partner business case

Most firms require their potential partners to create a partner business case. Typically there are only 7 types of partner business cases. Once you know which type your business case is, you can then increase its impact and persuasiveness. In the 2nd part of this 3-part blog post, (part 1 here, part 3 here) I examine the next three types of business case and what strategy you need to maximise the opportunities of each.

How to increase the impact of your partner business case if it is based upon your department growing and needing another partner

When a department grows it may need more partner level people to service the workload. Many clients only want to deal with a partner, rather than a competent director, senior associate or senior manager. Or perhaps the work of the department is so complex, high profile, or sensitive that it needs someone of partner-level standing to manage the project. If there are too many clients or assignments like this then the department will have a business case to bring in another partner. If you are in this situation, you may find that other partners in the department will ‘donate’ some clients to you to get your client portfolio up-and-running. Of course, they will never give you their best clients! Typically you will get the clients which have the least potential to grow or do anything interesting. If this is your situation, then your partner business case needs to demonstrate:

  • Why you are a safe pair of technical hands.
  • How you plan to expand and grow what you have been given.
  • How you plan to win your own clients.

How to increase the impact of your partner business case if it is based upon your client portfolio being too good for your firm to lose

This is probably the most common business case: you have built up your own practice from scratch, and it has become so important that your partnership can not afford to lose you or your practice. In this type of partner business case, you need to state:

  • How your practice has grown year by year, by headcount and value.
  • How valuable your current practice is to the partnership, e.g.
    • Projected figures, revenue and contribution, of how big it will grow in the next 3 years.
    • Your top 5-10 client accounts or matters and how much each was worth to the partnership.
    • How much work you up sold or cross-referred to the practice year by year.
    • Your top 5-10 referrers and how much work by value and volume they sent you (whether or not your team serviced the work).
  • Evidence of your expertise and authority in the marketplace, e.g.
    • awards or any league tables you appear in.
    • PR.
  • How you plan to grow your practice further and how you will actually do this.
  • A clear statement of why you need to be admitted to the partnership.

How to increase the impact of your partner business case if it is based upon your network of trusted contacts who can open doors for other partners in the firm

This type of partner business case is common where a person has been in industry for a number of years. The position the person held in industry is often high profile or a senior decision maker. The strength of their partner business case is literally based upon how easily they can get the partners of the firm in front of the right people. In this type of business case you may not be able to point to direct evidence of your ability to sell. You will need to show in your business case:

  • Who in your little black book could easily  be introduced to the firm, and what the potential value of that introduction could be.
  • Evidence of your authority and expertise, e.g.
    • PR, awards and endorsements you have gained, industry committees you sit on or lead.
  • A brief history of your experience and how this will help the firm going forward.

In next week’s post, I will finish the final 3 types of partner business cases. If you missed yesterday’s post, here is part 1.

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