The Importance of Good Business Practices, A Look into PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence

It is an honor to be one of only two local firms chosen by PSMJ (Professional Services Management Journal) Resources, Inc. as a member of the 2018 Circle of Excellence. As a Partner at Forum Phi, having the world’s leading authority on the effective management of architecture, engineering, and construction firms present us with this award two years in a row is outstanding.

Importance of the Award 

PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence Award is the industry standard for understanding how well your business performs compared to its peers. Submitting for this award tells us that we are running a sustainable business, to complement an exceptional culture and exceptional design. Not to mention, the award itself proves that we are running our firm well and exceeding client expectations. It means to me that we are doing things right. Coupled with our cultural and design awards, it truly illustrates that we are achieving the three pillars of our business.

Forum Phi Progression

The Circle of Excellence is designed to highlight successfully managed firms that demonstrate outstanding achievements in areas such as profitability, overhead management, cash flow, productivity, business development, staff growth, and turnover. I am thrilled with the outcome, especially considering 2017 is the first that we submitted for the award and we’ve now won two years in a row. The fact that we have been able to expand our business and add an additional two more studio locations (Basalt and Carbondale, CO), while maintaining our business metrics and culture, further highlights our successful business model and stable progression as a firm.

Another key point to mention is in the last year, we made a large investment in our Interior Design department. Expanding that portion of the firm as well as winning the Circle of Excellence Award shows that we are running the Interior Design firm well as a business. Even with the new expenses and our office expansion, we are able to keep our key performance indicators in check.

Furthermore, client referrals are a unique and crucial business metric we track. Notably, our client referrals have increased from approximately 50% in 2015 to over 70% in 2018. The dynamic of running a healthy business while keeping clients very happy is definitely a goal that we have achieved, and upon which we continue to improve.

In fact, winning #1 Outside Magazine’s Best Place to Work in the same two years that we won PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence proves to me that great culture and great business are not mutually exclusive and can be achieved together.

Forum Phi Good Business Practices

Equally important, Forum Phi created their own metrics that measure our firm against our personal goals as a company. These are in addition to the sixty PSMJ monthly benchmarks that we track. Different from PSMJ, Forum Phi tracks cultural and stewardship metrics, including the value of the benefits that our team receives. A point often overlooked is that each full-time employee is given full paid benefits. In other words, 100% medical, dental and vision is paid. Team members are also provided with a flex schedule, paid time off, a recruiting incentive, and paid volunteer time off. With this in mind, tracking our pro bono services and community efforts and ensuring that our financial metrics for sponsorships and donations are met is of huge importance to Forum Phi.