Here’s more in this series
Here are your next 10 tips for creating a successful practice:
11. Set your watch early.
Manage your image and always arrive at meetings on time. It demonstrates that you are in control and the people you are meeting with matter to you. Anything less sells yourself short and is damaging to your reputation.
12. Light the way.
Shed some light on what’s going on in the inner sanctum of the firm. Share news with your team and keep them informed so that they can work with you effectively. Successful companies involve and inform their employees in the direction of the business, when there’s something to celebrate, or when it’s time to hunker down and brace for change. You are not cultivating mushrooms.
13. Black is back.
Stay out of the red and think black. Always have the bottom line in mind for your individual practice and the whole firm. What does your practice cost and what are you bringing in? Do you have a sound business case for the next big expenditure? How can you redirect costs to increase your return on the investment? Think like a business.
14. Take the shot.
Wayne Greztky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take”. Get in touch with your best clients and ask them for an update on their business. If you don’t ask for the work or how you can help them reach their goals, you’re missing easy opportunities to attract work or keep clients close.
15. Step into the light.
Now is not the time to blend in. Understand what sets you apart and why clients choose you over everyone else. What are your strengths? How do others perceive as you? Prepare to get behind a plan that communicates these unique qualities. Get in front of your practice group, firm, or your clients’ industry in a manner that positions you as an effective expert.
16. Turn the tables.
Ask staff for their opinions for improvement. Provide them with a safe and encouraging atmosphere to express their thoughts. Tap into your budding entrepreneurs and they will bring value to your firm. They will also appreciate your interest in their opinions. Listen. Act. Reward.
17. Say “thank you”.
With each new piece of business, someone is choosing you over many other lawyers. The simple and humble gesture of acknowledging that you’re not taking a client’s work for granted will help to build strong relationships with existing (and new) clients.
18. Pass it on.
Whenever you plan to meet a client, whether for a social or business occasion, consider inviting a more junior lawyer to attend with you. Mentoring of your professionals is a critical long term business strategy that benefits your lawyers and clients. Ask the client first, assure them of your confidentiality policy and never bill for the junior’s time unless legitimate work is done and preapproved.
19. Show ‘em a little love.
Make a list of your most important referral sources and clients. Plan to make a big fuss over them once or twice a year. Invite them as a group to a private, well-planned, dinner they won’t want to miss, send them a very special or unique gift, or arrange to an opportunity for them to meet a VIP. Help them feel the love.
20. All this and a free set of knives!
Throw in a freebie for your best clients once in a while. It will be so unexpected that your client will be delighted. Ask if their will is up to date, offer to do their conveyance or enlist your librarian or marketing professional to help with a special project — all non-billable, of course.