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Strategic Alliances Build A Foundation For Long-Term Success

During difficult market times, building strategic alliances is one of the best investments you can make for your firm. Taking your firm to the next level will require that you incorporate key tactics in your marketing plan to gain market share and improve your client acquisition strategy. To be more competitive and differentiate your firm, having strategic alliances will extend your team and present your firm a way to offer clients a full spectrum of services.

Strategic Alliances Should Be About Your Client, Not Your Firm
One of the biggest mistakes advisors are making today is attempting to build strategic alliances for the benefit of the firm. These types of alliances will fall short of your desired result, providing you with nothing more than a network rather than a true solid alliance producing results.

Center your strategic alliance plan around solutions to meet client needs.

The value of your firm is measured by your client problems, needs, and wants, as well as the quality of solutions you can provide to them. While cost & skill sharing are some reasons why companies form alliances, creating the ability to offer clients more services is the most desirable shared benefit for each partner, including your client.

Begin to structure your extended team with other professionals whose efforts are symmetrical with the needs of your clients. Identify professionals that share your niche and are able to provide solutions for your clients beyond your existing realm of services.

Choose counterparts that you can easily collaborate with, develop good connections, and those that will actively introduce you to new clients rather than waiting for an opportunity to present itself. Perform searches of noncompeting professionals in your community, (such as attorney’s and CPA firms) and then find a mutual connection to help initiate contact. Explore the common motives and objectives between your firm and those of your alliances.

Steps To Creating Successful Alliances:
1. Approach local CPA & Attorney Firms
2. Interview key people to determine their suitability for an alliance with you
3. Implement a systematic process to create strong relationships

  • Create The Vision-describe what your firm and alliances can achieve together
  • • Document and Collaborate-review how each alliance will benefit your firm• Lay the Foundation-mutually commit to specific actions
  • • Staging-include a clear description of opportunities, obstacles, & challenges that each alliance may encounter
  • • Progress-review specific tactics and their results, building on any early successes

An important factor to any successful long-term alliance includes a plan and documentation of future success for each firm. Ironstone can help you structure your alliances by picking the right people to partner with and develop a comprehensive strategic alliance plan.

Contact us for assistance in cultivating a web of alliances with your peers to identify and implement best practices to build a world-class business and achieve bottom line results.

We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here! We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Business Development-Advisory Boards
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Begin With The End In Mind

Your succession plan should start when you make plans to open your firm.  If you want to create a purposeful life and path for your career, as you start your business think about what your exit game plan will be.  Regardless of being in the midst of success, if you do not have a succession plan, make it a priority this year. 

How should you start the process?  Think of yourself as replaceable and begin to delegate tasks to others.  Other key questions to answer in developing your succession plan:

  • At what time would you like to transition out?
  • Who will you sell to?
  • When will you make the transition?
  • How will all of these work together?
  • Are annual recurring revenues growing over time consistently or are they up and down and somewhat volatile?

Predictability is the preference in appealing a buyer to your firm.  Higher net cash flow and higher recurring revenue will give your firm a higher valuation. 

How long should an exit take?  Each firm is different, however, it can take months to years for the entire succession process.  When pursuing a sale the following steps can take 1 to 2 months per step and are critical in successful succession planning:

  • Preparation
  • Marketing
  • Negotiating
  • Due Diligence
  • Final Transaction

 Other considerations to include in your succession plan:

  • Prepare your team & your clients. Make sure your clients will receive the same level or better quality of service that they are currently receiving.
  • Train your clients so they are used to you being out of the office.
  • That the buyer can have a profitable practice.
  • That you will be compensated fairly for your practice.
  • Look for businesses that are compatible with your firm.
  • Is the business a fee-based or commission-based firm?
  • Is the firm financial-planning based or investment-management service based?
  • What is the firm’s client service philosophy?

As the owner of your firm, you are sure to be experiencing feelings of loss of control, loss of significance and grief.  Be aware that your team is experiencing an elevated pressure of anxiety if you leave them in the dark.  It is vital to communicate the tactics of your succession plan to your team.   

Purposeful planning is key to the entire succession planning process.  “One of the best things you can do is to work ON the business not just IN the business.”

 We want to hear from you!  Is your succession plan in place?

Contact us for assistance in following the proper steps needed for a successful succession plan.


Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™! 

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Business Development- Branding & Value Proposition-Does Your Firm Have A Value Proposition?  Learn How To Create A Unique Value Proposition For Your Firm.