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This month at Elephant HQ we are talking about business development for law firms. So we’re starting off by answering the questions ‘huh?…What…Why?’ Business development and marketing, it’s all the same isn’t it?


Ok then, so what’s the difference, we hear you cry?

The way we explain it to clients is that business development is making the sale and marketing is ensuring you’ve got the tools to ensure you can do so.

Business development

As a firm you want to keep your current clients happy, that’s a given, and you want to continue your marketing efforts to ensure they return. But more than that, surely you also want new business? And sometimes that means entirely new business opportunities.

This could be opening a new office in the UK, USA or around the world, starting from scratch as a niche or virtual firm, launching a new product or service or simply looking to improve the conversion rate of the work you already do.

Either way it’s business development, and you need a strong BD plan to ensure it will be effective.

Some key points that may sound obvious, but are helpful as a starting point, would be as follows:

Goal setting:

You can’t have a business development plan without a goal, seriously you can’t. It’s more likely to be a set of goals, broken down into monetary goals. Either way it is going to inform point number two.

Research and analysis:

This could involve a number of things; profitability analysis, competitor analysis, researching all new business opportunities and macro-environmental analysis (of external and uncontrollable factors, such as economic factors, legal, political and social conditions as well as sector changes).

Strategic planning:

Have a strong plan (even a mission statement if it is to be a new launch). It’s easy to go off on a tangent of well-intentioned enthusiasm but the more time spent planning the better. And when we say ‘strategic’ planning, we mean aligning the plans to your goals, setting out the process every step of the way. Your plan could involve a whole array of marketing tactics and would be completely budgeted.


The whole process can be lengthy and Elephant Creative can offer support, or take the process out of your hands. Our legal marketing experts are able to offer a range of services, including our Marketing and Business development audit or our Business Development Feasibility study. Contact us for more details.


Next week we’ll be posting some great examples of business development projects carried out by UK and global law firms. Great inspiration if you are looking at business development projects for your firm. So keep an eye out!