Education: High-Dollar Project Scope is Hiding in Your BackyardMarch 15, 2021 | By Wayne O'Neill
One year after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted higher education as we know it, now is the time for companies in the design and construction industry to re-assess project scope opportunities.
Sure, you could pursue the low-hanging fruit of bidding on retrofits and building upgrades for existing buildings that are sitting dormant waiting for students to return. That’s one way to approach college construction project scope.
Or, you could think bigger. Think really big about university infrastructure opportunities. Think about world-class technology zones and data centers, new sporting facilities, cybersecurity training facilities, state-of-the-art innovation buildings, biotechnology research cleanrooms, carbon capture facilities, and other “big idea” projects that are ready-made for big thinkers on college campuses.
Think about the opportunity to support live, work, and play “master-planned locations” on college campuses that can bring together college students, faculty, researchers, and business stakeholders in one centralized location.
There are so many opportunities to pursue and win high-dollar project scope. The key is to find the right opportunities to support post-pandemic college expansion projects and capital expansion projects — many of which may be hiding in your own backyard.
Start by Evaluating How University Master Plans Have Changed
Before changing your entire approach to engaging with university stakeholders, start by looking into the trends that are relevant nationally and locally.
You may come across a national trend like carbon capture that is one of this year’s buzz-worthy initiatives, but if you walk into a meeting where stakeholders are thinking more about cybersecurity training solutions, then you’ll miss the mark.
You may need to start by looking at local trends that could play at the university level. Perhaps the nearest university to your firm is sitting on acres of empty land that are not generating revenue. Think of how the university can utilize this land in a big way to monetize their fixed asset.
That’s why it’s important to start with an evaluation of how master plans have changed at the higher education level. Everything is currently on the table, but you still need to know the following from your target clients:
- What capital expansion projects are being prioritized?
- Whose project wish list scope is being considered?
- What are the business and political issues in-play in the decision-making process?
- Who is guiding the thinking — chancellors or other decision-makers/influencers?
- What are the timelines for deciding on capital expansion projects?
- How do these capital projects tie to the university’s mission?
You may have one or two pieces of the puzzle, but you need to gather more intelligence about the entire puzzle to form a clear view of which “big idea” projects to align with.
Establish Multiple Paths of Connection in the University System
Gathering the intelligence that you need will require asking different types of questions and talking to different types of people than you may be accustomed to.
Perhaps your team is accustomed to talking to a dean or operations leader in the university system. Now, you need to enter into a different space talking at a high level to the chancellor, university president, provost, or another high-ranking university leader to gather a deeper understanding of how decisions are being made about capital projects. There could be some discomfort or awkwardness at first, but that is temporary.
Continue to pursue information. Look for ways to confirm what you’re hearing or challenge assumptions. Don’t settle for a basic understanding; continue to dig deeper until you uncover problems behind the problem in the university system.
Eventually, you will have the information you need to develop a comprehensive solution that leverages your connections in the industry to help position your firm to win high-dollar project scope. The presentation will require a different type of approach by creating your own narrative and connecting your impact to the university’s business and political issues. It’s not about what you can offer; it’s about how you can be leveraged to support the “big idea” projects that are tied to the university’s core mission.
This is different. It’s not the traditional approach of simply trying to win one piece of scope in college construction helping upgrade a college building. This is a bigger conversation about how to bring together multiple solutions-providers that can help create lift for major projects that have the power to generate tremendous revenue opportunities for your company.
Don’t worry about giving up revenue to other service providers that you bring into the solution. There is an opportunity for exponential revenue growth over time that will more than make up for any revenue that you give up on the front-end.
RESET Can Help You Align With University Infrastructure Scope
Where are you going to find intelligence to help form a comprehensive solution? Who has the information that you need? How are you going to talk to decision-makers that you are not used to talking to? Which trends and business and political issues should you align with?
We can help guide you on the path to gathering intelligence, bringing in collaborative partners, and presenting a comprehensive solution to win university infrastructure project scope.
Let’s start with a conversation about your existing connections. Then, through our proven methodology, The Connection Process, we’ll help you identify additional connections that can be leveraged to create faster, more sustainable revenue.
High-dollar project scope is out there in higher education. Colleges and universities are looking for firms that can enter the scene and provide solutions. Let’s work together to find the right avenues to help your firm grow. Contact us today to get started!