As an ambitious, innovative, entrepreneurial law firm owner, you’ll have a big goal. And, you’ll need to roll out some changes in your law firm to achieve that goal.
Often when I speak to law firm owners, they’re nervous about making changes in their firm. They’re worried they’ll pick the wrong thing and as a result, they’ll lose money and waste a lot of time.
So they suffer from paralysis by analysis.
That means they end up not making any changes at all, so they get left behind by all these other new, innovative, entrepreneurial lawyers who are doing amazing things.
There are so many lawyers doing new things in their space that if you’re not keeping up and making changes and improving and growing your firm too, then you’re getting left behind.
So I’ve grown two seven-figure businesses in the legal industry; one being my law firm, and one being my legal tech company, Automio.
To do that, I’ve made lots of mistakes that have cost me a lot of time, a lot of money, and often a lot of heartache.
Over the years, I’ve created a four step process to reduce the likelihood of choosing the wrong strategy or technique or tip or trick to implement in my business.
This process really helps me to choose the right strategies to implement at any given time.
#1: Know your numbers
Number one is, know your numbers, know your metrics, and know your data.
As law firm owners, we often know our basic metrics like our revenue, expenses, profit, and what our WIP is.
But in this modern, innovative, online world, we need to dig deeper than that. We need to do better.
We need to know things like how many people are visiting our website every month, or every week.
We need to know how many of those people are converting into leads. (A lead is somebody who gives you their contact details in exchange for a piece of content that’s valuable to them, like a free guide.)
You need to know how many of those leads are then turning into clients.
There are lots of things you can measure. Often the most important metrics to know will depend on what your goals are at a given time.
But just looking at revenue and profit is not really going to get you where you want to go in terms of growing your law firm and figuring out what changes to make.
Really look at what your goals are and think about the metrics you can use to see the current state of your business in that area, and that you can measure and track to see if the changes you make are helping you to achieve those goals.
For example, if your goals are around getting new clients, then you need to start understanding how many people are coming to your website, how many people are liking your Facebook page, and how many people are downloading your free guide.
Once you know these things, it’ll really help you to move faster and figure out what’s working and what’s not.
#2: Understand your client’s journey
This is something that will absolutely supercharge your growth.
It’s also something your team will really get into if you give them the opportunity.
First, let’s just clarify what your client’s journey is – sometimes there can be some confusion around this.
Your client’s journey does not start from the time they come to your law firm. It starts when they first become aware that they have a problem or an issue or a challenge or an opportunity.
They might not even know they need to talk to a lawyer yet, but they’re becoming aware that there is some sort of situation, and that situation ultimately ends up in them engaging a lawyer. That’s where their journey starts.
The next thing they do on that journey, for example, might be to start Googling. This isn’t the case for every type of client, but a lot of clients will start Googling.
So you should ask yourself, “What are they Googling? What are the specific words they’re using?”
Part of it is really understanding who your ideal client is, and what their behaviour is when they first work out they’ve got a problem.
Then, you really need to map that client’s way through all the different steps.
- When they first come to your website
- If they download something off your website
- When they first reach out to you
- The first meeting they have with you
- What happens between that initial meeting and then actually becoming a paying client
Go through all those steps, through the delivery service and until their challenge is resolved. That is the client journey.
Once you understand that, it will really help you to figure out what strategies to implement in your law firm.
Think about how they feel throughout that whole journey, and how you can make it better. Get into as much detail as you can, so you really analyse and understand your client and know what’s going on at every stage of that journey.
Doing this will also really help you to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome.
So many law firm owners that I work with suffer from this. This is where you decide on a course of action, or a strategy, but then all of a sudden, you come across something else.
It looks so great and amazing, so you completely deviate from the strategy you’ve worked out and go and spend three weeks doing this new thing instead of focusing on implementing your new strategy.
But if you have your client journey mapped out, and you’ve got a strategy based around that, then it’ll help you to avoid chasing something else that’s not relevant to your goals.
You can say to yourself, “Where would this slot into my client’s journey? Oh, it wouldn’t.”
Get your team to help you map your client journey too.
They’ll have all sorts of points of view on all different levels, so working through that and really mapping it out will be really, really insightful and it’ll really help to guide your business going forward.
#3: Know your destination
This is really about your mission and vision.
Most law firm owners know what they’re about, but they’ve never really thought to articulate what the mission is into really meaningful words.
Often if they have done that, they haven’t actually shared it with their team. I really encourage you to figure out what your mission is and share it widely.
Make sure your whole team understands what your mission is too. Your clients, your suppliers, your contractors and your vendors should all know what you’re about and what you’re trying to achieve.
With Automio, our mission is to help 1 million lawyers build their dream law firm so that together we can revolutionise the legal industry.
My team all knows that. In fact, we had a meeting with our contractors and some of our suppliers just last week to remind them what our mission is, what our vision is and what our core values are.
This really does help you to make decisions about what changes to make in your law firm.
I’ll give you an example, and this is one we use at Automio a lot.
Say we’re interviewing somebody for a role, right? Hiring a person is a massive change to make in your business, and it can be quite a risky one.
Often law firm owners really fear hiring, because if you get it wrong, it sucks.
What we do is, I put the mission in front of every person we interview and ask them what they think.
If they’re not jazzed and don’t have any questions, then they’re out. But if they’re engaged and they’re asking questions and they’re excited, then I’m excited about them.
It’s a really good litmus test to help you figure out whether you’re making a good decision for your business so that you reduce the chances of wasting time, money and energy.
#4: Get help
In my time as a law firm owner and as a CEO and founder of Automio, I’ve spent about $500,000 on business coaching.
I always work with at least one business coach at any given time. Sometimes I’m working with two, depending on what I’m going through.
How I justify that is, I look at my return on investment. Some have been better than others, but the ROI is always significant.
My businesses over the years would have earned more than $15 million in revenue. If you think about spending $500,000 to get $15 million in revenue back, then you can see the return on investment.
Coaching is a gift that keeps on giving – I’ll give you an example of what I mean by that. And not a week will go by when this doesn’t happen to me.
I’ll be thinking about something, and into my head will pop something a coach said to me once, where they challenged me or advised me, and it didn’t really register at the time.
And I’ll be like, “Ha! Wow! I wasn’t ready for that message at the time, but I’m ready now. And it’s come back to me and holy shit, that’s powerful. That’s really going to propel me.”
With coaching, the advice you get is timeless, and it can come back to benefit you years later.
Yes, coaching costs money and it takes time away from things like doing client work.
That’s why law firm owners are often quite worried about doing it, but I can tell you it’s had a significant impact on my businesses.
Coaching and getting help is a really good way to help you figure out what strategies you should implement and how to roll them out, and it’s a great sounding board for ideas you have or decisions that you’re making.
If you’re interested in scaling a law firm, or building, designing and selling online legal solutions and learning about how to do the marketing around that, then there’s plenty more for you to discover over in my Savvy Lawyers Facebook group.