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The Boomer Bulletin - 2014
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Drive Revenue with a Strategic Business Development Plan

Posted By Eric Hunt, Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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 heads.  

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:

Strategic Objective – Reach $5 million in overall firm revenues.

  • Measurement of Success - # of new clients obtained; Revenue # to goal, increase in revenue compared to prior year
  • Strategies/initiatives – 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
  • Responsible 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 begin immediately!

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 plan.
  • 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! 


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