Firm Leaders Struggle with Business Development

July 14, 2009

WAYLAND, MA – Business development is the biggest challenge firm leaders in the A/E and environmental industry face today, according to the 2009 Principals, Partners & Owners Survey, a recent study by ZweigWhite. This is quite a contrast to the past three years when firm leaders ranked recruiting and development as their biggest challenge, because they had too much work and too few staff. Now the reverse is true. The A/E industry has been hit especially hard by the economic slowdown, and while project leads haven’t completely disappeared, more firms and larger firms are competing for available projects, making it difficult to secure work.

“For the first time in years, many firms have more doers than they need, and less sellers than they want,” says John Doehring, ZweigWhite senior vice president and a consultant who specializes in marketing and strategic advisory services. “This second part is endemic to most professional services firms— not enough folks contributing to the personal sales and marketing effort needed for sustained growth. There is no way around this issue except more training and mentoring of staff. Business development training and practice is incredibly important and should be worked into every firm’s strategic business plan and budget.”

The 2009 Principals, Partners & Owners Survey of Architecture, Engineering, Planning & Environmental Consulting Firms is one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken of top managers in this industry. The study covers firm leaders’ compensation, perks, roles, responsibilities, and challenges. This information helps firm leaders to resolve disputes, clarify expectations, and set policies that work. For more information, visit

About ZweigWhite
ZweigWhite is one of the nation’s leading sources of business management services for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms. The ZweigWhite team consists of experts in strategic business planning, business valuation, ownership transition, human resources management, finance and administration, mergers and acquisitions, market research, marketing, project management and project delivery methods who collectively produce a comprehensive suite of products and services, including newsletters, industry reports, executive training, business conferences, and advisory services covering virtually every aspect of firm management. The firm is headquartered in Wayland, MA, with additional offices in, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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