At the start of any new year there seems to be plans everywhere. As a lawyer or accountant, you will be expected to present your own personal BD plan for 2022 but with so much else to do, how can you make implementing your 2022 personal business development plan easier and more effective? Here are some practical tips that should help.
Unfortunately, the truth is all too often any plan (personal, strategic or departmental) is just filed away as soon as they’re signed off never to be seen again. If a plan is going to be worth the paper it’s written on (or the file it’s typed into) it needs to spell out 5 things:
1. What objectives the plan has been created to achieve (and why)
2. How the plan will be implemented
3. How progress will be measured
4. How will you report success
5. What resources and/or additional support is required to implement the plan
Let’s look at the first four criteria in turn (number 5 should be self-explanatory!).
What objectives has your personal business development plan been created to achieve (and why)
Few anticipated the credit crunch that impacted the economy in 2008. Fewer still saw Covid coming before January 2020. It is therefore good practice to state what objectives your personal BD plan is based on and make sure your tactics address these objectives and the surrounding economy/trading environment accordingly.
While the pandemic is of course at one end of the scale, less dramatic scenarios might be based around:
– Opening up new markets/audiences
– Growing revenue across specific service lines
– Recruitment of new hires
– Finding potential external partners
– Boosting your personal profile in key areas and in front of key audiences
– Cementing your position as the ‘go to’ in your chosen niches
What is the best way to implement your personal business development plan?
While many business plans focus on strategic objectives, the key is to successful implementation is to focus on the tactics, the what/who/when.
Think about what you want to achieve and then what the best ways to get there are.
Do you need to meet new people? Spend more time with clients to generate more introductions? Find new conferences or networking groups? Write more content for the right publications and websites?
Then back these up with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound) you can use as markers.
How will you measure your progress while implementing your personal business development plan?
One of Tenandahalf’s mantras is ‘what gets measured gets done’.
However, when it comes to implementing a personal BD plan what stalls progress in many professional service firms is an absence of a scorecard and/or system to track actual delivery versus plans. If you have your SMART goals that’s no longer a problem; you just tick off the markers as you go.
What you will need though is an easy-to-use scoresheet. If you remember Blue Peter, you will remember the totalizer they used in charity campaigns. The principle is exactly the same. Have a physical sheet (and we can share our excel Coffee Plan template if you email us) you can actually tick off – physically or digitally.
This simple addition to your implementation will keep you on track (and it’ll make you feel better).
How will you report your business development successes?
In our experience professional services firms are good at reminding people what they’ve failed to do but sometimes not as good as recognising successes.
Make sure you have a mechanic you can use to report progress, successes and client wins.
It may be via your departmental or sector BD meetings or in 1on1s with your line manager. It doesn’t matter as long as people are acknowledging what you are doing.
We’d also recognise significant wins (and that means new introductions, new promotional opportunities and innovative initiatives as much as good old fashioned client wins) are reported across the firm to encourage similar behaviours in other pockets of the firm.
What are the 3 characteristics of good personal business plans?
To wrap up I wanted to share 3 rules the best constructed and best implemented personal BD plans I’ve seen adhere to:
– Simplicity, clarity and a lack of management-speak
– Brevity (the best are one or two pages)
– Coverage; the best BD plans tackle all 3 routes to new work – creating more value from existing clients, getting closer to referrers and other professional contacts and attracting new clients
If you would like to discuss how we can help you and/or your team create more effective personal business development plans, please email us today and we can find a convenient time to chat.