Entrepreneur and architect Mike Marden has been around long enough to understand that starting a business is quite a struggle for so many aspiring business people today. So many have a rare vision of what they want to happen, but few understand and know the process of establishing a solid and self-sustaining business organization. Mike understands the pains of creating a new business and explored several possibilities in the area of development, construction, and architecture. Eventually, he discovered an exciting niche that goes beyond designing and constructing big edifices—helping entrepreneurs bring their unique ideas to life.
In 2015, Mike established his own firm after a decade of experiencing the many ups and downs of developing his own business. What he did acquire in those years of struggle became a turning point for his career—experience. Curious to know how Mike found the right balance to develop his firm, people started consulting him about how he started, where to begin, and what he did next. From these simple encounters was born an authentic idea that allowed Mike to combine his passion for construction and architecture. The Great Idea to Grand Opening came to life, a business that provides comprehensive services to help small businesses see their vision to fruition from step one until they reach opening day.
“This has become our anthem”, explains Mike, “and when we do get their doors open, we lead the businesses in celebrating the victory with a media day including a red carpet walk and ribbon cutting ceremony”.
The process of helping these business people create their desired businesses all begins with creating a solid plan, something that Mike believes is very crucial in creating a promising venture. The Great Idea to Grand Opening guides its clients by giving them a list of topics that they need to tackle together, from getting a confirmed space requirement to creating a realistic overall project budget and making an accurate timeline that is based on current industry and jurisdictional reporting.
Mike explains “This allows us to not only help our clients sooner in their building process with tenant representation, but also allows us to continue through construction.”
The planning stage also involves the creation of the framework for site evaluation and selection. Mike works closely with the clients to find the best site for their business, orienting them on the required licensing and permits involved, clauses and strategies that ought to be negotiated with their landlord, existing building code compliance, and required upgrades to meet ordinances specific to their proposed use.
“The earlier we can start working together, the less stressful and more successful the project will be,” Mike explained. “Getting the physical doors to someone’s dream open for business should not be rushed or like a pressure cooker. It should be fun.”
The second part of the process involves creating the design, which is something that Mike considers the most fun part. This is the part where WDS Architecture PLLC comes in. The final part is the build process. This is the part where Mike’s clients get to see physical representations of what used to be just a picture in their minds.
“We have to acknowledge that this is the commercial world, so unlike residential projects, the clients cannot literally hire trades and build themselves,” Mike shared. “That said, we want to make this as close to DIY as possible for the client, allowing them to be completely involved in the build step. Taking down the curtain between contractor and client is what makes our process so unique and allows the business owner to have more control in their success.” Mike founded WDS Commercial (Construction) which is licensed and bonded to make these build-outs possible.
Just as Mike waited for the right time to start his unique venture, he also aspires that all his clients will find the perfect timing to jump-start their business ideas. “For those that seek to build or grow a business, the goal should be to first find your niche. Then listen to your clients. Following up and not being afraid to go outside of your comfort level,” explains Marden.
And with his help, he hopes to be instrumental in making their dreams come true.