By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

We recently teamed up with BVWire to survey what BV practitioners might be doing to take advantage of the recent economic uncertainty and any slack time it might have brought.

How do you compare?

Slightly over half the respondents chose to focus externally, on marketing and business development, as contrasted with internal process improvement.  About 20%, however, replied that they were splitting their focus almost evenly between the two choices.

Among the activities in the category of marketing and business development, publishing and speaking was an approach favored by 65% of respondents.  Even in the face of possible uncertainty about revenues, 55% reported spending more time – and money – on client lunches and social gatherings.  More internally focused marketing and business development activities such as mining previous client lists for reconnect opportunities, or updating print and website materials, were on the to-do list of about 60% of respondents.

Only 25% reported they were starting (or re-starting) a client newsletter, e-alert, or similar publication.  This small number may not be unusual, given the default nature of the choices noted above.  It may be somewhat short-sighted, however.  When times get good again (and they will!), finding time for public presentations may become a lower priority, while on-going marketing efforts like a newsletter or e-alert will continue to reach a larger audience on a regular basis.  And, these particular marketing tasks can be delegated even when your practice becomes too busy.

When it comes to process improvement, the vast majority of practices are focused on updating models and templates, or improving and updating final report language.  While this task can seem tedious, it can be especially useful in retaining your competitive edge as workflow returns and you get busier.

Considering the formality of their approach, about a third of those who replied said they were working from a “rainy-day” list that they had compiled during busier times.  Another third did not have an actual list, but were using some “when-I-have-the-time” ideas.  What was most startling is that a full 40% admitted that they were working from “the seat of our pants”.

The most positive trend throughout the survey was the individual responses indicating that, for some practitioners at least, there has been no real change in game-plan.  They continue to do what they have always done in marketing and business development.  As one respondent said, “Valuation services MUST be marketed in good times and bad.”

Making the Best of the Downturn
John Borrowman