Check your ego at the door before reading this post. (Disclaimer) My clients do NOT fall into this trap.
Why is it that you try to be all things? Why not focus on your strengths? Be the best lawyer you can be and then surround yourself with a team of professionals that will help you reach your goals faster then if you try to do it all on your own?
In the 15 and more years I have been coaching lawyers, I run into this all the time during a consultation. You are building your own website. You are taking on tasks that can easily and more efficiently be delegated to another professional at a fraction of the cost to you, while freeing up more of your time for billables and getting more clients.
Frankly I am still surprised at how many people fall into this trap. It’s simple math really. Take your hourly rate and minus what you would pay a paralegal, or assistant, or IT professional. Guess what? That’s money (profits) you are leaving on the table. And if your not stealing time away from billable work to complete these tasks, you’re stealing it away from business development, growth and profitability.
How about for one day you be the lawyer, that’s it. Just be the lawyer.
Do you ever wonder how you can become more profitable? My most recent column on The Lawyers Daily addresses how you can.
Measure everything. Everything!
KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). What are they? The name pretty much speaks for itself. What are they for you? How do you use them to help you grow and become more profitable?
Consider these as some starting points in figuring out your KPI’s: Individual performance, team performance, performance improvement, (especially after a staff review or implementing a new system or policy), productivity, profitability of files, profitability of each practice area, hours spent generating the work, vs. revenues generated, your time invested, your people’s time invested, basically any and all investments you make in growing your firm.
How else will you know if what you are doing is working?
Then…If it’s working, first, understand why? Then do more of it and look for similar strategies.
If it’s not working, again, understand why? Then stop it immediately and anything else like it. Take the time and money from the under performing areas and re-allocate it to the areas that are working.
Growing your firm is not simply about getting more clients. It’s also about getting your marketing and business development strategies right-with pin-point accuracy.
Whether you are growing beyond solo practice to creating a firm, a partner growing your team, or a managing partner growing your firm, this simple formula can help you navigate the way forward with respect to growth and staffing.
It’s far too common for lawyers to wait until they are at maximum capacity and beyond to bring in help. Managing growth is a good problem to have, however, it does pose new challenges.
So here it is. When you are at about 60% capacity, start looking to recruit. That gives you the luxury of time to find the right people. You can be selective and not panic. You can take your time to find the right people and fit. And, that way, by the time you are at 80% capacity, you will still have time to groom, mentor, train, and get your people up to speed before you hit your wall.
If you wait until later, you may, as is often the case, find yourself in a never-ending cycle of chicken and egg. Where is the time to train? Who do you bring on? “Oh, I might as well just do it myself-even though that means long nights and weekends.” Think forward. don’t get caught thinking I can’t afford to bring someone in right now. Can you afford not to?
Sure, there are many other factors here: Letting go of the reigns, quality control, consistency, profitability. But they are all better managed when you are proactive and plan ahead. Think forward!
I’ve always maintained that in business there are two New Year’s. January of course and September.
The kids are back to school, vacations are over, the days are getting shorter and there is a feeling of starting new. There is also the feeling that we are entering the later part of the year, and next year is right around the corner.
It’s time to focus on ending this year well and preparing for 2019. Have you got your plan? Have you set your goals? It’s never too early to start planning ahead to January; events, speaking, client lunches, and conferences, etc.
It’s a short week following Labour Day, but it’s important to set the stage for the remaining last months of this year. End it well and launch your career and business into the new year. I wish you well.