One of the toughest decisions of my life was in 2012 when I decided to sell my ownership in an architecture firm and start InVision Advisors. I initially created the firm to meet a need I had identified not only with clients, but also with contractors and architects. I realized that so much of an architect’s and contractor’s time is spent on educating the client on the various aspects of design and construction. Consistently, I saw that not enough attention is spent on evaluating possibilities to improve the project’s budget and schedule. Being an Owner’s Representative has allowed me to be an extension of the client, their in-house expert to advise, and to translate and execute on projects to meet the goals of the owner.
This whole journey started by helping people. I volunteered to answer and advise on small issues regarding design and construction for free, of course. Eventually, companies began to see the benefit of having InVision Advisors by their side to help with all decisions regarding design and construction. Then, just like that, IVA was off and running.
One of the first decisions I made was to invest in the company’s structure. I purchased the right software, formed the best corporate structure, and put proper insurances in place. I bought the right computers and tools to function both in a client’s board room and on the construction site. I did not advertise “Jonathan Moore, Owner’s Rep”, but rather “InVision Advisors”, with a lot of “WE’s” in the conversation. I wanted IVA to be bigger than any one person, including myself.
I was also mindful of my business network. One of the keys to our success has always been those personal and professional relationships. In making the transition from architect to Owner’s Representative, I made sure that my network knew that I needed them to be my advisors, my cheerleaders and my friends. I needed a lot of “free stuff” and they were there to support me. Those early conversations were instrumental in earning IVA’s first contracts and they continue to be incredibly valuable in our firm’s sustained success.
It’s so important to maintain and serve your network. Everyone has a group that they see often, keep in touch with, know as part of a special group or organization, and have a general sense of where they are in life. You have to be available, keep in touch, and serve those in your network when they may have a need. You need to send those “checking in” communications - your investment in a good network will always serve you in the long run
InVision Advisors is now approaching 10 years in business. The foundations were set up correctly. The corporate structure allowed IVA to easily start hiring team members. Proper budgeting and forecasting of work has allowed InVision Advisors to stay profitable and re-invest back in the company, as well as share profits with employees. Our project load continues to increase, and we are being asked to submit proposals based on our reputation, which is one of the most important factors in business. We treat people fairly and expect our teams to be fair with us. We have found “fairness” to be a cornerstone of our company, and it allows us to represent the best interests of the project, ensuring success for all.
Good luck, and keep your hard hat tight.
Jonathan Moore, Founder and President of InVision Advisors