I just finished analyzing the 2010 financials from over 60 law firms across the country. Most of those law firm submitted financials last year. I’m putting the finishing touches on the spreadsheet all of the Members review together in a closed meeting at every Spring Summit.
Interestingly, there are more law firms with an increase in revenue than law firms where the revenue went down!
I guess the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how many law firms had increased revenue – what we find is that if “your” revenue was down the natural inclination is to figure out how to point to a cause at something—anything—other than what you have control over. The economy and the estate tax law change is a common chorus in that song.
A recent comment about the economy and the tax law change came up from an Academy Peak Performer and our Oklahoma City Member, also a co-founder and co-leader of the Academy Peak Performer group, Larry Parman responded to that Member with the following message.
You’ll love this! I know I did.
From: Larry Parman, Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney, Co-Founder of the Academy Peak Performers Training Program, National Speaker and Book Author
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2011 6:54 PM
First, an observation. As business owners our mission never changes – achieve pre-determined results through the efforts of ourselves and others. Our responsibility is to see outcomes are achieved regardless of what is going on in the economy, new competition, tax law change and so forth. As important, we must acknowledge we have little, if any control, over “outside.” To attribute outcomes to something other than our plans, policies or execution of them can lead to acceptance of mediocrity, and he always travels with his twin, “a reason.” Too often we allow “outside” to own our outcomes.
Second, a recommendation. Declining outcomes should trigger “inside” re-evaluation. When we find ourselves thinking, feeling, believing, that our outcomes are due to the economy or another nefarious outside source, reject that reasoning. Our task remains the same regardless of outside circumstances, namely to set and hit goals.
If a strategy is not effective, for whatever reason, we should think opportunity, immediately dissect our strategies to see if they can withstand marketplace vagaries. Our public seminar strategy shines as example. Those critters are the siren song of the estate planning lawyer’s easy street – seductive, voluptuous… a very attractive creature… quick money from prospects riding by on the Easy Street trolley. As long as they work.
They will decide to take a month or two… god forbid… a year off, sometimes forever. It happens and the Academy is full of Members who have lived to tell the story, myself included.
Once we are clear that we alone create outcomes, the first step is to inoculate against marketplace ebbs and flows. Why would any of us allow our business to be dependent upon one primary lead generation strategy? Too often it happens because adding to reliable revenue streams is hard work. Few are willing.
Perhaps the most challenging thing as a business owner is to abandon long held belief as truth. Why not test our beliefs to see if our business is profitable assuming our beliefs are wrong? The opportunity starts with accurate numbers, problem ID, self-analysis of your chain of lead generation, followed by course correction.
All the items described are an opportunity to revise, enhance and improve for better outcomes. If tax message is not working, change seminar emphasis (our seminars haven’t mentioned much about estate tax for nearly 10 years).
It’s not out there. It’s in here, where opportunity resides.
About the author: Mr. Parman is a frequent guest on the radio and can be seen on television talk shows explaining the importance of proper estate planning. Prosperity Productions selected Mr. Parman is a featured speaker in a nationally-recognized educational video on Living Trusts. He is the author of numerous published articles on financial and estate planning matters and the co-author of two books, Estate Planning Basics: A Crash Course in Safeguarding Your Legacy and Guiding Those Left Behind in Oklahoma: Settling the Affairs of Your Loved Ones.
Mr. Parman is a Member and Fellow of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. He is also a member of the Oklahoma and Missouri Bar Associations, the American Bar Association, and the Oklahoma City Estate Planning Council.
Director of Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd Ste 240
San Diego, CA 92124
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