Finding strategic path in the detail
In his latest Gamechanger column, STEWART BARNES of Quolux focuses on a business plan drawn up after attending one of its courses
YOU would associate architects with an eye for detail. Award-winning RRA Architects spotted a strategic gap in the architectural market and invested accordingly to seize the opportunity.
Since establishing itself in 1986, the firm, led by the energetic managing director Mark Powles, has worked with private individuals, large corporates and small-medium sized companies across the UK.
Locally their designs can be seen on structures as varied as Pittville Gates, the new Tewkesbury Growth Hub and award-winning houses built by Freeman Homes at Ross-on-wye.
Passionate and keen to further develop the firm, Mark joined Quolux’s LEAD programme and set about constructing and implementing a business plan for growth with Gloucestershire at its centre.
Firstly, Mark began revitalising the strategic direction of the firm.
A new marketing plan was developed with a focus on regularly communicating to clients and sponsorship of key events such as art festivals and at Gloucester Rugby.
The bright orange branding speaks to the dynamic colourful approach the company takes, which is exemplified in their regular monthly newsletter packed with timely articles featuring news about their profession.
While keeping true to RRA’S roots in existing markets and their specialism in heritage, Mark has accelerated the growth into commercial construction by investing in new modern offices at Elmbridge Court, giving themselves a first-class base in Gloucester where clients can visit to discuss projects.
Valuing the power of professional networks, the siting of the new office was important as it is close to key partners in the construction design process.
This hub supports RRA’S other offices and interests in Hereford, London and Ludlow.
The next major investment was in people to deliver the new strategy and the recruitment of Jonathan White.
Mark realises the importance of having a senior management team around him with the appropriate technical skills and, importantly, who share the values of the firm.
He said: “I realised that to ensure the success of my strategic plan I needed to not only invest in my existing team but also in my own management skills, so with the help of Stewart and Quolux I enrolled on the LEAD programme last year.
“This has proved to be an invaluable investment and a fantastic learning curve where I have met many like-minded peers running businesses, often in different industries.
“And following some hard decisions and personnel changes, I am very excited about the future of RRA.”
He continued: “We will continue to service our core clients, including conservation, developer and domestic residential, but we have positioned the practice to grow our commercial arm exponentially over the next five years.”
Mark and RRA, with their entrepreneurial flair and positive approach to growth, are a great example of what small businesses and their owners can achieve.
Tewkesbury Growth Hub is among RRA Architects’ designs