Professional Services & Broking covers a wide range of activities, and is an area where the UK, and London particularly, punches well above its weight on a global scale.
Larger sectors include Legal, Accounting, Management Consulting and Property Advisory. Within these sectors a number of business models typically co-exist.
Successful SME players are usually specialists in an end industry segment or functional area, often with a geographical angle. The most profitable typically are highly focused, achieving economies of scale, and generate efficiencies through use of technology. Examples of clients we have worked with include Equilaw, a specialist equity release legal advisor, and Accordance, a specialist VAT advisor.
Staffing models are typically based on full-time employees, however contractors are often used as well. This is either a core part of the proposition (e.g. in legal services - Keystone Law or Lawyers on Demand, or in management consulting - Eden McCallum) or used on an ad hoc basis to meet spikes in demand (e.g. in many management consulting firms). Significant effort is frequently extended in employee branding and training, as talent acquisition & retention is usually a key differentiator.
Charging is usually undertaken either on a time basis (per hour or on a day rate), or on a fixed price basis for a defined scope of work. Managed services contracts also exist, where less strategic work is outsourced, often combined with a technology solution and offshoring. Historically, areas such as payroll have seen levels of up to 50% being outsourced on a managed services contract, but other markets such as in legal services and regulation & compliance are also developing in this area.
Technology is important, particularly in improving process flows and ensuring that triage of projects to appropriately skilled individuals occurs in the most economic location.
In broking businesses, over the last decade many markets have explored moves from face-to-face or phone to online. Where products or services are low value and homogenous this this has been reasonably successful (e.g. travel advice on business class point-to-point air booking). However, in areas of greater complexity (e.g. higher value private jet charter), online traction has developed much more slowly. Some markets have moved online in consumer (e.g. energy price comparison), but have moved more much more slowly in SME markets.
If you are an owner or investor considering how best to maximise the value of your Professional Services & Broking business, Fairgrove has broad experience in this sector and would welcome the opportunity to work with you.
Our experience spans a number of sub-sectors:
- Professional Services
- Data Analytics (e.g. Weather, Geo-Spatial Data)
- Debt Recovery
- Digital Agencies (e.g. SEO, Creative Content, Digital PR)
- Domestic and International Payroll Services (inc. MCPO & EOR)
- Managed Print Services and Hybrid Mail
- Management Consultancy (e.g. Transformation Consulting, Project Management)
- Market Research Agencies
- Interim Legal Support
- Legal Specialists (e.g. Equity Release, Divorce, Conveyancing)
- VAT Consulting
- Air Charter / ACMI leasing
- Energy Broking
- SME Lending
“Fairgrove’s report demonstrated a real understanding of the operational metrics that determine how successful search firms achieve superior returns to more commoditized players”
Co-CEO, Executive Search Firm
“We found Fairgrove easy to work with, and their analysis of the growth opportunities in our business was extremely helpful”
CEO, Media Group
“Fairgrove got rapidly up to speed with the specifics of the market niche we operate in. Their analyses provided us with timely and concise conclusions on its position in the market, and gave us a wealth of insight to confirm our investment hypothesis”
Director, Mid-Market PE Firm