big 4 business case

Over the last few years we have been advocating using a tool called a one-page Talk Sheet to communicate your Business Case for partnership in your firm. In fact, this tool is probably the most important tool you can use when on partner track (or if you want to get onto partnership track). In this blog post, we discuss what exactly is a one page Talk Sheet and how to construct it.

The challenge with a Business Case for partnership

Very often, firms will ask you to write a war and peace document to submit your Business Case for partnership. (And yes, I’ve seen Business Case documents run into over 50+ pages…) Unfortunately, War and Peace-style documents make selling your partnership Business Case incredibly difficult. The sheer detail you are asked to provide makes it frankly impossible to highlight and easily communicate the important parts of your Business Case.

Then when you have to present your Business Case for partnership, you need to condense this long document, full of detail, into a 10-15 minute presentation. This becomes a thankless task. Often made harder when you are so close to your Business Case, you find it difficult to work out what is the really important stuff to highlight and what is just detail.

It’s not just the formal pitches you must do when on partnership track. It’s also the informal pitching or ‘consulting’ you do with your Business case for partnership outside of any formal partner track process. How do you easily and succinctly get the key points across to partners so that they can easily remember them AND pitch your case to others. A 10+ page document with your Business Case for partnership clearly laid out will not be memorable. And unlikely to be read…

If you want your partners to talk positively about you and your partnership Business Case, you need a way to communicate the key messages in your Business Case simply.

But, what if there was another way?

We have pioneered a really simple way of building and communicating a Business Case for partnership. When our clients have used this approach, it becomes so much easier to:

  • informally pitch and consult with partners about the Business Case,
  • construct the Business Case submission document, and
  • pitch it at a partnership panel interview.

Use a one-page Talk Sheet

We get our clients, from both Big 4 firms and small firms, to crystallise their Business Case onto a One-page Talk Sheet. In fact, this approach has become so successful that the one-page Talk Sheet idea has often been adopted in a widespread manner in the Big 4 firms where we have introduced the method.

But this isn’t just any old one-page document. After all, you can fit many words on an A4 piece of paper. No, this is where you crystallise your Business Case down to just 3-6 visuals and 3-6 short bullet points of text. See example on the left of a Talk Sheet. This discipline forces you to become incredibly clear about the benefits of your Business Case. As a result, it becomes much easier to pitch then and successfully communicate the commercial proposition of your Business Case for partnership to your partners.

Wouldn’t your life be easier if you could grab the template we used to assemble this template? This one-page Talk Sheet template has been professionally designed and is available to our members of Progress to Partner Academy.

Luckily for you, you can download this Talk Sheet template free of charge by clicking here.

One of 14 courses in my Progress to Partner Academy is “How to Build a Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner” (included within Progress to Partner for Premium members) takes you through step-by-step how to put together your Talk Sheet.

As well as help on your Talk Sheet, membership of Progress to Partner is a must-have in your arsenal of tools and guidance to help with your career progression. There is also a section on the Partnership Admissions process with guides and recordings to help you navigate being on Partner Track and taking the final step up to Partner. Check it out!

What should usually included in your one-page Talk Sheet?

Of course, there are the basics, such as your name and department. There is likely to be some or all of the following on your one-page Talk Sheet:

  • Graphs of your practice’s revenue and profit margin for the last 3 years, projected for the next 1-3 years
  • Pie charts showing the split of revenue of your current practice against where it will be in 3 years’ time
  • Logos of key accounts
  • Your 1-sentence and 3-sentence sell
  • Your vision for your practice

Click here to download our professionally designed template of a one-page Talk Sheet you can use right now to recreate your own one-page Talk Sheet in under 60 minutes.

Rules for creating your one-page Talk Sheet

Firstly, your one-page Talk Sheet is your own. Therefore, it needs to fit your personal requirements. However, these are some best practice rules which we recommend you follow:

  • The more visuals, the better. Really limit the amount of text on the talk sheet. Visuals make it much easier to communicate the promise of your Business Case.
  • Include white space on the Talk Sheet so that the key messages ping out at you.
  • Limit jargon and interdepartmental abbreviations. The partners assessing your Business Case may not use your abbreviations. For example one international law firm that we work with has representations from each of their firms around the world form their partnership committee. Every year the partner committee get together and review all of that year’s Business Cases.

Click here to download a professionally designed template of a one-page Talk Sheet you can use right now to recreate your own one-page Talk Sheet in under 60 minutes.

How do I use a one-page Talk Sheet?

Your one-page Talk Sheet forms the basis of your written Business Case for partnership submission and the basis for your Business Case presentation at your partnership panel interview. It is also used as a Talk Sheet when discussing your Business Case with partners or key stakeholders.

Take a step forward to be in control of your own career progression in your firm. Sign up to my weekly tips here and you’ll find out what you need to be working on in your career development (and how to make the time for your career development) to progress your career in your firm.

What’s in Progress To Partner which will help you with your Business Case and your firm’s Partnership Admissions Process.

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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