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 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 7 of Poised for Partnership, I talk about the 7 different types of business cases. Here is the extract: 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 be identifying 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.
How to increase the impact of your partner business case if it is based upon 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 is likely to include doing a client portfolio analysis to truly understand what is worth keeping and what can be let go without too much concern.
- How will you expand what you have been given, particularly as it is likely to 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 are likely to lose a material proportion of the client portfolio you inherit.)