Time is one of the most important assets for a lawyer. Often, business development and marketing can feel like an invasion of this precious asset. How do you build (market) your law practice while serving clients, maintaining continuing education, managing administrative responsibilities and meeting billable hour requirements?
The solution is not to try and find more time in your already too busy schedule for marketing tactics. The answer is to take a strategic approach to your business development activities. This means taking a step back from the day-to-day activity of working in your practice and gain clarity on what you want your practice to look like and why you want it before executing marketing tactics.
Marketing is how you see your practice every day.
The following are the four steps for building a balanced, fulfilling and profitable practice:
- Define your Practice Vision– Know what you want your practice to look like and why this is important.
- Clarify your brand– Understand who are your most desirable clients and referral sources, what differentiates you and why clients benefit from your service.
- Communicate your brand– Articulate what you do, both on-line and off-line, so target clients and referral sources recognize the value of your services.
- Action plan -Conduct weekly activities to reinforce your reputation and visibility among your target market.
Accelerated growth begins with a commitment to your vision—to reach a destination, you must first have one. Keeping your vision in mind will help you to reframe your focus and move beyond your current level of thinking to imagine what is possible for building your practice.
Not surprisingly, the response I receive from many lawyers about creating a vision is unenthusiastic. Many lawyers do not think the exercise of creating a vision is a good use of time or even worse, it is outside of their control. There is also natural pull to react to urgent issues, especially in the legal profession. It takes discipline, awareness and an intentional plan to proactively create a desired practice.
Schedule time in your calendar at least once a year to answer three questions.
- Where am I today? Who are your clients? What services are you providing? What areas do you excel in? What is your revenue/ profitability? What is working for you? What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- Where do I want to be in the next 2-5 years? What do you want? Why do you want it?
- How will I get there? Outline the strategies that you will execute to achieve the practice you want.
Taking consistent action on your action plan can be difficult to sustain. However, knowing what you want and why you want it provides the intrinsic motivation to execute activities that will help achieve the results you desire. Understanding the why behind the what is at the core for any successful behavior.
A recent client commented, “It was not until I made a decision on what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it that it changed the way I approached marketing. Up until that time, I was just doing activity for activity’s sake, and looked at marketing more as an activity on a ‘to-do’ list instead of connecting the activity to an important vision.”
Having a clear vision will help you to proactively grow your practice; it can become a motivating force so powerful that it becomes the compelling reason behind every decision.
For more information on how to take a strategic approach to business development, please schedule an initial consultation with me so I can learn more about your situation, goals and challenges.