It’s remarkable how changing one small word can deeply change the meaning of a sentence or phrase. In this case, the difference between the smallest of words—“in” and “on”—can make the difference between success or failure for almost any small business, including law firms.
Many entrepreneurial lawyers get buried in the busy-ness of the day-to-day functions of their practice; others see their firms grow exponentially while having envious amounts of leisure time. The difference? The fatigued struggling lawyer works in his law firms; the successful one works on it.
“On” versus “in.” What is the difference, really? Mostly, it’s a matter of perspective and focus. Where within your business do you expend most of your energy? Is it on the daily grind of serving your existing clients while trying to coax more clients through the funnel? Is it on the endless paperwork, phone calls, emails and invoices? Or is it on creating bigger funnels and honing self-propelling strategies for sustainable growth?
The first two are examples of working in your business, and that mentality will lead you to almost certain burnout, with little to show for it. The latter is working on your business, and it will eventually lead you to exploding revenues and ample free time to enjoy it.
So how do you make the shift from in to on?
Delegate to Others
As business coach Rhett Power writes in Inc., one key to working on your business versus in it is to delegate day-to-day operations: “Every minute that you spend working on tasks that can be delegated is a minute that you are not planning, strategizing and building the best business possible,” he says.
Rephrasing it for our purposes, you need to transition from being just a lawyer to being a leader. If you don’t yet have the overhead to hire employees, try outsourcing some tasks like customer service and bookkeeping to third-party services. Do what it takes to free up your time.
If you read my blog regularly, I’m sure this sounds like beating the drum—but that’s only because I have found automation to be one of the most powerful tools to convert small firms into big ones. Any office process that you can automate to run itself—from reminder calls to marketing emails to bill processing—frees up your time to focus on growth strategies. If you can’t afford to delegate—automate. And if you do have a staff, automating their processes will accelerate their productivity, too.
Implement “Big Picture” Marketing Strategies
Beyond covering day-to-day tasks, business growth lives in the world of marketing and sales. Don’t focus too narrowly on the grind of direct marketing; instead, look at the bigger picture and implement strategies designed to multiply your leads and enhance lead conversion. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel here—there are many proven strategies that are perfect for your firm.
Test and Refine
Once you start implementing self-propelling systems, your next task is to revisit, test and retest, in order to refine your processes and make them more effective. As you begin to see results, this process won’t seem nearly as mundane as it sounds. Evaluate everything; get rid of what doesn’t work; amplify and expand on what does work.
We take great pleasure in helping law firms like yours make the switch from working in their businesses to working on them. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at (888) 207-2869.