If you’re a lawyer who’s decided to start your own firm and practice independently, you’ve made a savvy business decision. A solo practice frees you from the obligations of working for a major firm and gives you the liberty to choose what type of work you do and which clients you take on.
However, running your own firm can also be scary. You aren’t just practicing law. You’re also a business owner, which means you’re responsible for everything from finding clients to managing finances. Find out how a business coach can help below.
Understand how a business coach can benefit your solo attorney practice
Starting your own practice can be a daunting task. A business coach can guide you through the logistical parts of the process, holding your hand at every step of the way. For example, when starting a business, you should always begin by writing a business plan. This document describes your company, the services you offer, and your management structure. It also includes practical details like a marketing plan and financial projections. A business coach can help you create this document, which will be a guidebook for your firm.
Identify the signs that you might need a business coach
Even if you’ve already taken care of startup steps like writing a business plan, a coach can be helpful at other points in the startup journey as well. A business coach can provide emotional support when you’re feeling overwhelmed or need motivation. They can also help if you need a strategic plan or simply want someone to bounce ideas with. If you’re considering further professional development, a coach can help you figure out the best path forward. Out of the Box Advisors provides a list of additional signs you could use a coach, like if you are feeling overwhelmed or want to scale up.
Know what to look for in a good coach
When choosing a business coach, it’s important to get the right fit. There are certain things to look for in a coach, like experience, accessibility, and expertise. For example, as a lawyer, you likely want to work with a coach who specializes in working with legal professionals. Before you book any coach, ask for a complimentary consultation. This is an opportunity to ensure that your communication style matches theirs and that your personalities mesh. You can also ask potential coaches for referrals and inquire about their success stories.
Find the perfect coach for your needs
When it comes to actually finding a coach, you have many options available to you. You can start by asking friends, family, and colleagues whether they know people. There are also online lists of coaching services you can use. Smith even provides a roundup of business coaches that are especially focused on law firms. Industry trade publications are another useful tool. Magazines that target legal professionals may have advertising sections where you can find fitting experts.
Make the most of your business coach relationship
Once you’ve found the perfect business coach, the battle is only half won. You want to make sure you get the most out of your coaching relationship. This will require you to assess your own weaknesses honestly. You also need to have realistic expectations and a thorough understanding of the coach’s role. The coach is there to make recommendations and share knowledge, but they can’t make decisions for you or run your business. For example, they can help you with a task like writing SMART goals, but they can’t execute them for you.
Starting a solo law firm is very exciting. However, it also presents unique challenges, as you have to manage the business side of operations alongside practicing law. A business coach can be a big help.
About the Author
Dean Burgess started Excitepreneur to explore the areas of entrepreneurship that are often overlooked, and share with current and aspiring entrepreneurs the stories and lessons he has learned. He fully believes entrepreneurs will lead us to a more exciting future. All it takes is an idea or goal and a desire to see it to fruition.