Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Part 6: Positioning Your Agency for 2010 Success

Here are the first five key strategies for your success in 2010:

1. Critically assess 2009
2. Revisit your firm’s vision and strategies to get there
3. Critically evaluate your client relationships and your work
4. Develop a smarter new business and marketing strategy
5. Keep your stars motivated and invest in the next one

Now, number six – one of the most neglected strategies for success.

Strategy 6: Commit to and develop a formal business plan and operating budget consistent with your vision

I’ve been fortunate to help firms develop their business plans for the year and I can tell you without question that it is an important step in ensuring a successful year.

A well-crafted business plan:

• Provides a framework for decision-making
• Takes the guesswork out setting priorities
• Creates a context for investments, new hires, and new service offerings

Start by analyzing the competitive landscape and what your clients are saying. Where are the opportunities to accelerate your agency’s growth? What did you learn from your assessment of last year? How has your vision changed?

By the way, if you don’t do personalized (by telephone) surveys of your clients each year, you should. Clients will tell you a lot about how you’re doing and what you need to be doing better. Consider an outsider rather than agency leadership to conduct the survey.

In your plan, include new services, service enhancements, and new agency “products”. Identify staffing needs and changes. From your prior year’s assessment, specify internal changes you need to make to the way you conduct, manage or operate your business. Remember, this is a plan you intend to execute – so be brutally realistic and honest.

Include your marketing and business development action plans as part of the overall agency business plan.

Finally, develop a formal operating budget for the year that reflects the actions you’ve specified in your plan. Budget for new hires and any new investments when you believe they will occur. Review your budget monthly against your P&L and adjust the budget as necessary to deliver your profit margin goal.

There you have it: 6 key steps to success in 2010. If you commit to follow these strategies you are well are on your way to a great 2010.

What are your key strategies for success? Are there some I’ve missed?