Working On Your Business (Part VIII)
Working ON Your Business (Not IN It)
Building A Legal Practice Designed To Last, Part VIII
Building a legal practice designed to last is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. We may think of building a business as the events and planning that occurs around the time that we file a corporation and then from that point its all about production in the business. Having a good starting point to your business, a good cornerstone to building your business’ foundation, is vital to a business’ longevity and bottom line.
Take Time to Work on Your Business
In his book The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It, author Michael Gerber reiterates page after page the importance of spending time working on your business and not in it. Working in your business is what a technician does. Working on your business is what an entrepreneur does. Law school trains attorneys to be technicians, and for most of us operating solo and small firms, we are spending the vast majority of our time doing technical work, practicing law.
What Should You Look to Improve
While technical work is important, the success of our business depends on the time we spend thinking about our business and improving it. It is vital to spend time regularly thinking about and improving and/or revising:
- The mission of your business
- Your business strategy
- Your marketing strategy
- How you can improve the services you offer
- How you can improve your client’s experience in using your services
- How can you deliver services faster
- How can you give your client more information to make important decision
- How can you improve your legal skills and knowledge so that you can better serve your clients
- How can you improve the knowledge of your staff so they can help clients more effectively
- How can you improve client communication
- How can you improve the client experience at your office
- How can you incentivize your team to produce better results for your clients and for the business
- How can you better reward team members for their insights and work ethic
These are just a small number of considerations that should be regularly revisited for the purpose of improving your law firm. The time spent working on your business includes the time that you spend improving your business acumen by reading business and marketing books, attending conferences, and watching educational videos. To work on your business you have to be a businessman and that means being a student of business.
Taking Time to Work on Your Business: Pencil It In
Working on your business is hard. Attorneys in some form or another are selling their time to the client and so any time not spent working on a client’s case can appear to be wasteful. This is a terrible misconception. There is no greater use of your time then spending time to work on your business.
Working on your business involves planning. If you do not set aside time on your schedule regularly to work on your business, then you will not work on your business. The hours spent being an entrepreneur should take priority when it comes to scheduling your time. Fill in your schedule with those hours first.
While the exact time that should be spent working on your firm is going to differ based on any number of factors, 15 minutes a week is not going to cut it. Don’t schedule time to work on your business at moments when you expect to get interrupted or as the last part of your day (so that it will be easier to bump).
Work on your business in a space that is free from interruption and distraction.
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