Saying that this year has been interesting for me would be an understatement. At the end of 2019, I hung up my management gloves and launched my consulting business, BIM Guru – we all know what came next in February. Despite this, I have found a lot of opportunity for my small business within the crucible of change.
I have been working in the AEC industry (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) for just over 10 years now, and over this time there’s been a lot of change in how we work, particularly from a software perspective. Just as the phone market was shaken to its core by the ‘smartphone’ movement, we are seeing similar intrusions by disruptive ‘smart’ start-ups and established tech giants such as Google and Microsoft looking for their piece of the $15 trillion generated by the AEC industry each year.
Building Information Modelling (aka BIM – we love our acronyms, don’t we?) has revolutionized how we draft, coordinate, and deliver. Instead of drawing 2D lines we now model 3D elements and the ‘cutaways’ of these models become our ‘2D’ drawings. Whilst we used to ship off our drawings to visualisation studios so we could communicate our mind’s eye in 3D we now have constant access to this dimension.
My business is positioned to capitalize on this time of change. During my career, I have had the opportunity to experience and deliver BIM related services from all levels: technician, coordinator, middle manager, and lead. This panorama of roles has given me access to a wide range of skills and an empathetic nature; my solutions are provided with relevant context in all scenarios.
One aspect my business targets in its solutions is how we can use information. In BIM models, elements are no longer just a set of lines; for example, a wall now has embedded properties like layering, materiality, height, and performance (acoustic, fire, thermal etc.). Not only does this enhance communication between team members, but also gives us the ability to run algorithmic ‘scripts’ across our models. We can use tools to automate processes and transfer data using databases and spreadsheets – our ingenuity is our only constraint.
In less than 3 months of business, I have already delivered such solutions to my clients around the world. For one client, I automated the process of elevating their rooms, for another, an automatic room numbering process. Timely tasks have been reduced to a few clicks, which leaves my clients with more time to go about their non-software related tasks such as design, review, and coordination. I am in these types of services to provide a permanent value add to my client’s workflows – my scripts aim to be usable on all of their projects so that they never have to do things the tedious way again.
A major component of how my business is discovered by others is through carefully prepared and calculated marketing strategies. As a sole trader, I manage my marketing inhouse – so I must be smart with how I manage my time and represent my brand. In 2019 I launched a YouTube channel; the ‘Aussie BIM Guru’. Within just over a year, the channel has grown to over 6000 subscribers – most of whom have hence discovered my business in turn. My content is usually in the form of ‘follow-me’ tutorials, so my channel ultimately acts as a digital resume for my potential clients also.
By making my business’ name a derivative of my educational brand, I have managed to connect the authenticity of my channel to my actual business via the conduit of their common factor, which is me! In all my videos I appear in the top left corner and talk my users through the tutorials. On my website, you’ll find me centre stage on the home page – arms crossed and looking super serious; it’s a bit cheesy, but it gives my business and it’s brand a level of personality that yields approachability.
I keep heavily active on LinkedIn and Twitter, where I represent and manage avatars of all three of my brands; BIM Guru, Aussie BIM Guru and myself. It is hard work, but it pays off in time – wide exposure can give a small business some large legs to stand on. Eventually, it requires less work; the hype cycle begins to operate itself through the beauty of the ‘share button’ and word of mouth. I always encourage small businesses to personally represent their brand and use calculated ‘cross-marketing’ avenues wherever possible.
As we come out the back end of the current crisis, new and exciting opportunities are emerging before me. I look forward to steering further into the unknown in future with confidence and vigour; the future is ripe with opportunity for my business and its clients. Should you wish to explore business avenues, or simply discuss BIM and the industry I work in I encourage you to reach out to me via the many social channels I operate through.
By Gavin Crump
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gavincrump/ (personal)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/34747134 (BIM Guru)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/29299050 (Aussie BIM Guru)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebimguru (BIM Guru/personal)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AussieBIMGuru (Aussie BIM Guru)
Website: www.bimguru.com.au (BIM Guru)
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCry22yTdpgEDdzIZig7NSMQ (Aussie BIM Guru)