A retainer agreement is a long-term contract to secure my services as a consultant in advance to help you achieve your business objectives.
The scope of this relationship depends on your requirements and objectives, before entering into a retainer agreement, we need to discuss your goals, see if we’re a good fit for each other, and define the scope of the services required.
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The Retainer Process
How it works
1. Scope Development
This is where I learn about your business and goals. Before entering into a retainer agreement, both parties (me and you) need to:
- Define desired outcomes and objectives.
- Establish a clearly defined scope.
- Roles and responsibilities for both parties.
- Outline what is and what is not as part of the retainer agreement.
- Specify deliverables, schedules, and reporting methods.
2. Research & Internal Audit
Before developing a plan to reach point B, I first need to understand where point A is. I conduct an internal audit and review of your current performance levels; depending on the scope and goals, this can be done through:
- Interviews and discussions;
- Reviewing sales records;
- Website and marketing collaterals;
- Financial history;
- Or any other documentation that is relevant to the project and your goals.
3. Action Planning
An implementation plan is developed to document the steps required to achieve your objective and track your progress along the way. This can change depending on the nature of your requirements, but usually includes:
- Strategy development
- Milestones and timelines
- KPI development
- Performance monitoring methods
- Reporting formats
4. Reporting & Performance Review
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. At this stage, we monitor the implementation of the plan set at the previous stage and cross-check actual results with milestones and timelines. This includes:
- Deliver Monthly performance and progress report
- Monthly/weekly calls (or meetings) with the management team
- Review progress against milestones and timelines
- Measure actual performance vs projections
- Understand underlying cause if gaps exist
- Make recommendation on next steps based on progress
- Advise on current issues related to the scope
5. Retainer Review
A review of the relationship, results achieved, and scope is conducted usually near the end of the retainer agreement period (or, if needed, during the agreement period) to make sure all parties are happy with the outcome and progress.
Should we agree to renew, extend, or modify the agreement, we will review the current agreement and revise the scope or terms if adjustments are needed going further.
Project vs Retainer, Which One is Right for Me?
Depending on your needs, retainers are not always the right choice for you. Especially for new clients, I advise you to start with a short-term project to initiate the relationship. This will give both parties time to get to know each other, see if we’re a good fit, and then evaluate the potential for a long-term agreement.
Think of it as a relationship, you don’t want me (or you) proposing on the first date. In addition, retainer agreements work best when a steady, predictable relationship makes sense for both parties.
An example scenario would be you approaching me because you need a specific service, say you need a business plan and you hire me to develop one for you. You’re happy with the quality of my service and decide to work with me on executing this business plan to make sure the milestones and goals are reached as planned. This is a long-term commitment where a retainer agreement makes sense.
You can check my services page to have an idea of what I can do for you, a good starting point to work together include: