When I left the law in 2011 to start a compliance consultancy for law firms, Jonathon Bray Legal Services, I perhaps did not appreciate the importance of regular cash flow. I was more concerned with getting the business off the ground. My service was modelled on a traditional legal business: get new client, do the work, and bill for the time (or fixed fee).
I soon faced an exhausting business development cycle: as soon as a bill was raised I had to go out and win new business to keep the business afloat, which itself diverted time away from fee earning.
I realised that it would be much better to work with a small number of clients on a monthly retainer basis. I therefore refined and rebranded the business as an outsourced provider of compliance services, and it wasn’t long before clients started finding me via a web and social media presence.
The transformation has been remarkable. Each client pays a monthly fee for the service which means that I have a much closer business relationship with each firm. Monthly income is now predictable, and the new model has given the business a solid financial footing and made it more attractive to potential funders. If one client leaves then I simply increase the business development.
I can now concentrate much more on delivering the service, retaining business and thinking of growth rather than quickly burning through the marketing budget. I recently took on my first employees and have plans for expansion.
Published in the Guardian Small Business Network Cashflow Showcase