The Total Business Review (TBR), our flagship service and where most firms begin, is a unique solution for marketing firms that require an overview of their business affairs. This is a half-year program that begins with an on-site portion to kick off a six month implementation period. Since developing this program in early 1994, we have guided hundreds of firms through this process.
The TBR typically examines three areas. The first is positioning, a marketing plan, and selling strategies to find the clients you need to control your business life. The second is staffing and structuring roles. The third is systems to move your environment from a deadline-driven one to a profit-driven one, all without losing the culture that’s important to you. Every TBR also begins with a thorough benchmarking to give you a sense of how your firm is doing in relation to others your size.
This is accomplished in four stages. First, we ask for specific materials and conduct both qualitative and quantatitive surveys. Second, the on-site data gathering portion helps us learn about your firm so that the recommendations made are appropriate. Third, you receive a written evaluation, replete with specific suggestions about how to get from “here” to “there” at the close of our on-site portion. Fourth, after prioritizing the recommendations, implementation begins to bring about the changes that are necessary. You will begin to see these changes early in the process (the “unlimited remote implementation guidance” period lasts for six months).
The data gathering itself is a helpful portion of the TBR, even before the recommendations are made. Aside from the external input, the focused time spent taking stock of your company goes a long way toward needed improvements. In addition to surfacing new information and solutions, a review will confirm...or correct...the instincts you already have.
You may be a candidate for a review if you can benefit from one or more of the following:
- Understanding how your personal role must change as the business you are managing evolves.
- Improved profitability through greater revenue, higher utilization, and increased fees from clients (without losing them in the process).
- More effective management, resulting in a more satisfying experience for you, employees with better morale, and a greater sense of teamwork.
- Results-oriented marketing, providing more of the work you want to do, at the fees you should be commanding, in a sales environment that you'll control.
- Insightful observation, adaptive strategies, and forward leadership to make you more profitable, help you grow responsibly, or move to the next level in business, management, or marketing.
- Complete review of your financial life, including balance sheet, income statement, and tax structure.
- Operating ratios to quantify your business in areas of profit, leverage, liquidity, and efficiency. Specific strategies to bring ratios in line with healthy shops your size.
- Real recommendations in areas such as productivity, technology, work efficiency, billable rates and procedures, and use of advisors.
- Review of employee benefits, salary structures, and the work environment.
- Critique of positioning, marketing strategy, and marketing materials.
- Personalized advice on leases, loans, insurance, and other business strategies.
- Analysis of client base in relation to the optimum plan for your firm.
- How to institutionalize your business for maximum profit without depersonalizing it.
The typical review unfolds as follows:
- Discuss your firm's condition briefly by phone, gathering sufficient data from which to prepare a specific proposal.
- Choose mutually acceptable date. The on-site portion for firms of up to about twelve employees can be accomplished in one day. Larger firms require additional time. We can accomplish so much at this stage because of the advance preparation and because of the structured nature of the discussions as we lead them.
- Accept written proposal by signing and returning one-page agreement along with deposit of roughly one-third of the total.
- Complete tailored surveys and data gathering in preparation for on-site portion. The data requested is usually at hand and simple to collect.
- Conduct on-site review consisting of interviews, discussions, listening, etc. Work in the office can generally continue without disruption except for the specific individuals involved. The atmosphere is relaxed and helpful, though there is sufficient structure to ensure that we get the entire picture. Generally you learn as much from the questions as from the answers.
- Review the recommendations before departing.
- Expand on recommendations where necessary over the following weeks. You'll also receive digital versions by email so that edited portions can be distributed to employees.
- This is followed by phone and email contact during which we begin to prioritize specific strategies to accomplish your goals.
- Cement positive change through implementation guidance for six months, included at no additional charge.
That's the program in a nutshell. There's more on how we work together under our FAQ.
Location. Your office and then remotely.
Duration. From one to three full days on site, depending on the size of your firm. A TBR can usually be scheduled within 4-12 weeks (we get booked pretty far in advance).
Deliverable. Hours of industry leading advice that follows written agenda; written summary recommendations; later expansions as necessary.
Unlimited Remote Implementation. 6 months.
Participation Requirements. Principal/Finance gather materials for 4 hours. Employees answer survey for 30-60 minutes. Principals participate for roughly one-half of the on-site time. Selected managers and key employees participate for 2-4 hours. Selected employees participate in 20 minute interview.
Cost. $10,000 fee plus expenses ($1,200-1,900), estimated in advance, for firms of up to 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Each employee above that number adds $250. So, for example, a firm with 20 FTE employees would pay $12,500 plus expenses.
Terms. Fee and expenses are added together. Approximately one-third sent within 1 week of acceptance to secure the date and allow travel arrangements to be made; the remainder is due approximately 10 days before on-site portion, sent with materials that we’ll request. There are no refunds under any circumstances, though we can often reschedule a visit and pass along any additional costs or expenses.