This is exactly the right time for lawyers and accountants to plan for the future

This won’t be news for any lawyer or accountant but with the way things are at the moment, most businesses are on hold and that means the demand for professional advice has decreased dramatically. This has understandably put a lot of firms into a bit of tailspin.

Surely, if people aren’t buying, selling or merging businesses there’s very little for a corporate lawyer or a corporate financier to do.

If land can’t be viewed or developed, there’s no chance people will want to buy it which means there’s little work for commercial property solicitors.

If trading has to all intents and purposes been suspended and the regular compliance and tax deadlines have been extended accordingly, there’s no need to bring the accountants in just yet.

With a few exceptions, this adds up to a pretty bleak picture. Therefore, it’s no surprise many firms have started to look at worst case scenarios, cutting spending and resources to shore up their short term cash position.

However, while this is unfortunately as understandable as it is necessary, it has to be done with both eyes on the future. Partners and executive management have to use the extra time the recent drop in work affords them to plan for the future and that plan needs to address 3 very specific perspectives:

1. The situation is purely temporary

The decrease in demand for their services is temporary. The economy was growing when we went into lockdown and clients had committed to projects and had the money to make those projects happen. These will all be picked up again and the people driving these projects will still need your help.

Your challenge is to stay front of mind so that you are in the best possible position to win those opportunities when they are resurrected.

2. Demand hasn’t disappeared, it has changed

While it looks like demand has dropped, the reality is it has only dropped in certain practice areas. In others demands have simply changed.

Your challenge – and meeting this challenge is absolutely crucial in terms of maintaining the healthiest possible revenue stream – is to identify those pockets, address them and promote yourselves accordingly.

3. Are you REALLY ready to go once the lockdown is lifted?

A lot has been written about using the extra time for planning, for getting your house in order and making sure you are ready for the (yuck) ‘new normal’. But in reality how any firms have actually taken the advice?

How many firms have identified the potential opportunities that’ll be open to them and agreed the tactics they’ll use to pursue them?

How many have taken the time to talk to their clients to find out what they’ll need most for them moving forward and how they will want that advice to be delivered?

How many have taken time to consider deal flow and how the processes and models they’ve always taken for granted to invent new products, packages and partnerships that will boost their saleability in an the eyes of what is certain to be a more demanding market once things start getting pack to normal?

How many have taken the time to take reflect positively on what we’ve learned from having to work remotely? And how many are brave enough to implement those positives to start designing a new and more profitable way to work?

Your challenge here is two-fold.

Firstly, it’s defensive. Some of your competitors will be working hard on all of this stuff and you can’t afford to let them get the drop on you or do anything that’ll boost their market position and damage yours.

The second move is more attacking.

If you are ready to (cliché klaxon) ‘hit the ground running’ with ‘all your ducks in a row’ it will be you that gains the competitive advantage.

You will have a new look, a new offering and a new message to impress clients (all designed in tandem with them to make sure it’s 100% right and to provide another opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them) and potential clients. You’ll already have a means of promoting all of that effectively. You’ll have positioned yourselves as innovative, client-friendly and forward thinking.

And you’ll have done all of this while your competitors are stumbling along behind you in catch up mode.

It has never been as crucial for firms to invest in business development (and by that we mean making bold decisions on how to develop your business not just looking at sales and marketing tactics) so if you’d like to discuss how we can support that process and book your first free 30 minute Zoom consultation, please email us today.

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