As we approach the end of the financial year, it seems a good time to talk about business matters. Running a practice is difficult , especially a small one, or even as a sole practitioner - the way that many architects start out. Some may blame inadequacies in architectural education for their problems, but actually the demands are enormous: designer, manager, marketeer, business strategist, office manager, all rolled into one person. Even the most able would struggle. But there is a solution, or at least help at hand.
I have been talking to professionals and their consultants recently about these issues. And there is one common strand - the best way to succeed is to ask for help. Some of this help may be paid: an accountant, an IT expert, possibly some admin and, at some point, some business training or even consultancy. But there are also a lot of people who will provide advice for free. These may be your peers, those a little ahead of you in experience, or chosen mentors. Most people like to be asked, and like to help. And now of course it doesn't have to be a phone call - you can ask questions on Twitter, or in forums on LinkedIn. The only guarantee of failure seems to be believing you know it all, and not asking for any assistance. Just remember, if you do get help, and your practice does succeed, be willing to 'pay it back' in future by helping someone else. Being too busy is not an excuse.