Running a law firm – or any business – without a business plan is setting yourself up for disaster. Sure, you might have “always done it that way.” And you might be making money, even without a plan. But operating your law firm without a strategic plan is likely to lead to any or all of these problems… and plenty more that we don’t have time to list in this blog entry:
You’re broke – you are consistently NOT making enough money, so you’re making lifestyle sacrifices.
You’re stuck in a boom or bust cycle. Some months are great, some are terrible. And you don’t feel like you have any control in the matter.
You’re miserable. You’re making money, but only because you are doing work that you hate, or for clients that you hate.
Any of these sound familiar? The good news is that creating a plan for your law firm can change all that. We’ve personally seen hundreds of lawyers create consistently profitable law businesses which allow them to spend their time doing work that they LOVE… or even better, spending their time golfing, traveling, or having fun with their family.
So why doesn’t EVERY owner of a solo or small law firm have a written plan?
Here are three common reasons we’ve encountered. What’s holding you back?
1) Ignorance. No one ever taught us anything about the business of how to manage a small law firm, back in law school.
The people who decide which CLE programs to offer are usually coming from the same school of thought as those who decided to send you out into the world without teaching you about how the heck a law firm actually operates.
“Just be a great lawyer and the magic law firm management elves will absolve you of your responsibilities as a business owner.” This is HORRIBLE business advice and a losing strategy.
2) Embarrassment. Probably 99% of the lawyers you will ever meet at a bar function have no written plan for how their firm is supposed to work.
Do this test and prove it to yourself: Ask the next 100 lawyers you meet, if they can explain to you in plain English how their law firm works. Then decide if that’s a business you’d feel comfortable with one of your own clients investing in.
If you do this test with 10,000 lawyers, as we have, you will prove to yourself that 99% of the small law firms in this Country (and it’s the same in other Countries too) are drifting aimlessly with no strategic direction. But rather than face reality, most lawyers concoct stories about how the business of a law firm is somehow exempt from reality.
As if marketing, sales, staffing, financial controls, budgeting, and cash flow projections apply to every single OTHER kind of business on the Planet…but not law firms!
“We can evade reality but we cannot avoid the consequences of evading reality.” ~ Ayn Rand
Embrace reality… even if that means admitting that you don’t know everything about everything yet!
3) Compromise. At some point, many lawyers just give up. Maybe they didn’t go to law school with the intention of making a million dollars a year. But few people go to law school with the intention of working long hours, missing out on important family activities, doing the work of their own receptionist or secretary and having to scrape by, struggle or compromise on important “stuff” in their life.
Life isn’t all about driving a nice car, living in a beautiful home, taking luxurious vacations, eating at great restaurants, and being able to give your family the finer things in life.
But what if, by taking the time to create a strategic plan for your law firm, you could actually help more clients AND enjoy more material comforts too?
Your law firm needs a business plan. How long will ignorance, embarrassment, or compromise hold you back? Please contact us today to learn more!
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