The strategy and market positioning of a Dutch boutique firm
A small, highly profitable Dutch boutique firm
The firm wa originally been created as a spin-off from a larger Dutch, national law firm with the aim of focusing on high-end, complex, strategic work in the life sciences, pharmaceutical and bio sectors. The founders wanted to create, within the specific sector, a full-service boutique firm and leverage their existing international network and best friend relations.
Due to changes in the regulatory framework, external market developments and an increasing number of established firms investing and building up their capabilities in the sector, the competitive positioning weakened and this which was exacerbated when one of the founding partners left with his team and some important client relationships were lost.
When asked to reformulate the firm’s strategy and establish its actual and current market positioning we combined a highly analytical approach and data analysis with a qualitative evaluation focusing on the personal and professional aspirations and ambitions of its partners; the culture and DNA of the firm, its history and client feedback. We designed structured questionnaires, interviewed partners, clients and peers and then validated the findings and outcomes of our interviews and research in plenary meetings with the partners. We went to great lengths to agree on a common ground at the aspirational level as this was the basis for establishing the organizational maturity of the firm and the competence and capability “gap” between the aspirations of the firm and its market positioning and its current resources, governance model and operational structure.
Once established, we then developed a strategic action plan, identifying detailed execution projects, concrete measures and initiatives.
Once agreed with the partners and in order to make the project into a success we facilitated the final decision-making in the partnership, explained the interaction and connections between projects, advised on trade-offs between initiatives and established clear, strategic priorities providing an overview of the timelines, milestones and deliverables.
The result is a firm that has transformed itself into a multi-niche firm, added competence and capabilities in order to achieve critical mass and increased visibility in its core areas of specialization and decided to focus more on national work instead of chasing international referral work. The firm has, despite a few other founding partners leaving the firm, established a clear focus and added depth and strength in its chosen sectors. It has now repositioned itself as a leading national boutique in the area of life sciences, healthcare, pharmaceutical and bio.