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What makes a strong business case for partner?

The best and most effective partnership business cases continually verify and quantify all the statements within them. In this article I discuss what data is required and how to use it to strengthen your business case for partner.

What is your evidence that you can win business?

Previously, I have discussed the 7 types of business case for partner. Six of those business cases rely on you being able to demonstrate you will be instrumental in helping the firm win new business. Many of the Magic Circle or Big 4 firms will not expect you to have built a partner-sized client portfolio, however, they will be looking for evidence that you see business development as part of your day job AND that you have a track record of winning work.

Explain your figures

It is not enough to put your figures down in your business case for partner. You need to explain any anomalies or where your figures have not been up to scratch. The opposite also holds true. If you have brilliant results, don’t forget to explain what you did to achieve them.

How does your practice measure up against the metrics that your firm cares about?

Your firm will have several key metrics that they really care about. These typically include:

  • revenue generated by you for the firm,
  • recoverability,
  • personal utilisation or team utilisation,
  • lock up and WIP, and
  • write off.

You need to have these numbers to hand and have them by year for the last three years.

How robust is your client portfolio?

Your partners only want to admit new members to the partnership if they have got a robust and sustainable business case for partner. Therefore, they will be interested in:

  • The revenue you have billed for your top 5-10 clients for each of the last three years.
  • The projected revenue for your top 5-10 clients for the next 12 months, and your activities to achieve this figure.

How valuable is your network?

Of course, if you offer a distressed service such as litigation, or a transactional service such as corporate finance, you may not have the luxury of long term client accounts. Therefore, the value of your network is crucial. Your partners are likely to be interested in:

  • The value and volume of work your top 10 referrers, has sent to you, either to be serviced by your team or the firm generally. This should be for the last three years broken down by year as well as the split between referrals into the wider firm and referrals to be serviced by your team.

A winning business case for partner doesn’t have to be long or packed with every piece of information you can think of. It needs to be compelling, punchy, and impossible to refute.  

Learn what it takes to get noticed, win clients & make it to partner

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