I’ve been chatting via email with a lawyer who is unexpectedly being put up for partner in the next few weeks. In an ideal world your Business Case will be written over a series of months after consulting with the great and good of the partnership. However, life doesn’t always work out like that! This senior associate is finding out the hard way about writing a Business Case in a week. This blog post contains selected bits of my advice to her as she focuses intensively on achieving her mission impossible.

1. What is your firm aiming to achieve?

It is not unusual for a firm to have a very vague and shrouded-in-mystery process to get to partner. Firms like the Big 4, BDO and Grant Thornton have a very clear and transparent process for making partner. These firms are, unfortunately in the minority. If you are going to write an impactful Business Case you need to know the stated or unstated headline strategy for the firm. What is their long-term aim for growth or survival? The best Business Cases link the firm’s strategy and how their Business Case will help the firm achieve it. A firm will always have a long-term strategy. It could be as simple as ‘do more of the same’. Sometimes – and more often than you realise – it is never openly articulated. If you are going to be a member of the partnership club, you need to know what this strategy is – and there may be different versions of this strategy depending upon who you speak to!

2. Identify how you will help strengthen the partnership and increase the profits as a partner

This is where you identify the ‘why you’, but in the context of what the partnership is trying to achieve.

Our course “How to Build a Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner” (included within Progress to Partner for premium members) will help you identify your Business Case and Business Case presentation’s ‘why me, why now’ element. It even includes a suggested PowerPoint slide deck to ensure your presentation is succinct. Check it out!

3. Build your one-sentence sell and 3-sentence sell

In one sentence, sum up why the partnership should make you up to partner. This will not be easy, but it will help you get crystal clear on the message you want to get through in your Business Case for partnership AND pitch at the partnership panel interview. It could possibly be something like this:

“My relationship with the Tesco account will grow into a partnership sized portfolio and help the firm fulfil its strategy of a strong retail sector team.”

Now expand this 1 sentence to 3 sentences, which is your short pitch for why me for partner? Once again, this discipline of making every word fight to be included is forcing you to think very clearly and succinctly about your Personal and Business Case. 

Our course “How to Build a Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner” (included within Progress to Partner for premium members) will take you through a step-by-step process to help you assemble your 1-sentence and 3-sentence sell. Check it out!

4. Storyboard your 3-sentence pitch

Before you are tempted to delve into the detail, it is time to storyboard your 3-sentence pitch. You want to be able to tell the story of your Business Case, without extra unnecessary detail. One of the best ways to do this is take 5-10 slides, and use only the slide titles to tell the headline story of your Business case for Partnership. These will typically be the order of:

  • 3 sentence pitch
  • Reason 1 (supports/qualifies 3 sentence pitch)
  • Your Second Reason (that supports/qualifies 3 sentence pitch)
  • Your Third Reason ( that supports/qualifies 3 sentence pitch)
  • Risk of not promoting you to partner this time

5. Fill in the detail to support the titles on each slide

Your aim when filling in the detail for each slide is to keep your words still punchy and succinct. Don’t fall into the trap of making the font smaller and smaller to fit all those words onto the slide. It should not be War and Peace.  The whole point of forcing you to use this method is that it helps you cut out the waffle and make each word really count when writing your Business Case.

6. Expand your storyboard into a full Business Case

Now, expand what you have built as much as necessary to give the partners the details they require within your Business Case. Using this process, you will have all the information you need to prepare your pitch for partnership in your partnership interview.

The nearest you will find to a Business Case template for partnership is our Free Sample Business Case Template (click on the link to download.

What’s in Progress To Partner which will help you with your Business Case for 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!

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