Lucy is a Doberman puppy with her own Instagram account. She insisted on starting one.

It’s been more than a decade since our last four-footed friend Gracie the Dalmatian left us. As a dog mom, I’ve had to get up to speed on an array of new products, companies and services. With everything from locating the just-right chewable puzzle toys to finding the right vet, I’ve been thinking about how the pet care industry is adapting to the recession.

In many cases, the adaptations will need to be the same for professional services.

  1. Review your strategy and mix of practices. While you may have several practices that have excelled in the past, look at each to ensure that it is ready to face a potential economic downturn. Ask each practice leader, will our clients need different services to help them weather the future? Will the same demand be there for these areas, and what possible new practices should be considered to help fulfill the needs of existing clients?  Only once you’ve answered these should you turn to drive to acquire brand-new clients.
  2. Collaborate with your partners and staff. If you’ve not read Heidi K. Gardner and Ivan Matviak‘s new book “Smarter Collaboration,” get a copy. To get better and more creative solutions and insight into your business, collaboration is a must. Bring your staff into your “Only Partner” meetings and make sure your inputs into decision-making are diverse. Utilize the best technology to bring together various data points from finance, marketing and your practitioners to create a fulsome picture of what your clients need.

  3. Collaborate with your clients. Meet with your clients regularly, even between engagements. It’s imperative to know their concerns and the environment they are facing and find ways to help them. Even if these are not ways that will turn an immediate profit.
  4. Invest in consistently training your leadership, your professionals and your staff: Retention will remain a hot issue for all professional firms. Training is just one of the elements that will make a difference. In addition, you’ll gain increased loyalty, a better culture and a growing skill set upon which to draw.
  5. Double down on content that reinforces your practice. Make sure you have a clear idea of the particular areas where you want to be known and how you differentiate yourself from the pack. Whether you produce webinars, surveys, articles or infographics, make sure that you have a solid and consistent message and are reaching the correct audiences.

As for life with Lucy, I am learning which products I like best, those companies that are most reliable and which vets will respond to my calls quickly with the right information. While most of our clients will not have the pointy ears of a Doberman (unless they are Vulcan), each one will be unique and each one will be facing the changing times.

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