We talk to hundreds of attorneys, some of which are able to take their practices to the next level. They increase their freedom in terms of time and money by growing their practice.
On the other hand, there are a lot of attorneys that stagnate. They get stuck somewhere along the way and they don’t grow.
There’s a synthesis of attributes we see in practices that grow and blockers that get in the way of practices that stagnate.
In this post, I want to outline a few of the biggest roadblocks that hold your most law practices back. Use this model to identify and address them to grow like many of the attorneys we work with in our programs.
I call this the B.A.R.E. model — the bare essentials to growing your practice.
The first thing that any attorney who is growing their practice needs is belief.
It may sound overly simple, but you have to believe that your practice can be better.
For a lot of attorneys that see others becoming successful, they don’t believe that it’s possible for them. They think, “Well, that person’s situation is completely different than mine.”
They don’t understand that there’s nothing unique about that attorney. It’s about the process that they use to get from where they were to where they want to be.
The first step, then, is believing that a different outcome is possible. If you don’t believe that a different outcome is possible then you’ll never grow.
The next step is what a lot of attorneys get hung up on.
We need to believe that change is possible, and then take action. We need to actually do something about our belief.
After we take action, we need to get a result. This can also be a place where attorneys get hung up.
Some folks take action - maybe just once - and they don’t see the result or don’t know how to look for the result, so they give up on growth.
The successful attorney, though, knows how to find the result and move on to evaluation.
Once we’ve achieved a result (good or bad), we can evaluate what’s working, what’s not working, and how we can improve next time.
That increases our belief, and the cycle towards growth repeats, getting us closer to where we want our practice to be.
This may seem a little “airy-fairy”, but it’s the cycle that the successful attorneys we work with go through over and over again.
Maybe you’re in a place where you believe that real growth is possible but you’re not sure what to do. Or, maybe you’ve taken action in the past— you’ve taken on some marketing yourself or hired someone to do it for you — but it hasn’t produced the result you wanted.
Maybe you saw the initial result but you didn’t think critically about how to improve in the future.
Any time you get stuck, you fail lock into the cycle. Usually, it’s a result of some common blockers that we call the, The Four Cs.
Many attorneys aren’t confident that if they take action something will be different. Or, they believe that taking action could possibly lead to better results, but they lack the self-confidence to take action.
Once an attorney gets over this mental hurdle, they can move on and lock into the cycle. It’s only a first step, but it’s a big one for many of us.
Confidence comes in several forms. Many of us have extreme confidence in our ability to practice law, but lack the confidence in our ability to run and grow a business.
When we learn the right methods and processes for running the business, our confidence grows tremendously.
Some of us become confident enough to take action, but we only take action towards growth once. This is a very common mistake.
With any kind of business growth, you can’t just do something one time and expect to succeed. Some attorneys say, “I tried marketing once and it didn’t work.”
The problem is that they don’t try again.
We have attorneys tell us about an action they tried in the past that didn’t work, and they’re ready to give up on growth. True, it may not have worked in that given situation at that given time, but that doesn’t make it a total failure.
They just lacked a template for how to make the action effective.
After you’ve taken action with some consistency, you need be able to understand the result you’ve achieved.
Let’s say you’ve taken action with your marketing. You’ve tried several different strategies and you’re finally starting to see a result. You need to interpret that result correctly by placing it in the context of the situation you’re in.
Without context, results are useless in judging the success or failure of an action.
If we’re able to put our results into context and get useful data, we then need to turn that data into knowledge. This requires clarity.
If we can’t evaluate our results clearly, it’s impossible to see how our actions and results fit into the big picture of our firm. Without clarity, we can’t transform knowledge into the belief that we can grow.
I want you to think about how this cycle applies to the growth of your practice.
Are there areas of your practice that you don’t believe can grow? Is it because of a lack of confidence?
You’re a smart person. You passed the bar exam and you’re licensed to practice. There’s nothing that another attorney is doing that you can’t do as well.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you know what actions you need to take to grow?
- Are you consistent with taking action?
- Did you get results?
- Have you analyzed those results in context?
- Did you evaluate those results and get clarity on how they fit into your strategic objectives?
You can apply this model to marketing, client satisfaction, financial management, and every other area of your practice you wish to grow.
Think through whether or not this has been hampering your practice growth. If any of these things are blocking you, schedule a quick call with our Practice Growth Team.
In 10 minutes, we can tell you if or how we can help you, and identify where your growth is becoming stuck.