Yes, there are many reasons why a business may fail. However, after more than 25 years coaching law firms around the nation, we can pretty confidently narrow it down to three main reasons we see law firms fail.
Here’s the good news: all three of these pitfalls are entirely in your control and can be corrected with some diligent effort and planning. Read on for a few top tips for identifying and correcting these issues before they cause irreparable problems in your firm.
1. Time Management.
This is quite possibly the biggest complaint we hear from law firm owners and team members: “We just don’t have enough time.” If you’re hearing this lament from your team regularly, or find yourself thinking the same, stop the presses. If lack of time (or perceived lack of time) is the elephant in the way of success in your firm, re-evaluate the following:
- Seats on the bus. Is everyone in the firm in the right role? If not, you’ll notice a lack of productivity from those team members not working in the roles they should be.
- Workflow. Do you notice work getting stuck in the same place over and over again? Time to look at your workflow systems to see what changes need to be made to ensure work keeps moving and is completed on time.
- Interruptions and distractions. The biggest thief of your time is most likely “do you have a minute?” meetings. Identifying when those meetings creep up and take up more time than scheduled activities is critical to protecting your time and correcting behaviors of interruptions and distractions to the work you need to accomplish on a daily basis.
This one is simple. If you don’t have systems in your firm for everything from hiring to marketing, workflow, client communication, and more, you are guaranteed to waste time doing the same things over and over again, training and retraining, and reinventing the wheel. As a rule of thumb, if you do something in your firm more than twice, you need a system in place for it to ensure it is done the same way every time, offering the same 5-star experience to your clients every time, and operating in a predictable way for your team.
3. Strategic Planning.
From a planning perspective, if you want to grow your business in a measurable way, a comprehensive strategy must be your starting point. Long-term success starts with proper planning which provides clear direction for you and your team. Without it, you’ll find yourself making last-minute decisions to attempt to bring in emergency revenue, and your firm will experience small, inconsistent growth which will inevitably fizzle out over time.
Create a plan, revisit that plan regularly, set new goals at least annually, and let those goals be the guiding principles for your firm.
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128