Many attorneys don’t think about their firm as a real business. Instead, they equate their firm with themselves.
Once you conceptually separate yourself from your business and understand that you are not your business, a lot of great things can happen.
That’s where practice growth takes place.
In this post, I'm going to show you The Practice Growth model. It's a way of thinking about the particular elements that must be in place in order to grow your firm into a thriving practice. I've broken it down into the 3 P's:
The first ‘P’ is what most folks think about when they imagine a law firm. They just think about the Practice. They think about practicing law — the actual doing of the legal stuff for clients.
Other successful businesses do much more than practice their area of expertise, and the law firms that grow (in size, or in stature and revenue) do more than just practice law.
In addition to Practice, you need People. People can mean a full staff, or even just you.
Remember, though, you are not the same as your practice. The actual legal work your firm does is not you.
You’ve probably had the experience where a client absolutely loved what you did. Sure, they loved the legal work you did for them, but they also loved you for who you are.
By separating People from Practice, you get a better idea of how to make your firm unique and how to grow it. Taking that conceptual leap of “you are not your practice” is the first step.
The third ‘P’ is Process.
Every attorney understands form files - the idea that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every single time you need a document. Can you imagine if you constantly had to draft documents from scratch without referring to anything? Of course not!
Form files represent a process. When you create a form file, you create a repeatable thing. Most attorneys, though, don’t extend that concept to their business as a whole.
They don’t imagine their business can have processes for marketing and customer service.
Why don’t more practices achieve the elusive success of real practice growth?
A lot of attorneys have personality and a good practice, but lack processes. This makes them a thought leader.
The dirty little secret about thought leaders (folks that might have a big name in a given practice area) is that a lot of them don’t have a lot of profit.
They may be big thinkers, but it doesn’t mean they bring in big revenue.
We all want to be thought leaders, but we also want to be more than that. We want to bring in decent profits as well.
Where does profit come from?
Profit comes from the intersection of Practice and Processes.
To think of it in really simple terms, if you didn’t have form files, and you had to reinvent the wheel every time, what would happen to your profit margin if you were billing hourly?
It would plummet!
What client will pay for you to do all of that extra work when they could go down the street and hire another attorney with form file that can deliver it to them in a fraction of the time?
I’m not advocating getting involved in pricing wars, but the fact is profit comes from merging your practice with processes.
Let’s look at the intersection of People and Processes. This allows you to scale - the ability to grow the practice. Scaling is based on having the right people doing the right things.
In organically grown firms, people are added over time but they’re not given the definite processes to follow. They don’t have the step-by-step instructions for how to deal with particular client situations so their growth is hindered.
On the other hand, if you have a defined process that trains a new person to meet your standards of quality without being disruptive and stressful, your firm can scale.
If you want to scale, earn large profits, and become a thought leader, you need to maximize all three Ps.
When most attorneys first come to us, they only have practice and possibly a few people. The major component they lack is process.
That means they might be thought-leaders (or the potential to become thought leaders) but they struggle with the ability to scale and make large profits.
Processes complete the model.
Adding processes can be a scary concept because it sounds like you’re turning your firm into an impersonal machine. The truth is, it’s not. Incorporating Process is actually the best way to ensure high client satisfaction and standards of deliverability of the legal services you have.
In our marketing program we give attorneys the processes for handling all of their marketing. In our Practice Growth program, we show you the step-by-step processes for increasing profit and scale.
I want to encourage you to think about this model and how your firm fits into it.
If this has been helpful to you, visit practicealchemy.com/freedom to book a 10-minute call with our Practice Growth Team. We can talk through where you are in your practice, how you can grow, and see if or how we can help you.