If you haven't already done so, you should pick one to three big goals for your law firm for the coming year, and start planning for how you will accomplish them.
Setting goals for 2015 is not enough -- you must also create a plan to implement and achieve these goals. As I have often said, a goal without a plan is nothing more than a dream, and a day dreamer gets nothing accomplished. The goals you set should be substantial but yet attainable.
Some examples would be:
- To increase your monthly sign-ups by 40%.
- Reduce your overhead by 25%.
- Create a complete online training module for your paralegals and intake staff.
Whatever it is, you should sit down and work backwards setting benchmarks on what needs to be done and by whom. You can break it down by quarterly goals, monthly goals and weekly goals. This will ensure your team members know what your expectations are. You should also hold monthly progress meetings so all team members have to report to the other members their progress. This in and of itself is a great accountability tool.
One of the most painstaking processes for me is preparing the coming year’s budget. You should go over your books line item by line item and allocate what you want to spend next year.
For example I always look at what my ROI (return on investment) was last year for each marketing tactic we used. Then I allocate a larger percent of my marketing budget on the two or three tactics that give me my biggest bang for my buck. I also allocate an amount to test new marketing tactics for the upcoming year. I am often asked what percentage of my gross revenue should I allocate for marketing my firm. This is not the right question to ask. You should be asking how many cases do I want to sign up next year?
If you track your ROI on your different marketing tactics then you will know how much each case costs you. Then you allocate enough money to obtain your desired number. For example: It costs me $300 each to get a new SSD case with buying internal leads. This is my most cost effective marketing tactic to obtain new SSD cases. Thus if I want to increase my monthly numbers of SSD cases I would allocate an additional $6,000 per month to get my target number. (20 new cases x $300 cost per case = $6,000.)
The whole process of creating next year’s budget is an arduous but necessary task. You must keep your costs in line. Not to do so is poor planning and poor management.
You need to visit your CPA and see where you can save money. What can you expense? What are tax credits you can get? How can you defer income?
Planning is a necessity if you want a successful law practice. You should not put it off. Make the time to follow the above suggestions and you will see as substantial increase in your revenues. Be sure to share the appropriate matters with your firm members so they can share in helping you implement your plans for 2015.