The past two years have been among the most challenging business owners have faced. The world is now emerging into what many describe as the “New Norm”, characterised by uncertainty and ambiguity. This new reality is stressful and difficult for many business owners to navigate.
The solution for two Australian SMEs has been to listen closely to both the market and their clients and then respond in a strategic, client-centric manner.
Quantum Law Group
Managing Partner of Quantum Law Group, Zile Yu, founded the business in 2019 after identifying the limitations of other law firms. Zile decided that the boutique law group would specialise in the three areas of dispute resolution and litigation, commercial and property transactions and advisory and documentation.
Since the firm was established in 2019, much of its growth and success have occurred during the pandemic. Despite the uncertain business environment in which it was established, the business has handled $66 million in disputed amounts with no lost cases, managed over $235 million in transaction and advisory matters and 234 total years in maximum penalty for criminal defence since its inception.
Zile says that the primary reason for Quantum’s success is that the team has been highly attuned and responsive to client needs. Listening closely to client feedback made it evident to Zile and partner Justine Zhou that clients wanted a more comprehensive offering and didn’t have to go elsewhere for additional legal services.
Zile and Justine recognised that these needs represented opportunities to serve their clients better and position the firm for future growth. In response to what the partners refer to as “crisis-tunities”, the Quantum Law Group changed its business model by expanding into criminal, family and construction law.
The firm developed a comprehensive package comprised of disputes, property and corporate/commercial. Each client is assigned a lawyer who works with each client to provide a “one-stop-shop”. All services are on a fixed fee basis, providing their clients with certainty.
To help determine the direction and roadmap for the firm’s post-pandemic growth, the firm utilises strategic planning frameworks and tools for VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) environments. The Quantum team follows these frameworks by conducting various brainstorming, scenario planning and dynamic road-mapping sessions.
This approach of “listening” to clients and the market and responding in a strategic, client-centric manner is working for the firm, as demonstrated through the 20 awards it has achieved in such a short time. These include 2021 Top Boutique Firm by Australasian Lawyer, 2022 Rising Star and 2022 Excellence Awardee in Technology & Innovation at the Australasian Law Awards.
Accounting firm LMS Advisory has also thrived by taking a strategic and client-centric approach during the pandemic. Founded by Principal and Director Alexander Laureti in 2009, LMS focuses on assisting small and medium service-based companies in professional services, real estate, medical services and construction to build and grow better businesses.
Alexander identifies key strategies that allowed him to grow the business despite the challenges the pandemic created:
Listening to the Market
The firm places great importance on maintaining a current and updated understanding of client needs and the trends occurring in the marketplace. Alexander spends an hour daily reading the local and international news and publications about accounting and the industries which LMS Advisory serves. Weekly team meetings are held on Monday mornings, during which news, events and developments are shared along with feedback team members have regarding clients’ needs. During these team meetings, the mind-mapping tool, Mindmeister, is used to help capture these learnings and help set the firm’s agendas and priorities.
LMS Advisory invests heavily in its people by providing training sessions to educate and empower staff and conducting weekly meetings that allow two-way communication and sharing learnings.
Proactive Client Engagement and Client Responsiveness
LMS Advisory is passionate about providing an exceptional, holistic client experience. It has identified relevant touchpoints in the small business client journey to use as the basis for client dialogue and engagement. The firm meets with clients at least five times per year using the quarterly BAS and Annual tax returns as key touchpoints to ensure a current and in-depth understanding of their clients’ needs and priorities. These discussions are then used as a springboard to address any issues that have arisen.
The firm is also committed to keeping its clients updated and well-informed. It has developed a client communication strategy that includes writing articles sent to clients via mobile phone, email and posted on LinkedIn and Facebook. The firm also tracks the queries raised by clients and has adopted a policy that if the same question is raised by at least three clients, an article is written on that topic.
Articles are also written based on current topical events and forward-thinking topics that the LMS Advisory team has identified of interest to SME business owners.
As LMS Advisory continues its way forward in the “New Norm”, Alexander and his team continue to develop ways to provide clients with strategic guidance and support on the business plans and growth initiatives. Alexander regularly blocks out “Focus Time” in his calendar to work ON the business. Part of this time is spent doing a “deep-dive” on the firm’s client database to better understand their goals, intents and underserved needs.
LMS Advisory’s client-centric focus and dedication have resulted in the firm receiving recognition, such as being named one of the Top 10 Small Business Accounting Firms in Australia for 2022.