Successfully setting and achieving your firm’s goals for 2020 will take time and the sooner you start the process the better off you will be.
With the end of 2019 quickly approaching, now is the ideal time to put together your law firm’s strategic plan together for the coming year. The beginning of the year serves as a fresh start for every business, not just law firms, but if you want to get rolling starting on January 1st, 2020 then you need to start planning now.
The challenge is how to build a plan that’s ambitious enough to inspire but practical enough to be implemented. Here are 5 things you should be doing today to build your firm’s business plan for 2020.
1. Revisit Your Goals
It’s essential to set your planning for next year in the context of your overall goals and vision for your firm. Any goals or strategies you set for 2020 should actively contribute to you achieving your plan in the long run. Cross out the ones you’ve accomplished and the ones you no longer have a desire to complete. Whatever is left is what you need to focus on. If your vision feels out-dated or ineffectual, now might be the time to dust it off.
2. Set New Annual Goals
Decide between one to three large goals for your firm during the next year. Remember, completion of these goals should be a clear indication that you’re getting closer to achieving your vision. Maybe it’s a financial goal, moving your firm into an NYC office, updating your firm’s website, or increasing the number of client and peer referrals you receive. In general, goals that are easier to track and therefore more achievable. Don’t set goals that have difficult metrics to measure, such as improve customer service or make clients happier.
3. Prioritize Specific Tasks
It would be great if we could successfully implement every great strategic idea we have. The reality is that solo and small firm lawyers don’t have the time or resources to do it all. Their lives are busy as it is! That means you need to assign a level of prioritization to the specific tasks that are going to help or allow you to reach those goals. Batch them together into categories and budget your time so that you are not only continually setting time to achieve your goals, but also ensuring that you don’t neglect other parts of your life/practice as well. These tasks will compete for your time and resources, so determine which are most important and plan accordingly.
One of the best things you can do to help you complete your goals is to build accountability for your firm. This means to tell people about your goals and what you’re doing to achieve them. One of the best ways to do this is to join a mastermind group made up of other lawyers. These groups are built to not only help you work out and get through the challenges that come with running a law firm, but they also serve as strong accountability systems. We saw this time and time again in the all lawyer mastermind group that we ran at Law Firm Suites.
5. Don’t Neglect The End Of the Year
Given that you’re looking forward to a fresh start in the new year, it’s easy to write off Q4 and start planning the new year. Don’t go easy on yourself, be ruthless about your successes and failures of the last three months and focus your efforts on the things that are going to make the biggest impact on achieving your goals. If you had a great Q3 and signed up several new clients then don’t slow down just because 2020 is creeping, instead, keep the good habits rolling into the new year. Or if your Q3 could have been better the sit-down and determine what needs to be done so Q4 (and potentially Q1 of 2020) are better.