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You know how when you feel like your back is up against the wall, you sometimes make decisions you’re not 100 percent happy with?
The emotional pressure of a financial situation causes you to take on a client that you know will be a nightmare. Anxiety about an appointment turns into a $20 parking fee you could have avoided by leaving on time. A quick judgment about an employee’s performance presents itself as a heated or bitter reaction … and they walk out on you.
You get the idea.
The question is, in the context of your law firm and business, where do these issues stem from? Emotional decision making happens when you operate without a plan. In business and in life. Wandering aimlessly, with only a faint idea of where you want to be in two, three, five or even 10 years, doesn’t allow your mind to fix on a goal. And without a goal, you can’t make a plan.
What separates the successful from the floundering is a steadfast decision to set a goal and work toward it — tirelessly, day and night. Obstacles appear, successful lawyers keep going. Setbacks happen, they keep going. Milestones are reached … they keep going. Why? Because they know they still have a long road ahead, and that winning the race is about focus and endurance. They are playing for something greater than themselves — goal that almost always improves the lives of everyone around them.
When you create a formal plan for your law firm and life, you take the emotion out of it. You look at cold hard facts, real numbers and, often times, a harsh dose of reality. (That $100K in annual revenue isn’t going to pay a hefty mortgage or college tuition.) Then, hopefully, a spark happens. For the first time, you are able to step away, separate yourself from your feelings and realize what you need to do to make your dreams come true.
For most attorneys, the business planning process is completely foreign. And that’s surprising, considering most lawyers are very logical people, trained to focus on facts and remove the emotional component from a client’s situation so they can help them resolve a pressing legal issue.
The day-to-day grind of running a law firm consumes your every thought. Because … until you have a greater plan and purpose, you have nothing else to focus on.
Emotional decision making is what keeps a law firm in a revenue slump. It’s what creates employee turnover, and what drives our industry’s skyrocketing depression and substance abuse rates.
At How to Manage a Small Law Firm we provide you with an outside Managing Partner, CEO, COO, CFO, or a combination of the preceding. The first order of business is to write your business plan and take you through a 12-week crash course in business acumen. You are immersed in a community of our members — attorneys … just like you. So you can be real, sharing and screaming, “Why is this happening?!” whenever you need to.
It’s OK, they’ve been there.
Everyone has challenges, everyone has curveballs thrown at them, everyone has cash flow issues. But there’s a point when you have to make a decision to change your course and take matters into your own hands. There is no magic bullet CLE program that can teach you these skills in one hour or even one day. That’s a fact. Every successful business owner has had a stable of mentors to turn to, draw support from, and call upon when times got tough.
To build a profitable law firm — one that doesn’t kill your soul in the process — you must remove the emotional component and think like a business owner. The need to focus on metrics, sales and delivery — and finally be honest with yourself about the fees you need to charge — is no longer an option, it’s a requirement. So, here’s how to start building a better tomorrow for yourself, and everyone you care about.
So, here’s how to start building a better tomorrow for yourself, and everyone you care about. Download our free “Business Plan Workbook,” then take a good hard look at where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. Be honest. Don’t adjust numbers to make them feel comfortable or safe. Because at the end of the day you won’t be cheating anyone but yourself. When you’re ready for help or have a question, give us a call and we’ll be here to help.
How to Manage a Small Law Firm has built its business on helping small law firm owners grow their organizations from less than $50,000 a year to millions in annual revenue.
We believe that building a sustainable law firm doesn’t have to result in depression, guilt, or self-sacrifice. Our goal is to see our members making money, of course, but also building happier lives for themselves and their staff. We start with your goals in mind and work backwards to create a plan that works for you.
We are real people with real answers, and if you don’t believe us, just ask our clients. They won’t mind.
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