Set yourself up for success and grow your practice by strengthening your entrepreneurial spirit.
Having a strong entrepreneurial spirit is an essential character trait needed for lawyers hope to build, develop, and grow a successful law firm. Spirit is what separates the entrepreneurial winners from losers and those who’s firms fail to reach their full potential.
The best description of an entrepreneur that I’ve found is from Attorney At Law Magazine which says, “An entrepreneurial lawyer is someone who takes complete responsibility for the success of his or her practice.” They focus on growth and opportunity. They don’t shy away from trying new and unique marketing techniques. Self-employed lawyers spend more time working in their practice and entrepreneurial lawyers spend more time working on it.
Since character and spirit are built on habits and repetitive action, here are four things that will strengthen your entrepreneurial skills, making you more resilient to setbacks and more likely to build a long-lasting and successful practice.
Keep Yourself Accountable to Long and Short Term Goals
Accountability is about the overall vision and the ultimate goal, not just shorter-term wins. But we all know that setting long-term goals is a lot easier than achieving them.
But why is this? One reason might be because there is a lack of knowledge on how to get there. It’s important to create a plan on how to achieve your long term goals, but breaking them up with smaller short term goals along the way.
These short-term goals must be both “challenging and specific.” Researchers Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found that 90 percent of their studies saw higher performance when the participant was going after challenging and specific goals rather than vague or easy goals.
Lawyers with a strong entrepreneurial spirit don’t shy away from the short-term challenges, and they know the significance those achievements play towards reaching the long-term goals. Start by building a week-by-week roadmap to the long-term goal, and break down the smaller goals into challenging and specific pieces.
Distractions can shut down the progress and growth of any sized law firm. When you’re eager to succeed it is easy for your focus to get sucked up for by new ideas or concepts that distract from the main goal. We are all human and it can and will happen to everyone.
A strong entrepreneurial spirit requires complete focus over the long run, constant new ideas, technologies, or strategies cannot compete for your attention. It can happen easily, though, because the intentions behind this “shiny-object syndrome” are always in the right place: You simply want to know that you’re following the best course of action for your practice. But if you want to succeed and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit then you need to know what works and avoid the fads that will only cause distraction.
Learn from your Failures
Lawyers with a fortified entrepreneurial spirit don’t care about the statistics or chance their practice might fail, because they know they’ll keep going even if failure occurs.
While it’s important to understand why law firms fail, you must also understand that not all setbacks are complete failures. Sometimes you’ll learn more from your mistakes and your challenges than from your accomplishments.
The right mindset is essential. Failure is a key part of success and if you haven’t failed at anything, then you are not taking big enough risks.
It’s understandable for lawyers to naturally avoid risk because lawyers are trained and hired to do exactly that. However, you must learn how to separate out the “business risk” of running a law practice from the “legal risk” in representing clients because these are not the same.
Successful lawyers and those with a great entrepreneurial spirit understand that taking more risks as a business owner and experiencing possible failures are the best opportunities for them to experience growth and change in their law practice.