2020 Goal Setting for Professional Services Firms

November 22, 2019 Trilby Lawless

Success and meeting your full potential are two different ball games. Throughout the year, hopefully, there were many moments when your firm celebrated successes. As you reflect on the end of the year and start setting 2020 goals for your firm, I’d challenge you to think more about how to meet your full potential than playing it safe in the secure success zone. With every success from the year, strive to set the bar just that much higher, otherwise you may notice the same successes becomes less of a celebration and more of the status quo. 

At BigTime, our internal goal structure is of the philosophy that it’s better to aim too high and fall short than never reach at all. More than just a professional “go big or go home”, it lets our teams push ourselves without too much fear. Without this, there may never be the chance to reach your full potential as an employee or company-wide. 

Of course, all good things come in moderation, so to make sure things don’t go overboard, we’ve put together these ideas and strategies for your firm to try. 

Know Your Direction

A growth strategy was probably a big part of conversations when your firm was just starting, but there’s room for this to shift with your practice. There are many factors that can impact and shift your business strategy off course, for example, a new competitor or changing industry trends. Be familiar with all the different strategies to be able to spot when a change is necessary to continue growing. 

The five proven growth strategies include: 

  • Increase market penetration 
  • Develop new markets
  • Develop alternative distribution channels
  • Develop new services
  • New services to new markets

Plan for Failure and Use it to Your Advantage

Failure is bound to happen, so you might as well use it to your advantage. Look back at the things that didn’t go according to plan this year, and take the time to pinpoint the root of the problem. Setting aside time for teams to do this on a project scale is also beneficial. Often throughout the year, we are so busy moving to the next thing we put off taking the time to re-work our processes so that they are stronger and avoid repeat mistakes. 

Asking the following questions to find out what has made past yearly goals go flat. 

  • Was there a need to pivot or factor in changing the goal?
  • Has the goal become too hard to achieve? 
  • Do you believe the goal is now unattainable? Why? Why not?
  • Have your interests simply changed, and it’s okay to leave the goal behind?
  • What have been the beneficial aspects of reaching for this goal even it wasn’t completed?

Use Your KPIs as Guiding Lights

We recently shared a blog post on preventing client churn and learned that the average cost of acquiring a new customer can be five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing client. Do you know how much it’s costing your firm? Hone in on the financial insights of your firm from the past year and do similar cross-comparisons. 

  • Is it better to find new clients or invest in existing ones?
  • Which projects stay within budget the most? What’s unique about them?
  • What months had better staff utilization? How can you replicate that?
  • Is there a project that only takes on additional services? Should you be updating the initial scope? 

Respond to the trends

Although the last few tips have all focused on looking internally before setting goals, it’s equally important to evaluate what’s going on outside of your firm and market trends. Most professional services firms depend heavily on referrals for their business, but there’s a wealth of untapped potential that can come from taking advantage of digital marketing. From blogs (like this), social media, webinars and video, there are many opportunities to be proactive in sharing your brand beyond your website.  A lot of these tools you can try without spending money, or only a little, and even better you’ll be able to track the results. If something is not working, adjust or ditch it. But if it is, maybe you invest more energy there and grow more rapidly, rather than taking a back seat with referrals. 

For more tips throughout the year on how to follow through on your goals and best practices for managing and growing your firm, please subscribe on the right.

About the Author

Trilby Lawless

Digital Content Manager

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