I am a Solicitor and the CEO of Taylor Rose TTKW, a UK based law firm specialising consumer and SME corporate law with a bias towards property.
Like most industries, 2020 has been a tough year for law firms as demand for services fluctuates dramatically. A strong start to 2020 gained momentum through until March. During April and May, our instructions dramatically reduced and most transactions stalled, failing to either complete or fall through. Instructions have steadily increased since May, adding to awakening transactions that had been stalled in spring, creating record levels of work that is shrugging off the second lockdown.
To add to the challenges that we faced, we acquired a competitor that was larger than ourselves in May, in fullest the depths of our Covid-19 impact. We somehow managed to gain the confidence to proceed and the timing ensured a lack of competitor interest in bidding against us. The end result was a great deal that further improved as the market turned a corner shortly thereafter.
We have had an appetite for growth since our inception, constantly aspiring towards being a bigger and better firm. We understand that there is no point in growing unless you have something great to offer. Strong capabilities and happy clients must exist first and sometimes market conditions or past growth events challenge our capability or quality of service. When this happens, we take some time to get back into the flow. When we completed the MW deal in May, we were fighting fit (after recovering from a very difficult 2019 Q1/Q2) and therefore felt confident that we could take on our biggest challenge to date during such a volatile market. We use characteristics like integrity, innovation and generating long term relationships to give us the substance that our aspiration can rely upon.
We must constantly generate improving goodwill and confidence. Lawyers (as individuals or as firms through M&A) want to be a part of a great firm with a strong reputation. Growth becomes a natural next step because prospective clients, introducers and lawyers want to join us. Clients come back and recommend us to their friends.
My advice to a CEO looking for growth is to listen to your business and only take the next step when it is strong. Have a clear and well-communicated strategy that is enduring. Understand your market and use your strengths to target the best opportunities and deliver your aspirations. Don’t get carried away, underlying substance and quality is necessary for sustained growth in my experience. Finally, surround yourself with capable people that you trust and that trust you.
We completed the strategic growth programme in 2016. We were keen to better understand business theory, as well as grant ourselves time some out to integrate as a new management team and focus on the firm after a growth event (merger with Tucker Turner Kingsley Wood in 2015).
During the programme, we were able to quantify our strengths and assess them against some significant market opportunities. We created a growth plan entirely focussed on our consultant proposition, identifying the necessary actions to take our consultant revenue from £3.2m to £5.1m within 12 months. After completing the course, we followed the plan and achieved our target within 10 months. We continued with the growth plan, applying it each year to date. The plan has continued to work well and we forecast our consultant revenue to exceed £20m in our current FY. We are planning to complete the programme again in 2021 to review our market opportunities/business strengths afresh and update our strategy for the next few years.’