Alexander Wertheim | Crain's Miami

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Alexander Wertheim

Background:  

SPACiO Design Build is a full-service general contractor specializing in luxury residential and commercial projects. The company's client roster includes Miami Beach's Eden Roc Hotel, The Related Group and Nobu Miami Beach.

The Mistake:

I was getting a lot of new business continuously and not focusing on my past clients as an added source of revenue.

When I first got started, I was letting the business run me, instead of me running the business. One of my most common mistakes was that I would land a client, and this would happen especially with some of my bigger clients, and I would do the job and just move on after that. I wouldn't necessarily continue maintaining a relationship with them, whether that meant through person-to-person contacts, e-mail marketing or regular follow-up phone calls and meetings to see how they were enjoying the new space.

In the construction business, you're only as good as your last job. In my space, you have huge general contracting firms and those guys have a pipeline for years of work. A firm our size, however, doesn't have a tremendous pipeline, so you're always working on trying to get that next job.

Over dinner with other business partners one night, one of them had mentioned to me that it seemed like I was not focusing enough on my existing clients. He said that I needed to keep extracting them for additional work.

The majority of my clients that I have today are friends, because I do maintain monthly contact, whether that's something as simple as a phone call.

The Lesson:

Throughout the years I've learned and we've grown tremendously from taking our clients and extracting them for additional business. So if you're not following up continuously and reminding them about who you are and what you do, they forget about you.

It doesn't just stop at traditional marketing initiatives. Whenever I meet a client I try and figure out what they like to do. For instance, I take my clients to play golf, dine with them, or take them fishing. We become friends. The majority of my clients that I have today are friends, because I do maintain monthly contact, whether that's something as simple as a phone call. I try and stay on top of their business, and at the top of their mind, and that's become a failsafe way to continue having lasting business relationships that allow my own business to grow.

This approach, coupled with quality craftsmanship, has helped SPACiO grow from $9 million in 2014 to nearly $20 million in 2016. 

Follow SPACiO Design Build on Twitter @spaciodb.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Wertheim.

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