" ... research shows that under conditions of uncertainty, planning simply does not work." - Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer in "The Innovator's Method: Bringing The Lean Startup Into Your Organization," Harvard Business Review Press, 2014. Here you can order the book from Amazon.com.
With the exception of about a dozen large law firms, the business of law has become uncertain. Yet, too many large, medium, small and solo firms still follow the traditional planning model to develop new business. In fact, they hire a marketing pro to create a plan for the next 18 months or so.
What they should be doing is shifting over to an opportunistic mindset, develop some hunches about how to attract business/reduce client churn, construct low-cost A/B/C/D testing, do low-cost course correction, and then invest some serious money in implementing a few fresh tactics. This is a Do It Yourself Model. You don't follow someone else's model. Each organization is unique in its opportunities and pain points.
In the book "The Innovator's Method," the authors present the case study of Rent the Runway. Its founder, then Harvard Business School MBA student Jenn Hyman, did not do a business plan. She observed the dynamics of the marketplace and experimented. What she found out is that, yes, upscale women would rent designer dresses online.
When my communications boutique had, after several very good years, lost traction in the marketplace, I did a deep dive into A/B/C/D testing. Among the hunches I experimented with were:
- Relocate business outside youth-centric New York Metro area
- Lower cost of doing business
- Invest more time in custom-making pitches, ranging from responding to help-wanted ads to cold-calling
- Lower the personal profile
- Consider low-paying assignments in order to build expertise in hot emerging areas
- Develop life outside work to cushion disappointments
- Develop gracious persona
- Don't give away the store on complimentary consultations.
Since I had never gone out there before in such an open-ended way, this was scary. I was not truly optimistic. Then, the majority of the tactics proved to be effective. My business has turned around.
You bet, I continue A/B/C/D testing on a regular basis. The marketplace keeps changing. I keep changing. My boutique keeps changing.