Early September is back to school time. Like so many families this time of year, my husband and I set out to get our kids ready for their first day of school. Part of me was disappointed that summer had flown by so quickly. However, it was definitely a time of excitement for the kids who were looking forward to seeing friends they hadn’t seen all summer, finding out which classes and teachers they would have and more importantly discovering which friends would be in their classes.
Determined to have them well-prepared and organized for the new school year (no small task with 11 and 12 year old boys), we took our annual trek down to Office Depot. We loaded up on paper and pencils, searched for large backpacks and high capacity binders with dividers to keep each subject and its respective, soon-to-be mountain of paperwork orderly. I’m happy to report, with their class schedules in hand, our boys were confident and set for success walking into their first day of school.
Their teachers were equally prepared having the curriculum laid out for the next nine months. Every day was planned and accounted for. They knew precisely which weeks and days would cover what topics. Everyone was organized which allowed them to concentrate on what mattered most – students focusing on teachers, teachers focusing on students.
The start of a new school year and our annual shopping ritual reminded me that a little prep work and organization is exactly what is needed to set law firms up for success each year as well. Before any client meetings or marketing can happen, it is vital to lay out the plan for the year to determine where those much needed appointments will come from. It’s also important to set up systems for organizing and tracking how each effort works and whether to replicate them or eliminate them.
Here are three of my favorite tools that we use with law firms: 1. Marketing Activities Checklist (to identify which activities will generate appointments), 2. Marketing Planning Calendar (to plan when activities will take place each month) and 3. tracking reports inside our database/document creation program (to track what the results and return on investment were).
These helpful tools are great individually, but when used together they create a powerful, well-thought out plan to generate, execute and track each and every activity to help meet the firm’s goals.
Because we recommend planning no less than 3 months out, we have already posted the 2015 Marketing Planning Calendar and Marketing Activities Checklist so firms can get a jump on planning the first few months of next year. If you are an Academy Member, your Practice Building Consultant can send you the link to these downloadable files.
What tools and rituals do you use to help get you organized and ready to tackle your planning each year?
Director of Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555