This is the first post in my 30 days to a better law firm discussion. I consider this a “discussion” rather than a series because the goal is to address real needs of lawyers and law firms and to be here to help each step of the way. If your goals are to have a practice that is less stressful and more profitable then welcome to day zero of this thirty day challenge. This post should be considered our “pre-game meeting” before tomorrow’s kickoff.
Quite a few people have asked me to recommend good books on how to blog more effectively. One I always suggest is 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse. That book is the compilation of a 31 day blog series that Darren did in 2007. A few attorneys have read the book and requested that I do a similar series geared towards building a better law practice. The steps you and I are going to look at over the next month are things that any attorney could implement. Like anything else in life, however, it’s not that others can’t do these things, they just simply don’t. By deciding you’re going to take the necessary steps to success you can set yourself apart from the majority of attorneys who choose not to take the necessary steps. So let’s make your practice more successful.
It’s time for attorneys to change
I started my firm in August of 2006 and annual revenue was in the seven figures in less than four years. This can be accomplished easily if you stop to consider one thing – the attorney business model makes no sense! Attorneys have been following the same plan since we were citizens of merry ‘ol England. That plan is to spend large amounts of non-billable administrative time generating huge bills even though a significant portion of those bills will go uncollected. Think about that for a moment and one realizes just how inefficient this approach is. In spite of this inefficiency, we’ve kept on truckin’ down this path for centuries. In other words, we still follow the same business model that was invented by this guy:
It’s time for attorneys to change their approach to business and embrace efficiency.
Improved efficiency leads to increased profits in all businesses and the legal industry is no different. We’re going to spend the next 30 days improving efficiency in areas relating to your marketing as well as the day-to-day running of your firm. You and I are going to take a look at how you can increase your revenue while decreasing the marketing dollars you put out to get that revenue. We’ll also look at easy to implement changes that will allow you to bill for a larger percentage of your time (a.k.a reducing administrative time) while collecting everything you bill rather than just a chunk. This is a formula to help you look like this woman:
Making sustainable changes to your law firm
Attorneys are notorious for centering their business around things which aren’t sustainable. For example, many lawyers base their practice on a few particular referral sources. What happens if those referral sources go away? Other lawyers get their business from advertising through Google Adwords. What happens to those attorneys as the cost of Adwords increases? We’re going to focus on building your practice through things that are under your control and not the control of others. This puts the future of your firm in your hands and not the grip of someone else.
Another concept we’ll implement is to get you investing, rather than spending, when it comes to your firm. This is an area where attorneys err in a big way. A great example of attorneys making this mistake is paying for advertising, which may actually result in a profit. The problem with paid advertising, however, is that once you’ve spent that money on an ad then the money is gone once the ad stops running. The money you spent on that ad will never provide you additional return. By investing your dollars in assets you own and control, which can provide your firm an ongoing return, you will see your profit go through the roof. We’ll be implementing an “investing” approach, as opposed to “spending,” over the next month.
Are you ready to make some changes in your practice? The pre-game meeting is now over. Kick-off is tomorrow.