Rob and Natasha had decided to get together to do some business planning. The “get to know you” drinks event had gone pretty well. Now was the time for some hard headed thinking that could be shared with a fair number of people in both firms who wanted facts and figures to persuade them that a merger made sense. Natasha completely understood this and was envisaging producing at least a twenty page document heavily ladened with spreadsheets. Recently it had dawned on her that she really, really liked spreadsheets. Well surely there were worse guilty pleasures than early Bon Jovi and spreadsheets.
Rob’s instinct was to get people together again and more of them, maybe over a weekend away. He wanted to get them enthused by and signed up to an exciting big picture view of what the new firm could be. He had however sworn to himself not to use the words “mission statement” or “exciting journey”.
“So we obviously need to start with the money” said Natasha confidently. “What have been the partner earnings for the last, let’s start with, three years? What’s your net profit margin? What’s the profitability of each of your teams? What are you paying in property costs?” Rob thought these were all very good sensible questions – and hated hearing them and thinking of the prospect of going through all this. That’s why he left all this to Donald the finance manager – who he, in passing, thought was wildly overpaid for what he did.
“Ok well, we’ve been taking out about 380k each – maybe a bit more” Rob responded.
“Oh” was all that Natasha managed to say out loud. “Effing hell, that dozy, old fashioned, laid back, bunch of public school hoorays are stuffing us by about 100 grand” was the edited version of what flashed through her mind.
Does this level of discrepancy in partner earnings cause a fatal blow to merger hopes?
What do you think "hard headed" business planning is going to involve? Should more people be involved? What other information is going to be important?
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