AGL Architecture and Interior Design
"When you're a small firm you can't afford to have an in-house financial officer everyday. The LSBDC gave us access to someone that has the business knowledge to guide us"
Founded in 2003, AGL Architecture and Interior Design is an award-winning design firm based in Metairie. AGL originally focused on the niche of High Rise Tenant Build-Out services for Class "A" office buildings in New Orleans, but when the economy started to sink in 2009, owner and president Brian Anderson said they had to look for new options.
"We realized that we had to branch out and move on to other areas because when the economy slows down, so too does the need for office renovation. We had to do more than interior architecture," he said.
In 2010, Anderson approached consultant Christian Galvin at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Greater New Orleans Region to find new markets. Through him they discovered the Small Entrepreneurship (SE) Program (also known as the Hudson Initiative) which opened the doors to new contracts. They were also able to secure a $3,750 grant from Louisiana Economic Development that helped cover the cost of 3D modeling training with Google Sketchup. That new skill allowed AGL to present 3D renderings to clients instead of boring one-dimensional drawings.
The biggest benefit was that Galvin helped AGL forecast future sales and opportunities to analyze the prospect of hiring new employees. Anderson said the firm's constant pattern of finding work then doing the job would have to give way to more steady marketing. They discovered that adding the right kind of support personnel would give AGL the ability to take on bigger jobs.
"We bit the bullet and hired more people. That allowed me to get out of the office more and figure out more ways to market and grow the company," said Anderson.
AGL eventually added 3 new jobs and increased its sales volume by $150,000 annually. From interior design in high-rise buildings, the company has successfully moved into historic preservation and adaptive reuse and now has the capability to take on new types of work. AGL was also awarded two new ground-up construction projects in the past year. Anderson said having the ability to tap into expert assistance and guidance has opened up an entire new door for AGL.
"When you're a small firm you can't afford to have an in-house financial officer everyday. The LSBDC gave us access to someone that has the business knowledge to guide us," he said.
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