Running a small business is no easy feat—especially in industries with a lot of rules and regulations that need to be followed to the letter. Business owners in these types of industries not only have to provide the type of quality work that their clients expect, but they also have to make sure they are staying within their industry’s guidelines. On top of all of that, they still need to make sure their business is profitable. It can be a lot for a small business owner to juggle. This is one of the reasons why many small businesses never make it to their five-year anniversary.
One small business owner that is getting it right is Long Beach architect Mark Grisafe. Mark is an architect and a business owner with more than 20 years under his belt. He first went out on his own as an architect in 2002, and worked for many years as a one-man shop. Then, he gradually began growing his team to include specialists such as drafters, code experts, interior designers, and project managers. Today, his business, Grisafe Architecture, is one of the premier architecture firms in Long Beach, taking on both commercial and residential design projects.
Grisafe Architecture would still be considered a small architecture firm by most standards, but it is set up to provide their clients with the expertise of a large firm. However, they also provide the service and client experience that typically only a small company can. Grisafe is still intimately involved in every project the firm takes on and knows every client by name.
As a boss, Grisafe says, “I do my best to create a collaborative environment by involving my staff in business decisions. I encourage them to explore their areas of interest and allow them to try new things. This has really helped keep everyone engaged and invested in the success of the company.”
As a result of this approach, Grisafe’s employees tend to stay and grow with the company. Some of his employees have been the firm for almost a decade! This helps provide Grisafe Architecture with stability, and gives Grisafe a team that he can depend on to produce quality work for their clients.
When it comes to the business aspect of running an architecture firm, integrity comes first. Grisafe says, “I do my absolute best to be consistent and fair in all of my business dealings. This hasn’t always been easy, of course. There have been times when doing the right thing has cost my company money. However, I believe that following this advice has helped me cement my reputation as a businessman who is honest and trustworthy.”
Grisafe is also heavily involved in the City of Long Beach, serving on nonprofit boards, completing pro bono design work for local charities, and serving as a member of Long Beach’s Cultural Heritage Commission. He is a well-respected member of the community who benefits the area through both his personal and professional contributions.