May 31, 2018 10:02 am
Have you ever dreamed of running a legal business that is predictive, runs consistently and generates revenues each and every day whether you are working or not? May sound like wishful thinking – predictive and consistent are not the attributes that you readily associate with business of law firms, business of billable hours, heavy overhead and unpredictable clientele. But it is possible to make this dream come true.
At present, law firm is an expert-dependent business where you are selling the most limited resource you have, your time. The smaller the law firm the more likely you as a business owner have a job rather than a business. If you calculate the time you use in practicing law compared to the work you use in running your business, the ratio can be revealing. When you do all legal work manually and personally it can sometimes even feel that your business controls you even though you want to control your business.
Traditionally, scaling of legal work into business has meant that you hire more people. More people, more time, more clients to serve. Most probably also much more of your own time. In this business model, results are not consistent and business is neither predictive nor scalable – each penny you make requires a person to do the work and quality of the results is highly dependent on the skills, attitude or even energy level of people doing the work. In this business model, you work in not on your business.
So how do you change this? How do you develop a scalable business out of your legal work?
First, you need to shift your focus to business from your daily work. When you are head over heels swamped in taking care of your assignments, researching, drafting, negotiating, litigating, it is easy to blame the fully booked calendar and hurry for not being able to change. However, minding the entrepreneur and business owner in you enables you to look the bigger picture and see the possibilities of changing the way you do things. And by changing the way you do your business actually changes your business.
Second, you need technology. You need to implement technology through which your work can be leveraged to get results, serve clients and make business. You can make your business dependent on technology rather than being dependent on people.
People bring technology to life
This is not to say that people are not important. On the contrary, people bring technology to life. People design and develop technology, people create meaningful and professional content to be provided by technology and people use technology. Technology is a necessary vehicle but it is not replacing people and it is not replacing you.
You might say that clients want personal service, even that they want you to serve them personally. However, if you would ask from your client what he or she is buying, what is his or her need, the desired end result, it is a pretty good guess that the client would rather do without spending time with you (as nice as it may be, especially if you offer good coffee) as long as the need is solved. From business point of view, it is worthwhile to think how you can give your clients the results systematically and efficiently rather than personally. Technology enables you to get the work done and allows you to differentiate your business from competitors by adding personality and meaningful encounters to the impeccable results.
You have nailed legal practice and now it is time to nail legal business as well. You don’t need to be perfect from the day one, the most important is to start. Today.
This blog post is inspired by the book: “The E Myth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber