Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Winter 2018 - Page 14

6 Law Firm Management Fails You Need to Avoid By Stephen Fairley, CEO, Rainmaker Institute survival over the long haul. A solid, well-planned guide keeps you from making serious mistakes that can quickly sink your business. · Provides structure. Creating a solid business plan provides structure and a context for everyday activities, while helping to fit daily activities into the context of a larger, more strategic plan of how you are going to grow your business.  Y ou may have become interested in the law as a noble profession, but to break the seven-figure barrier, you must run your law firm like a business. As the owner of a law firm, your primary focus – after gaining competency as an attorney – is to understand and apply the key principles of business development, operations, management and law firm marketing every single day. No one starts out in business to fail, but fail you will if you don’t recognize that while you may practice law, you run a business. To avoid running it into the ground, there are six law firm management “fails” you need to avoid. 1. Failing to plan.  To start and run any business, you need to focus on the big picture, but you can’t let that blind you to the importance of detailing the steps you need to take to make your firm a success -- especially when it comes to marketing. By having a marketing plan for your law firm, you: · Increases 14 your chances of CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY JOURNAL · Keeps you on track. Staying on track amidst the day-to- day distractions and assessing opportunities to see if they fit with your long-term goals is another way that a comprehensive marketing plan can help you stay on track. · Helps you tally the cost of creating before you start building.    By knowing your financial costs and risks ahead of time, you can more effectively plot your growth strategy and manage your budget.  · Helps you create a vision for the future. In the end, your business will be driven by your vision — and the process of developing that vision is critical to your business success. · Helps you evaluate your success.  It is crucial to set up measurable objectives in advance so you are able to compare your results against those objectives to learn where you succeeded and where you fell short.  If you don’t Winter 2018 know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? · Demonstrates you are committed to your business.  Being committed to growing your business starts with laying a good foundation for that future growth, with clearly delineated steps for those in the organization to follow so they can contribute to your success. 2. Failing to create a team. You know the law, but they didn’t teach you how to run a business in law school. You need to create a team that will make your business successful, bringing the best people onboard in the different disciplines you need for financial management, marketing, sales, etc., and ensuring they succeed by investing in the latest technologies to support their efforts. 3. Failing to take care of business first. Very few attorneys went to school to become a bookkeeper or an accountant, but to manage a growing business you must know how to manage your money. You need to know the basics of finances for small business, from reading a profit and loss statement to analyzing your cash flow. Being an owner means other people are depending on you to manage the money wisely. Too many times lawyers focus solely on their clients without focusing on the bottom line. The result is devastating:  not sending out invoices on time, not raising your rates for years, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys