Ten Steps to Positioning Your Firm for the Recovery

The stock market called the recovery 12 months ago.

The GDP is now rebounding. It certainly looks like a recovery. And if it looks like a recovery, quacks like a recovery, and walks like a recovery—well, you know the rest, and it might not be too soon to think about how your firm is positioning itself to take advantage.

Exactly when your business, or at least segments of it, will experience the recovery probably differs from other businesses. This looks to be a slow, differentiated recovery; your mileage may vary.

But whatever your timeframe, there are certain general rules that may help you take advantage of the turn when it does come around.

Ten Steps to Capitalizing on the Emerging (Economic) Recovery

These thoughts, courtesy of an occasional discussion group I’m part of (see author list) are aimed mainly at professional services firms, but in many ways will fit general business as well.

1.      What changes are now needed in your business acquisition strategy? Which relationships should you seek to strengthen, and where do you selectively want to plant new ones? 

2.      Business developers: Do a searching and fearless inventory of your past clients and high probability past prospects (particularly those who almost said yes but postponed).   Allocate responsibilities—get ready to triage.

3.      Service offerings: which of your offerings best helps which of your client types to build their performance in early recovery? Which of your clients’ businesses are poised for growth first?

4.      Help define your clients’ recovery-driven issues together with your clients. They may still be in siege mentality.  How is this recovery different, for them, from previous ones—what’s is new this time around? How take advantage of those differences? Again—discuss this with your clients.

5.      Pricing: move to mildly more aggressive; say no to discretionary discount requests.

6.      Raise your minimum size, scope, and duration thresholds for saying ‘yes.’

7.      Figure out to whom you’ll say ‘no.’ Use relationship-propensity as a screen–turn down the one-offs.

8.      The scarcest resource is always good people, so the best time hire is early in the recovery cycle. For many of you, that means now.

9.      What do you want to do more of? What have you been doing during recession that you’d like now to do less of? Is it time to re-balance and re-align selected resources from the likely conservative assumptions of a budget you built six months ago?

10. As others of your clients move into recovery mode—how can you become a prospective partner? What can you do in advance to set the stage?

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