts or business models on a small scale to gauge their viability before full implementation.  Encourage brainstorming and discussions to come up with new ideas and solutions.
  5. Diversification: Can you Introduce new services that complement your existing portfolio? Are there any emerging trends and client needs not being provided for? Can you collaborate with other businesses to offer complementary services to strengthen both businesses.

One of the most famous examples of this is when gin makers started producing hand sanitizers. As architects, we excel at coming up with innovative and creative solutions to complex problems in an organized way. Innovation often happens when we have a positive mindset focused on continuous improvement. Don't miss this opportunity. If things slow down, use the time to review your goals and adjust your plans. Staying positive will help you handle any challenges you face. Before you know it, you'll be busy again.