Creative Genius Podcast

Season 7 Episode 5

Taking Care of Business (Garrison Hullinger)

Taking Care of Business (Garrison Hullinger)

Your business doesn’t stop just because you’re busy. In addition to doing projects, you need to be working on your business every day. That includes marketing, scouting for new opportunities, building and maintaining relationships, developing your team, and keeping an eye on the bottom line. To manage all that, you have to have processes, procedures and routines in place to grease the wheels and give you time to deal with what most requires attention.

In this podcast, Gail talks with Garrison Hullinger, president of Studio Garrison in Portland, Oregon. For over thirteen years, he has grown his business from a sole practitioner working out of his attic to a highly successful mid-sized design firm with at one time as many as thirty-four employees. 

One way Garrison looks out for his business is by keeping tabs on industry and economic trends and forecasts. They help him determine where new opportunities and challenges might arise. He advised looking beyond your market to indicators in related industries that can be bellwethers of future shifts in demand for design services. In particular, he mentioned the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) released monthly by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Having forewarning of changes, whether good or bad, allows you to make contingency plans. That way you will be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities or to safeguard against downturns.

Garrison also stressed the importance of being proactive. Don’t wait for conditions to improve and hope projects will come your way. “Go out and get the business that’s available to you,” he said.

When business slows down, Garrison explained, he personally makes calls to top-tier clients and former prospects whose projects he wasn’t able to take on earlier to drum up new business. “Sometimes that’s all it takes to be relevant, to be top-of-mind,” he said.

“Don’t wait until your pipeline is dry to fill it,” added Gail. You need to be working on getting new business every day.

Toward the end, Garrison talked extensively about how he has focused his business around defining its scope and the deliverables it offers. For more details and other insights from Garrison and Gail, listen to the entire podcast.

If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, view the full shownotes here:

Mentioned in This Podcast

To learn more about Garrison and his firm, visit the website for Studio Garrison.

For information about the AIA Architecture Billings Index and to see a schedule of upcoming release dates, go to

This is not Garrison’s first appearance on our podcast! Listen to his previous episodes, Going Up! and Get a Bird’s Eye View of Your Business.

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