This is my next post on what it takes to build a million dollar law practice. My last article discussed how lawyers lose money by not looking at the big picture. Too often, attorneys sacrifice hours in the future to save a few minutes today or, worse, they sacrifice dollars in the future to save pennies today. Breaking that habit will go a long way towards helping you grow your enterprise. In this post I’m going to focus on the shift law firms need to make in order to be truly successful – focusing on opportunities rather than obstacles. This is a big one and if you can make this shift you’ll wind up looking like this guy:

Man standing on money

Those who continue to focus on obstacles, by contrast, will continue to look like this guy:

Man counting pennies

I’m going out on a limb that you would prefer to be the former and not the latter. Now let’s get to it.

One big thing that sets millionaire business people, including those who own law firms, apart from the unsuccessful is where one applies their focus. An unsuccessful people would choose to focus on obstacles. Examples of this include thinking things such as “well I would go into this new practice area but there’s so much competition it would be too hard.” Successful attorneys, by contrast, would look for a way that they can distinguish themselves and add value in that new practice area so that they rise above the competition. Let’s use web marketing as an example of how you can focus on opportunities rather than focusing on obstacles.

Attorneys can build their web marketing if they focus on opportunities rather than obstacles

If you follow this blog, or even if you just read my most recent post, then you know that I go on, and on, and on, and on, and…….on about how attorneys should invest in their practice rather than spending money on it. Examples of this include building up your firm’s blog, investing in high quality video, and avoiding pay-per-click advertising, directory listings, etc. Most lawyers I speak with recognize that investment is the right way to go but I tend to hear the following reasons as to why firms don’t actively blog:

  • “I don’t have time”
  • “I don’t have months and months for blog posts to start generating a return”
  • “I don’t know what to write about”

Notice anything about these statements? They’re focusing on obstacles to building a good online presence. In focusing on these obstacles, they are also ignoring an opportunity staring them in the face. That opportunity is the fact that more and more people are finding their attorneys online and the big majority of law firms don’t have a quality web presence (it amazes me how many firms I speak with that still don’t have a website or haven’t updated their existing site since Lincoln was President). There is lots of room to stand out from the crowd.

Successful law firms, by contrast, focus on the opportunities presented by the web. These attorneys take an approach in which they ask “how can I provide value to my potential clients through my firm’s blog?” They then make the time to write a few quality posts a week, because they understand that thinking long-term is the only way to get ahead. They also educate themselves about how to find topics for their law firm’s blog. This last one is huge – there are lots of resources out there in which you can learn about how to do better online, be like successful people and leverage those resources. In a shameless act of self-promotion, here are a few links to help you find topics as to what you should be blogging about and to get clients without increasing your spending on advertising:

Starting to sense a theme? Million dollar law practices take a long-term approach (discussed in my last article) and focus on how they can take advantage of opportunities instead of focusing on the obstacles which make exploiting an opportunity potentially difficult.

Marketing is the not the only opportunity which million dollar law firms focus on

The discussion above focused on marketing but it’s just one example of how million dollar law practices are different from most other law firms. A great example is the area of law one practices. When a successful attorney sees an opportunity to move into a new practice area they say “how can I make myself excel in this area” and move into it. Other firms, however, focus on “but I don’t know anything about that area of law.” The latter is focusing on the obstacles and ignoring the fact that they could attend a CLE and take other steps to learn a new area. There are also opportunities out there in terms of leveraging software in your practice and taking advantage of other innovations which have made firms more efficient. Maggio & Meyer is a great example of one our clients who has decided to shift practice areas to focus on growing opportunity. First that are willing to adapt will succeed.

Want to have a million dollar law firm? Look for opportunities and do what you have to do to take advantage of them. Stop dwelling on obstacles.

Why do you feel so many attorneys take the wrong mindset in this regard. Please chime in through the comment form below.