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 your business case type, you can increase its impact and persuasiveness. In the first of this 3-part blog post, (2nd part here, 3rd part here) I examine all 7 types of Business Cases and discuss the strategy you need to maximise the opportunities of each type.

A partner Business Case – what is it?

In chapter 11 of Poised for Partnership, I discuss the 7 different types of Business Cases.

The fully updated 3rd edition of Poised for Partnership is a clear roadmap (for the post COVID-19 world) that strengthens your case and makes reaching partnership inevitable if you’ve got ‘the right stuff’. And if you haven’t, it will show you how to get it. 

Much of this article is taken from chapter 11 of Poised for Partnership.

Before the partnership can admit any new partner they need a Business Case for doing so. Your Business Case is where you demonstrate the commercial advantage to your firm of making you up to partner. A Business Case will typically be built on one of the following premises:

  • A partner is retiring and the department needs a replacement.
  • A part of the firm is growing and needs another partner-level person to help service this part of the business.
  • You have personally built a profitable partner-sized client portfolio, which your partnership cannot afford to lose.
  • You have a great network of trusted contacts that you can use to open doors for other partners in the firm.
  • You have strong relationships with, and deep knowledge of, one particular client that your firm would like to work with more.
  • There is an opportunity to enter a new marketplace or offer a new service stream that you can build into a profitable client portfolio, which in turn will justify your admission into the partnership. You also need Partner on your business card to build this new revenue stream for your firm.
  • You run a business support service or practice management department such as HR, and need to be privy to the partners’ conversations in order to help the firm operate more profitably.

Any well-organised partnership will identify where there is a Business Case for a new partner many years in advance. They will then work with a selection of candidates to build a Personal Case for partnership. This gives the partnership choices about who will be the best candidate for the new partner role.

If you are looking for a structure or a sample Business Case, look no further. Based on our years of working with Partner Business Cases, we have identified a structure that most Business Cases will use. Download the structure (and help) here

How to increase the impact of your partner Business Case if it is based on a partner retiring

When a partner leaves the practice, or retires, there is always a risk that their portfolio will walk out with them, or steadily start to retire as well. After all, most professional advisors’ clients are within 10 years of their age. If you do the maths, then you will realise that inheriting a partner’s client portfolio may not to be the good deal it seems on the surface. If this is what your partner Business Case is based upon, then your business case needs to consider:

  • How will you defend what you have got so it stays with the firm? This will likely include doing a client portfolio analysis to truly understand what is worth keeping and what can be let go without concern.
  • How will you expand what you have been given, particularly as it will likely have received very little attention recently? What is actually worth expanding?
  • How will you ensure a seamless handover? (Of course, that’s if you have the luxury of a handover!)
  • What will you do to bring in new clients? (After all, you will likely lose a material proportion of the client portfolio you inherit.)

If you are reading this and feeling despondent. Don’t worry, most lawyers, accountants and consultants like you are taught to be great technicians; not great at business planning and putting together commercial and persuasive documents. After all, your Business Case for partnership needs to feel very commercially sound AND persuasive. To help you do this, we put together our course “How to Build a Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner”.  It’s included within our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner. This course is one of the most downloaded of any of the 150+ resources within Progress to Partner. 

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!

Related Post

  • 5 ways growing your online presence NOW can help you sign up the right clients later

    5 ways growing your online presence NOW can help you sign up the right clients later

    With so many people working remotely right now, there has never been a more important time to have an online presence. Think about it, everyone is at home and searching online, so if you don’t have a presence, how will your prospects find you? We have always stressed how vitally important your online footprint is…


  • How to deal with a tough work colleague

    How to deal with a tough work colleague

    Read this article for over 6 tips to successfully deal with tough colleagues.