I hope you took time over the last few weeks to think about how 2019 went for you and your practice, and especially about what you’d like to do differently in 2020. Change requires action, but unconsidered action relies too heavily on luck. That’s why planning is a must.
Have you ever been so eager to get somewhere that you just jump into the car and strike out, thinking that you’ll get your bearing and figure out the directions as you travel? A few years ago, I was speaking in Knoxville, Tennessee. My host drove with me from the hotel to the restaurant where I was speaking, and I was to drive back to my hotel alone. I wasn’t familiar with Knoxville, and it took me more than an hour to get back to my hotel — a trip that should have taken only 20 minutes. I needed a “You Are Here” indicator, which prompted me to get a GPS unit soon afterward.
This same principle applies when it comes to business. If you don’t know where you are now, you’ll find it hard to take meaningful action.
Take these steps for a quick review:
- Complete the Law Practice Profitability Audit. This assessment will show you exactly where you’re succeeding and falling short in your business development efforts and how to move forward.
- What was your 2019 practice revenue? How much did you bill, and how much did you collect? (If a larger firm associate, how much time did you bill and how much time did a supervising partner write off?)
- How did you get those clients? Specifically, what was most successful? What was least successful? (If a larger firm associate, consider assigning lawyers to be your internal clients.)
- What specifically do you do to serve your clients well? What could you do better? (For extra insight, ask your clients!)
- Who contributed to your success? How have you acknowledged those people?
- What mistakes did you make, and how might you avoid them in the future?
- How did you invest in growing your practice?
While a full review will include additional questions, this short form will give you the foundational information you need to move forward in 2020. Don’t skip this step.