I always find it interesting that during holiday periods and weekends (when the financial markets are closed and fewer journalists are working) there seems to be a lot less doom and gloom about business and our apparent financial plight! Maybe the answer to the problems we are faced with is to adopt a calendar that only includes weekends!
With the majority of us back at work we will no doubt become exposed to worrying messages in the press and the wider media. Is it a double dip recession? Should we close the doors and turn the lights off?
Now I am not going to attempt to be an amateur economist or pretend I have some kind of magical crystal ball to predict the future. Nor do I wish to pretend that our economy does not have some severe challenges ahead. What I can do is share with you what we at PACE see in the marketplace in which we operate. And what we see reminds us of the key ingredients of a professional service firm that continues to grow and prosper even when its competitors are crying doom and gloom!
This is a significant year for PACE as a business. We are 20 years old! We will of course indulge in some celebration however like the most successful clients we work with we do not believe for one second that being established for 20 years guarantees us the right to remain a profitable and successful business for the next 20 years! Just like our most successful clients we must continue to deliver excellence. We must evolve and innovate to ensure our services are delivered in the right way in a market where we know our clients have a choice of providers.
The economy may not make it easy for anyone in business this year. From what we have observed over the last 20 years – years which have included a number of recessions – those firms that will look back on a set of positive results at the end of 2012 will be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following key questions:
1. Have you defined the size and ‘shape’ of the client base you require to deliver the financial results you need to achieve? This would include the existing clients/relationships that you will invest proactive time and money to protect and develop and the new clients/relationships that you plan to win. Time and resources are in short supply. A clear vision – and laser-like focus on the actions needed to achieve that vision – will be vital.
2. Are your management board and heads of service lines/sectors providing strong ‘high value’ leadership to everyone across the firm?
3. Do you have the right people, in the right roles doing the right activities?
4. Are your services/products designed, delivered and priced in a way that makes them ‘easy for clients to buy’?
5. Do you have a culture of proactive business development implemented and supported by individuals who excel in the processes, skills and behaviours required to win the ‘right’ business from the ‘right’ clients?
6. Are you managing the totality of your clients’ experiences to ensure excellence throughout?
In conclusion, our experience over the years tells us that those firms that can answer an emphatic “yes” to all of the above questions – and by doing so deliver best practice in all they do more often and better than their competitors – are the firms that deliver excellent results year after year, no matter what is happening in the economy!
Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last 20 years! We are committed to applying best practice to our own firm and we know we have to earn the right for your support over the next 20 years!
Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year for you all!
John Monks and the PACE Team
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