Sorry to take so long in replying - it's been hectic.
I own a company that provides practice management advice to professionals in the form of workshops. Before this, I owned a marketing a PR firm that did a lot of work with design organizations & architecture and interior design firms, so at this point the bulk of my work is in the design sector, although I'm beginning to crack the legal market.
I just returned from addressing the AGM of the Alberta Association of Architects, where I talked about "Dealing with increasingly more difficult clients and onerous client expectations".
Because of the large number of people who attend our workshops and the industry events I attend I am able to have a 'big picture' view of the situation.
I lectured in January to the Orange County chapter of ASID, mostly residential sole practitioners and no one had any work. Here in Toronto, HOK laid off more than 50 people, but that's because HOK runs their Dubai operations out of Toronto and Dubai has ground to a halt. HOK is the only big firm to have laid off that many people, all the others have laid off just a couple of people each.
In Alberta, the drop in oil prices has affected the big firms doing commercial real estate - especially the projects that would have been populated by the requisite armies of investment bankers and lawyers, which is where the biggest drop has been. Here in Toronto I hear that the big law firms have been hit extremely hard, but there weren't that many towers planned in the core, so that won't affect architectural firms that much - more the interior design firms, just like in NY. I recently did a 'Marketing in Tough Economic Times' workshop and all attendees were from interior design firms working in office/corporate.
Overall, I think this time around the small firms have been affected a lot less than the big firms.
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