In this post, we look at how to build a Business Case for partnership when you are in industry and looking to return to practice as a partner. After working with people aiming to make partner, we know that considerable numbers of people are returning from industry into practice. Incentivised by the chance of finally achieving a long-held ambition of making it to partner.

What are they buying?

The first question to ask yourself is, what personal assets do you have which would be valuable to a legal, accountancy or consultancy firm? This is typically the contents of your contact book or an in-demand/strategically important very specific technical skill set. And yes, we’ve often seen firms ask for names of key contacts and the strength of the relationship as part of the admissions process.

It is not unusual for someone from within a firm or industry to make partner, on the strength of a relationship or key account that they bring with them. I once worked with a lawyer who is building a Business Case for Partnership based on her relationships after a secondment with a large telecoms company. If you are a General Counsel or CFO/Finance Director in a large corporate, this could be worth many hundreds of thousands of pounds to a supplier to that firm. Particularly if the firm is struggling to really break into your current employer. Getting an employee to ‘go native’ or entice a client over to the other side is a great way for a firm to gain a stronghold in a key account. Why do you think so many firms fund their employees secondments within industry?

If you need help to create, put together or pitch your Business Case for Partnership then download our FREE guide, How to create a cast-iron Business Case for partnership. The guide includes tailored advice for people coming back into practice from a stint in industry.

With many firms changing their approach and going to market via sector, hiring a senior decision maker with a strong sector specialism can be incredibly valuable to a firm. It not only helps win more work with the company you are working for now, but it also helps the firm strengthen its overall credibility within the sector. As well as your network within your current company, you will hopefully have built up a network of peers who are also in senior decision-making roles within organisations similar to yours. A strong network of senior decision-makers is a massive career asset and one for which many firms will pay a large amount of money. It doesn’t matter whether these decision-makers will work with you. It is who they can introduce you and your firm to which really matters.

What do they NEED to buy?

Hiring someone from industry, who may or may not have a track record of selling services, is always a gamble for a firm. Every firm knows it will take time to build up your client portfolio. If they can’t charge you out during this time, you become a very expensive overhead. Therefore, take your time to understand your firm’s strategy. Why do they want you? Or why has a vacancy arisen? The more aligned your expertise – technical and sector – to the firm’s future strategy, the stronger the likelihood that you and your potential firm will prosper if you join them.

How best can I illustrate my potential to bring in work to the interviewing panel

Much of any Partner Business Case is written assuming you WILL bring in work. If you don’t have a track record of bringing in work, this is difficult. Most people in industry don’t need to sell in their current role; therefore, it becomes tough to evidence your ability to sell. Therefore, the way to handle this one is to demonstrate what you have been doing in the last 6-12 months to increase your external/internal market value (deepening your network, strengthening your personal brand as an expert) and show them a detailed personal marketing plan of what services you want to develop, the opportunities you are aware for these, and the access you have to decision makers within the companies or sectors they are interested in developing.

If you need help to put together a marketing plan (after all roles like being a Finance Director or Head of Legal or Head of Strategy don’t need you to be a marketing expert) to help you think through where you are going to win work, join our Progress To Partner membership site. If you opt for premium membership, you can use our on-demand courses to help you put together this marketing plan. Even better, these courses are written for people like you – unnatural or reluctant business developers.  We’ve also, to help save you time and focus on what you are doing, curated our resources into Game Plans. These Game Plans take the thinking out of what resource or course you must do next. In our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner are the following:

  • On demand course: How to choose your niche
  • On demand course: How to create your business development plan
  • On demand course: How to go from coffees to instructions
  • On demand course: The Go-To Expert
  • Game Plan: If you need to start winning clients, but don’t know where to start
  • Game Plan: “I’m a good technician but don’t have a client portfolio’
  • Game Plan: If you need to raise your profile

In summary:

Regarding your Business Case for partner it is all about the content of your little black book AND how well your sector expertise fits the firm’s strategy going forward.

If you need help to create, put together or pitch your Business Case for Partnership then download our FREE guide, How to create a cast-iron Business Case for partnership.

What’s in Progress To Partner which will help you with your final step up to partner?

Progress to Partner is our membership site that will give your the knowledge AND confidence to fly through this final step up to partner.

It’s like a Netflix for your career in the professions. Find what you need to watch or read at the time you need it. Within the site, you’ll find over 150+ courses, videos, checklists, templates and plans to help you progress your career to partner. Amongst the many curated resources (no more unnecessary scrolling or searching), you’ll find:

  1. On-demand courses on how to create and articulate your business case, including our most downloaded course “How to Build a Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner”
  2. A section on the Partnership Admissions process with guides and recordings to help you find your way through the process with your sanity intact.
  3. Recordings and checklists on how to ace your partner panel interview
  4. On-demand courses on how to win the right sort of clients
  5. Proven advice on how to still do the day job and find the time to get through the Partner Track process

Check it out!

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