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How top leaders build thriving businesses in a crowded professional services world

Professional Services, a diverse industry comprised of occupations including Consulting, IT, Architecture, Law and Engineering, has recently experienced strong global growth of approximately 10 per cent. The industry has become the “go-to” for many people participating in the “Great Resignation” as they transition from the corporate world to a more balanced and hopefully better life.

Nevertheless, the professional services industry faces numerous challenges:

  • A crowded and competitive marketplace-fuelled by a massive increase in the number of micro and niche firms
  • Increasing client expectations such as faster delivery, higher quality
  • Balancing client delivery with business growth
  • Increasing project complexity
  • Continued volatility and uncertainty which can impede business growth efforts

Lachlan McKnight of LegalVision, Ronnie Altit of Insentra and Kelly Brown of Recovery Partners are three Australian leaders tackling these complexities and challenges head-on. 

Each is growing a professional service firm that not only meets key performance indicators (KPIs) like revenue, profits and number of customers but is also a thriving and positive organisation where employees feel respected, empowered, and love the work they do.

LegalVision, CEO, Lachlan McKnight

How top leaders build thriving businesses in a crowded professional services world
Lachlan McKnight, CEO, LegalVision

LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides SMEs in Australia and New Zealand with affordable, ongoing legal support. The business is one of Australia’s fastest-growing law firms and was the 2021 Australasian Law Firm of the Year.

While Lachlan says that the LegalVision team is doing numerous things right, he identifies three key factors that underpin the business’s success.

An innovative business model

LegalVision is based on a subscription membership whereby all clients are members of LV Connect Pro, its “All in One” legal solution.

Clients pay a weekly fee providing them with a comprehensive range of services, including unlimited advice consultations, document drafting and reviews.  “Such a business model enables LegalVision to build deeper relationships as we are working on many issues within their business,” explains Lachlan.

Digital marketing strategy

LegalVision’s marketing strategy has been a key focus, with online being its primary client acquisition channel. LegalVision is the most visited legal site in Australia, and it has a Number 1 ranking for SEO and SEM. The secret to this position? The firm’s commitment to content marketing and the consistency with which it publishes. LegalVision has created 1000’s of insight-driven articles over several years, which is unusual in the legal profession.

People and culture

LegalVision has a much more relaxed culture than you find in most law firms. Lachlan and his management team believe in enabling staff members to “bring their whole self” to work. As a result, LegalVision has implemented some unique policies and guidelines, such as staff do not wear suits, and can work remotely, even from overseas. Lachlan’s commitment to meeting the firm’s business objectives and the needs of his staff is summed up by his philosophy to managing teams, “Do what you want as long as it works for your team.” 

Using this business model and company culture, LegalVision is looking to expand to help more SMEs, both here in Australia and overseas.

Insentra, CEO and Co-Founder, Ronnie Altit

How top leaders build thriving businesses in a crowded professional services world
Ronnie Altit, CEO, Insentra

Insentra is an IT company based in Sydney. In 2020, it was voted a Great Place To Work.

Insentra is another example of how a unique business model and an authentic people-oriented culture can drive a company’s growth and success.

The Insentra business model

Unlike the traditional growth paths many consulting firms follow, Insentia provides advisory and professional services to other IT companies on a wholesale basis, extending its clients’ offerings and capabilities. Insentra NEVER delivers these directly to end customers. As is stated on the website, “We Don’t Compete! We are Partner Obsessed!”

While it takes time to build trust, this model enables Insentra to have deep, long-lasting relationships with its clients.

Corporate culture is key

In an industry where there is typically a 20 per cent employee turnover, CEO Ronnie Altit and his team have successfully created an environment where people love what they do. This has resulted in staff having a long tenure with Insentra, thereby providing a stable pool of staff to work with clients.

Ronnie Altit is passionate about company culture, believing “that it starts at the top and that everyone in the business is a custodian of the culture.”

As CEO, Ronnie interviews ALL applicants regardless of the position. When doing so, he looks for the right ATTITUDE, not just the required skills.

Ronnie also creates opportunities for open and honest communication by holding monthly “All Hands” meetings. These are entirely optional, and staff can ask Ronnie anything. Such sessions help ensure that Ronnie and his leadership team “do things that people want in a company.”

As for the future, Ronnie is thinking big.   Building upon the success Insentra is having with its partner-driven business model and strong culture; the plan is to become the Number 1 Channel Services company in the world.

Recovery Partners, MD Kelly Brown, Founder and Director

How top leaders build thriving businesses in a crowded professional services world
Kelly Brown, MD, Founder, Director of Recovery Partners

There is a saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Nevertheless, effective strategic planning and execution is an integral component of business growth, one that Kelly Brown has relied on to develop Recovery Partners.

Recovery Partners works with organisations of all sizes to prevent workplace injuries and manage Workers Comp Claims. In 2020, it was voted a Great Place To Work.

The company has experienced consistent, strong revenue growth. This can be attributed to Kelly’s strong adherence to solid strategic thinking and planning. She believes that it is important that businesses do so to determine “what to do” but that it also “takes discipline and considered thought to say No.”

Like many other companies, Recovery Partners has strong growth ambitions, looking to diversify into the NDIS and Aged care sectors. However, this expansion will be contingent on its ability to get more staff, as the talent and skillset required for Workplace management is in short supply in Australia. Recovery Partner’s talent strategy involves retaining committed employees through providing a great employee experience, offering premium salaries (as much as 30 per cent more than before the pandemic), and sourcing staff from overseas and paying for their relocation.

Read more: Building your community: The “secret sauce” to B2B growth

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Michael Haynes

Michael Haynes

Michael Haynes is an SME Business Growth Specialist that works with CEOs of service-based companies seeking to grow through the acquisition and retention of business (B2B) clients. His company, Listen Innovate Grow is based in Sydney, Australia and works with companies globally.

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