This multi-location firm had seen virtually no growth in the past few years, earning about $20 million annual revenue. Prior to this period, they had experienced an average of 15 percent growth each year. Like many firms, their flat revenue was a result of an economic downturn, but they also knew that long term growth is important for long term survival. The firm wanted to be able to retire partners, create career opportunities and serve the best clients in the area under any economic conditions.
They were serving multiple service lines and industries from multiple locations with no cohesive approach. Each office did its own thing, behaving as its own profit center. That meant great talent that the other offices could have used with better firm-wide knowledge and coordination was often unutilized. They saw a need to create a homogenized, consistent and integrated growth culture and to get a handle on their various service lines and industries.
Initially, Gale had the firm segment their revenue by service line and industry across all locations. This revealed a core competency of seven industries and five service lines. Leaders were assigned to each and given revenue and profitability goals. The next step was to identify the winning growth strategy for each area by evaluating the market from the outside in. This input allowed the leaders to customize the services offered to each industry, along with crystalizing buyer groups and identifying the strongest distribution channels. The goal of this exercise was to drive growth and engage everyone at the firm while learning where the hotspots were in the market. Gale made sure everyone kept a high degree of focus on revenue and profitability throughout the process, providing training and coaching on how to apply generally accepted growth principles.
Several of the firm’s main industries have grown from purely audit and tax services to a very significant focus on expanded consulting services. The head of one of the industry teams – which previously earned 100 percent of its revenue from audit services – now says, “I don’t ever want to do another audit! My greater value is driving consulting services and innovating them for the marketplace.”
The firm has found a whole new cutting edge industry to target, a market hole ripe for them to fill, and new distribution channels in several of their industries. Not only that, but they’re bringing four or five new services to market this year, in different service lines and industries. Their future direction is clear: they see which buyer groups, which channels of distribution and which services offer them the highest odds for success. Back on a growth trajectory, they are on fire with excitement about their growth prospects.