Crisis time is not a problem. It is an opportunity. Seemingly so solid structures start to shake, opening up new opportunities for those who want to see them. It can be particularly rewarding for those who are open to tune or revise their modus operandi, being opportunistic, attracting the best talent, acting more swiftly, and preparing for the future more efficiently than others.
What is your attitude towards the pandemic?
According to an interesting survey conducted by the Managing Partners’ Forum in May 2020, 42% of mid-market UK professional services firms describe their response to the pandemic as being “pivoters”, adapting the service proposition and working on new revenue streams. 19% are “thrivers”, continuing operations to meet the high demand for services.
24% of firms thought their response to the pandemic should be labeled as “survivors”, cutting back activity in parts of the firm that are no longer viable, while 15% considered themselves as “hibernators”, using existing cash reserves and minimizing losses through furloughing.
It is interesting to note that so many firms take a pro-active approach as “pivoters”. The change process is already happening there. To which category do you want to belong?
Listen to sell
If you want to sell, stop talking and start listening carefully instead. It is perhaps not a big novelty, but the importance of active listening and of ongoing dialogue is particularly important today.
Of course, it is still virtually impossible to meet IRL in many countries, but there are so many tools that you can use to be in touch. Technically speaking, nothing prevents you from being proactive and continuing a dialogue with your clients.
This way you can realize which fields are of particular importance for them and hopefully also draw their attention to some important aspects they would not be able to identify without you. Being one step ahead of your clients.
Get inspired by other industries
Some fashion retailers launch a test series of products, make them available in a limited number of shops on a small market. If it works, then they launch the product on a wider scale, making adjustments if needed. This way they avoid unnecessary large investments without testing waters first, and instead, they are able to act swiftly with a decreased risk of failure.
Pro-actively looking for new products and services. Do a market proof of concept. Amending if necessary. Then go ahead.
Those who will be more agile and smarter will get a chance to grab new market shares which without the Covid-19 crisis would have not been open for new players.
Learn from past crisis
Learn from what has already happened. We do not mean that one should automatically repeat past solutions. It is rather a matter of creatively looking at past experience, assessing which strategies and tactics have worked well a while ago.
You can get inspired and then try to transpose this experience to the current market environment. The outcome may turn out to be completely different from specific past solutions because contexts and circumstances vary.
It may also help you assess your strategies and operations from a new perspective. Think about potential sources of your competitive advantage and be ready to act.
Be a matchmaker
Try to find opportunities for your clients and contacts. Sometimes connecting the dots may turn out to be very easy for you and yet will make a huge difference for your client or contact who may become a client.
It is a matter of looking at things from another angle. Rather than just trying to sell, focus on helping others, and making their life easier.
Helping people is a powerful business development tool.
Time to hire, time to care
CEO of an innovative company told one of us a few weeks ago: “We do not lay off. We are investing right now. Now it is time to invest”.
In the current time, some firms may be able to recruit excellent people who may otherwise not have been open for a career change.
At the same time, pay attention to your team. Treat your people with respect and care, be understanding, and be openminded and receptive. Otherwise, instead of winning, you may be losing some of your valuable colleagues.
Mid-market? Act now
We expect that mid-market will be a particularly challenging place to be going forward, with increasing pressure on one hand from the big players and on another hand from smaller ambitious firms.
If you are in this market segment, it is time to look at how you can benefit from the current developments. Many mid-market firms have a relatively steady flow of “bread and butter” revenues, which is an advantage in comparison to transaction-focused firms.
If you don’t do anything, we have bad news: others will certainly act. This includes not only your current competitors, but also firms which will become your competition soon, but you do not see it coming.
Pricing and costs
One way of addressing it may be to consider alternative pricing solutions. Instead of focusing on hourly rates, focus on delivering value, and connect pricing to it.
There are also technology tools that can help you deliver services in a more efficient manner. And we do not necessarily mean implementing new ones, but to start with checking what you already have. For instance, do you know which tools your Office 365 license includes?
At the same time, it is a good moment to look at your cost base. It may be the case that you have been tolerating inefficiencies in your cost structure and the current challenges may trigger revisions which should be made anyway.
Going forward, it will be really interesting to see the impact of the current situation on office space leasing. In particular, in this area, things may never be the same again.
Brexit has not been canceled
There are issues which did not disappear just because Covid-19 has covered them up. After the pandemic outbreak, it seems that almost everyone has already forgotten about Brexit. Yet, it will take place.
Brexit is just an example. There are issues that many of us have had on the agenda before the Covid-19 crisis. Are they still your issues today or going forward? Do not forget to take them into account while looking again at your, and your clients’, risk assessment scenarios and crisis management procedures.
Let us conclude with this quote gotten from a client: "It is not the big who beat the small but the fast who triumph over the slow."
Per Magnusson is a Swedish attorney (advokat), a founding partner of Magnusson Minds and formerly a founding partner of Magnusson. He is a trusted advisor, advising clients on disputes, complex projects and negotiations. He also serves as an arbitrator. Mariusz Kowalski is a manager and trusted advisor specialized in business development, management, strategy, marketing, and digital projects in the legal sector. He is the Founder of Waterwalk Partners. For almost 15 years, Magnusson and Kowalski have been key members of the firm-wide executive management of Magnusson, in their respective roles of Managing and Senior Partner, and the firm-wide Chief Marketing Officer.