How to Start an AE Firm

Learning Series

May 02 2016 // 6:00 AM

It's Go Time!

Written by Jared Perry | @PAEVENjared

Part 2: It's Go Time!

As previously discussed, the Rhombus Rule is the absolute first step in starting your own firm. Now that you’ve effectively prioritized your career and home life, it’s go time! Knowing that it’s time to start your business requires a very specific mindset. This mindset or attitude is one that will affect your entire organization from the day you start until the day you hand over the keys to your successor. The attitude I am speaking of is enthusiasm. Jack Harbaugh, the father of NFL coach John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens) and college coach Jim Harbaugh (Michigan Wolverines), preached to his sons the power of positive attitudes.


He coined the phrase, “attack today with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

Imagine this is how his sons went off to school each day after being given a charge like that. This is the same attitude you need to take into your business. Choosing to attack your day with enthusiasm not only guides your day to day, but as a business owner it now affects everyone in your organization. In business and in life the only thing you are in full control of is your attitude and how you react to situations. As the head of an organization everyone, and I mean everyone, feeds off of your attitude and emotion. If you choose to attack your day with enthusiasm it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to an employee, a client, a vendor, or the phone company, you will see positive benefit. In the end the enthusiasm you bring  plays a large part in the way others around you handle themselves.
In field of psychology, the act of synchronizing expressions and behavior is known as emotional contagion. The effect of emotional contagion on businesses is well documented, and those who learn to master the art of synchronization of their attitude position their businesses for the greatest successes. As a business owner, being positive is not something that everyone does; however, it is a business tool that costs you zero dollars to implement and allows you to maintain control. Seeing value added benefit in such a simple way should compel leaders to be excited, be positive, and be themselves.
In the early stages of business planning and preparation you are going to be doing things that don’t come natural to you. Just like anything else, when you step outside of your comfort zone, it is easy to get stressed. A stressed manager is not one who can effectively synchronize the attitudes and emotions of an organization. To avoid this stress and maintain your ability to be positive, limit the number of tasks you take on. Opt not to add to a list of duties but to focus on starting something, then finishing it. The only thing more frustrating than having a task you don’t know how to do is having to complete four or five at that same time. Focusing on a single task will help you keep the enthusiasm that is so vital to your business.
As you begin to tackle the numerous obstacles to creating a successful business, it’s important to remember your first responsibility is good management. Painting an unrealistic picture of eventsonly paints you into a corner.   Be realistic in your assessment of the organization. Critique yourself and gain feedback from those around you. Being a positive leader can only get you so far. The great leaders you’ve observed don’t go around getting people fired up because they are “nice”; they are able to do so because they can create connections. They are able to connect to you on a level that isn’t quantifiable. They provoke and stimulate the reptilian portion of your brain and immediately capture your attention. They say things that, if written down, are not authoritative, but by listening and feeling what they are saying, captivate and compel you to action. That type of person is able to do this because they believe what they are saying, believe what they are doing, and they know what they are talking about. These people are also typically well-versed (not to be confused with well-educated) in the subject matter they are discussing. They typically know and understand their boundaries and limitations. They know when to delegate and when to be the point person. This internal drive and motivation comes from having their priorities in order. They are focused on achieving long term goals which keep them concentrated on the task at hand. When you stay on task and don’t bite off more than you can chew, it is easier to hit goals and build momentum.
After choosing to be positive and approach challenges as opportunities, and being committed to your plan, you still run in to roadblocks. You will inevitably find that sometimes, no matter what you do, people are not going to like you. They are going to have some preconceived notion in their head about who or what you are. It could be they have a complex about what you’ve accomplished, what you haven’t accomplished, or they think you don’t “look” the part. The good news is that you don’t have to respond to their negativity, and that people tend to respect those who aren’t pretending to fit into a preconceived notion. You may not get the work, but most level headed people will respect you for being you. If you’re a fun-loving person to your family, be a fun-loving person to your employees. If you’re a task-centered logical person to your employees, be a task-centered logical person to your clients. When you can tie these aspects of your life together it will help your business. If you have to try to be something you’re not to secure a client or win a job – mark my words, that client or job will be a thorn in your side. In not being yourself and pretending to be someone you aren’t, you did that client and that job a disservice. The result: instead of putting everything you have into the project, you find yourself doing everything you can to get the project out of your life. That is not fair to your client, the project, or your business.
For a newly created business there are many areas that require great attention. However, without focusing on your attitude, your plan, and your identity, no business can thrive.

  1. Choose to be enthusiastic, and seek to have your positivity permeate your organization.  

  2. Know what you bring to the table and understand your boundaries and limitations.

  3. Do not be a crowd pleaser. Be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want so that you attract compatible employees and clients.


UP NEXT >> Part 3: Alone or Together

Comments | 2
  • Srinivasan | 5/10/2016 6:55:59 AM Very supportive!
  • Mohammed Yusuf Afrooz | 5/10/2016 12:24:26 AM That is good idea for an Architect and Engineer to not follow the people who are looking for money, not for profession. our Environment and society have been destroyed buy money money .
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