The Coach: Where to start with practice management, part one I Gary Mitchell
(October 5, 2021, 8:30 AM EDT) — One of the most common challenges I witness my clients deal with is that they never seem to have the time, or find the time, to properly devote to business development and marketing to grow their practice or firm. So, I start my coaching program by looking at their practice management skills to find ways to improve them, and in turn, find the time for business development and marketing.
It’s about becoming more efficient, more productive and more focused. This will save you time and lessen your stress. And when you save time, you find more time to focus on your marketing and business development efforts to grow your practice or firm.
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In my latest column on The Lawyer Daily, I review some of the things that have changed for us and some of the things we can expect moving forward.
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Do you ever wonder how you can become more profitable? My most recent column on The Lawyers Daily addresses how you can.
I am a fan of keeping a running ‘to-do’ list updated each day. Not only do I use it myself, I suggest this to all of my clients. Things will come at you from all directions, that is a given. But if you start with a plan for your day, when you are sidetracked, you have something to go back to so you can get focused again.
Start with ‘Must do’ items. These are your top priorities and likely based on client needs. Then look at ‘Should do’ tasks. And finally, ‘Like to do’. They may change throughout your day, but this will help you keep pace with your ever-changing demands.
Each night before you leave the office, review your day, and plan ahead for tomorrow. Think about coming into the office the next morning fresh, with a plan, and ready to hit the ground running.
Practice this. Over time it will become 2nd nature to you and alleviate a great deal of your day-to-day stress.
Another thing. When and where possible, get the mundane tasks (the ones you continually procrastinate about), out-of-the-way first. This will give you a great sense of accomplishment and free your mind up for the more important tasks you face. You know what these tasks are: recording your time, and small admin things that pile up. They won’t go away, so you might as well tackle them first and then move on to the work that you enjoy.
Would you sub in for a neurosurgeon friend who’s off on sick leave? How about take a tooth out for a neighbor? I hope not. That would be as silly. That would be like one of them walking into court and representing one of your clients. Or drafting a make or break M&A deal.
To put it another way, when your car breaks down, who do you go to? When your sink is clogged and you’ve tried to fix it on your own, but it’s not working, who do you call? Who do you go to when you’re not feeling well?
So why do you try to be the HR, marketing professional, office manager, IT or lawyer coach? Do you really think you are the best person you know to take care of these areas? And even if you are, where’s the time to be the lawyer? You are a lawyer right? That’s what you went to school for all those years for, and invested in your education, right?
One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that you think you are ‘saving’ money by doing it all. Actually, if you look at the time you spend doing anything but the legal work, mentoring your staff on the legal work, or bringing more work in, and the difference in cost if you delegated anyone of these tasks to a professional in that area, you will find you are losing money, and losing BIG TIME.
My point here is why are you trying to do everything yourself? Why not focus on being the best lawyer you can be and then build a team around you to take care of everything else. Just a suggestion.
Oh and by the way, none of us can do it all on our own. We all need help.