Last year, I spoke with many Partners about their firms’
performances. Many had great years, but
several were still looking for ways to increase their revenues moving forward. Ideas ranged from making more client
follow-up calls during the year to hiring a high-level niche consultant to
overhaul a service area. I enjoyed
hearing several strategies that firms had implemented that I believe will
translate to revenue increase. Although
these firms had some great ideas, very few actually built out a plan for
business development for the overall firm.
If there is one piece of advice that I can offer, it is for firms to
invest some time into developing a strategic business development plan.
Develop a Strategic
Business Development Plan
First and foremost, Strategic Planning is the foundation of any
good firm…period. Too many firms are
still "winging” it or waiting for the Partners to pull strategies out of their
WARNING: If your firm
doesn’t have a strategic plan in writing, stop reading this and get to work on
the firm strategic plan!
If you are still reading, great! All firms should have a written strategic
plan AND a written business development plan.
Your plan should be built after the strategic plan and flow with the
overall strategic vision and goals of the firm.
It should contain 3 to 5 broad objectives. Under each major objective you should have 2
or 3 measurements of success, 5 to 10 strategies or initiatives, due dates and
those responsible for completing each initiative. Here is a fairly simple example of what this
might look like:
Objective – Reach $5 million in overall firm revenues.
of Success - # of new clients obtained; Revenue # to goal, increase in
revenue compared to prior year
– Hire a business development consultant or director, implement a CRM system,
create a standardized follow-up system on new leads
- Due dates– Create a specific date you want each strategy completed
person– Determine a specific person that will be responsible for
making sure this strategy is accomplished
Once you create a few more strategic objectives along with
the other tools, you will be able to communicate the overall plan to your
team. The implementation process can
Tips for a Successful
Plan Development and Implementation
This article isn’t going to be sufficient in covering the
entire process of developing and then implementing the plan, but it can serve
as a starting point. I recommend that
firms use a process similar to their process for building their strategic
plans. That may mean doing it all
in-house or bringing in an outside facilitator.
I have seen success in both models.
Either way, there are some tips I have found that have worked in our
company and our clients. Try some or all
of these as you build out your plan:
- Less is more. Don’t overload your plan with a 100 to-do’s
and initiatives. Focus is key!
- Don’t do it alone. Build your plan with a team or for the
smaller firms, everyone! This will help
build early and ongoing support for the plan because everyone will have a say.
- Ask for help from the outside. Talk to other firms, your clients,
consultants, or businesses you respect.
Find out what has worked for them and see how it may help your process.
- Dream Big! It is ok to really go for it on your
plan. Don’t be afraid to set a big
goal. This forces your team to think
differently because you will have to change things to hit the big numbers.
- Communicate, communicate and communicate.
Once you have built the plan, you need to talk about it in your meetings, 90-day
reviews, and training sessions. This
helps drive home the message and the importance of the items you put on the
- Be flexible. There will be items that not everyone agrees
with, and as a team you need to be flexible to each other’s ideas and
thoughts. Don’t get bogged down in
making sure everyone is on board with every item. It is all about progress, not perfection.
- HAVE FUN!
This process should be fun and most of all should invigorate your
team. Take the process off-site if you
can and make it an event. Treat it as
more than just another meeting and the results will show!
Not all firms have written strategic plans and fewer have
written business development plans. Take the time this year to build out a plan
with your team. This will help differentiate
your firm from so many of the others that just "wing it” with their
strategies. Write it down, communicate
it, and execute it! Have a GREAT 2014!