The SMP Productivity Showcase series aims to share the productivity stories of our small and medium practitioners (SMPs) as they seek growth amidst a challenging business and economic climate.
In this final instalment, ISCA is pleased to share with you the story of Mr Eric Eio, partner of paul Hype Page & Co and Mr helmi Talib, Managing partner of Helmi Talib & Co. They will respectively share with you their individual journeys in branching out into advisory services and leveraging marketing and branding solutions to grow their businesses.
We spoke with Mr Helmi Talib to bring you some insights on how he tapped on marketing and branding solutions to help expand his firm.
1) How did you find out about SPRING Singapore's Business Advisory Programme (BAP)?
We first got to know about SPRING Singapore’s Business Advisory Programme (BAP) during a Marketing & Branding Seminar titled, “Marketing & Branding for Growth of Professional Services Firms”, organised by ISCA in March 2013. We also signed up for the complimentary 30 minute 1-on-1, business clinic conducted jointly with SPRING Singapore where we were also introduced to our current Business Advisor (BA), Ms Chan Wai Yee.
2) What were some of the marketing and branding challenges/issues faced by your firm and how has being on BAP helped your firm overcome those challenges?
We identified three main areas of weaknesses which we needed to address.
Firstly, we needed to grow our client base beyond referrals which made up nearly 70% of our business. Secondly, there is a need to address the lack of regular and systematic communication with key customers. Lastly, we need to tackle the problem of not having a consolidated source of client data across our various departments.
Through the BAP, we implemented a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system which helped us consolidate our entire client database, giving us a better overview of our clients’ profile in terms of their industries and the number of services engaged. This enabled us to reach out to more clients at an earlier stage and cross-sell more of our services.
Additionally, with the help of the Business Advisor, we also designed a system of client follow-up sessions and interviews, which are conducted by trained Client Relation personnel, to ascertain our clients’ satisfaction levels.
3) What are some of the benefits you have experienced after being on the BAP?
At the start of the BAP, we had targeted for a 15% growth in business value and was pleased to achieve a 21% value-add at the end of the programme.
We also saw a 46% increase in the total number of clients acquired as well as a three-fold increase in the number of clients who engage more than one service with Helmi Talib & Co.
4) What are the top three marketing and branding lessons you have learnt and would like to share with other SMPs?
The top three marketing and branding lessons we have learnt would be:
Proper market segmentation is essential to identifying where key clients are.
It is important to ensure consistency in how our firm and our services are presented at different touch points so that our brand identity comes across clearly.
It is crucial to involve the entire firm in the marketing and branding process as it is a firm-wide effort.
5) Would you consider joining and encouraging other SMPs to sign up for other ISCA initiatives to boost their productivity?
An additional initiative we have discovered through ISCA, besides the BAP, is SPRING Singapore’s Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) Productivity Diagnosis and Management Programme. Both programme helped us to understand how our business would benefit from marketing and branding efforts as well as benchmark our productivity efforts to firms of similar size. We have since noticed a 17% increase in our productivity per staff on top of the 21% growth in business value and 46% growth in client base.
Currently, we are in our second phase of the BAP and have also embarked on the ISCA CIP Process Manual (CIP-PM) project, supported by SPRING Singapore, as well as the ICV Human Resource (ICV-HR) scheme, which will provide consultancy and guidance on issues such as manpower planning, recruitment & selection, compensation & benefits and performance and career management.
We strongly recommend that other firms find out more and participate in such initiatives to reap the benefits made available to them.
Thank you Mr Helmi for taking the time to share your story with us!