From Strong Foundations to Prosperity
- No. of employees
- 10 Partners, 60 staff, two offices in south of England, full service firm, £3m turnover to £7m
- We designed a Profitable Partnerships Programme to turn fee earners into ‘all rounders’ with business development skills and personal business plans
- The challenge
- Increase profitability and become the leading firm in the area.
- Turnover and profits have both doubled, and the reputation of the firm has been enhanced as it has carved out an enviable market position
This client, a well-established and highly respected firm in the South of England, worked with us over a period of years to build on their prudent financial management to double revenue and profitability and create an enviable position in a challenging market.
With ten partners and more than 60 staff operating from two offices, the firm had a healthy turnover of £3m across departments covering both residential and commercial property, private client, family, litigation and company commercial. They were in a relatively strong position from the outset, but the key issue was profitability that was below benchmark levels, as well as a lack of confidence – which impinged on their ability to set a clear strategy and direction for the business.
Following the retirement of a long-standing Senior Partner, the priority was not only to bring profitability up to benchmark, but to manage succession with the aim of becoming the leading firm in the area.
We were contacted following a seminar at which two of the firm’s partners had been present, and we quickly set to work assessing their position, performance and potential through a series of interviews and thorough analysis of their management information. Having conducted a competitor analysis and facilitated a partner workshop that led to some structural Board changes and resolved some key partner concerns, we designed a Profitable Partnerships Programme to turn fee earners into ‘all rounders’ with business development skills and personal business plans – from which one delegate went on to win a national award.
We then worked with the partners to develop a business growth strategy and helped in merger negotiations, which together we ultimately concluded would be dilutive and so the firm resolved to continue its growth organically. Nonetheless, the partners remained open to further options for growth, and we helped in the evaluation and negotiation of the acquisition of a major part of another local competitor, and indeed repeated the process in a neighbouring town.
Over the course of our involvement, we identified that the partners would benefit from a more comprehensive package of management information, which we introduced, and training for partners and key fee earners in financial management – which we delivered. Our involvement has spanned a period of four years, and our role has evolved as the firm has grown and become more successful and confident.
During this time, the firm has been transformed (with us as catalyst and guide). Turnover and profits have both doubled, and the reputation of the firm has been enhanced as it has carved out an enviable market position, developed a collective and individual confidence, and recruited several senior staff from ‘bigger name’ competitors.
As is often the case with firms looking for growth, it took some time to build a platform – but once in place, opportunity repeatedly presented itself. Growth has been at a compound rate of 20%, but the partners have been careful to avoid overstretch – so opportunities have been assessed carefully and a number have been declined.