A tidal wave of business sales is building as baby boomers, ages 52 to 70 enter the twilight of their careers. Follow on the recession many established firms closed while others could only stand by and watch the value of their businesses decline. While many professional service firms have recovered a majority of their pre-recession values, boomers still face a difficult decision of when to sell and the more haunting question of to whom? Boomers have made themselves indespensable especially as rainmakers in many service firms. Having limited numbers of individuals who can generate significant revenue for a firm can have a huge impact on both the long term sustainability of a practice, valuation of a company and ability of a business owner to reap the rewards from their life's efforts. In order to exit and profit from the success of their work endeavors, aging rainmakers must help their successors gain market credibility, comfort and success at business development.
Success at business development for professionals however takes time and requires a consistent effort, something often difficult to accomplish with project delivery pressures. A five to ten year time period is often required to establish a market presence and to generate sufficient revenue to sustain a limited size team. To promote growth from within a firm, Harding & Company has worked with owners to help younger professionals move from outside of rainmaker shadows by:
- Increasing a successor's market visibility
- Transferring client relationships slowly over time
- Making introductions among market contacts
- Supporting them in publishing technical articles and presenting at conferences
- Positioning them to lead significant projects
- Mentoring them on business development approaches and techniques.