How competitive is your law firm in today’s market? Are you serving your clients in the best way possible? Is your law firm prepared to take on new roles as the market continues to fluctuate and evolve? These are the types of questions your law firm should be asking on at least an annual basis to ensure that you have the most effective and efficient strategic plan possible. But what exactly is strategic planning and what are the types of growth strategies that are most important for your organization?
What a business growth strategy is…
A business growth strategy is a guide or roadmap to success for your law firm that outlines everything from what your mission is to what industries you seek to serve, who your target audiences are, the services you choose to focus on, and what type of brand will define your organizational efforts. All of this, and more, is essential to understanding what your law firm is missing, what improvements need to be made, and what areas of growth are available in the coming years.
What a business growth strategy is not…
A business growth strategy is not a short-term solution to solving problems in your business, nor is it a process that should be attempted half-heartedly; it is a process that takes time, effort and some financial investment. While it is best to have a growth strategy for your business in place before you hang out your shingle, it’s never too late to create one. It is important, however, to fully understand why strategic planning is important in the first place.
Why is it important to have strategic growth strategies in place?
There are many reasons why having a strategic growth strategy in place for your law firm is important. Despite this, only a small percentage of law firms have such strategies in place and it has remained that way for over a century. As our world and the technological age continue to provide new opportunities for innovation, and new challenges, it is becoming ever more vital for your organization to stay focused on what message your brand is displaying and what priorities your business is focusing on. Here’s why:
Your firm’s goals for success will be clearly defined. While you may think that this is already so, you’d be surprised to find out what elements you might be missing that can take your brand objectives to the next level. These could include how you score large accounts and how they are managed in both the short and long-term, what investments in technology could make your organization more efficient, how you network and build relationships with clients and partners, and what areas of law you are truly able and willing to focus on to build a sustainable law practice.
There will be more accountability and commitment. Without a strategic plan, you and your team are less likely to achieve your general business objectives. You are also less likely to meet client deadlines and needs, which will lead to a shorter lifespan for your firm. Having a growth strategy in place allows your law firm to pinpoint exactly what needs to be done, in the most effective and efficient way possible; meaning that you are more likely to meet deadlines and receive positive feedback. This will make you feel more compelled to stay committed to your plan and more so, your clients’ needs, without stepping away from the process.
It improves marketing and business development. Having solid marketing and business development plans will forever change your law firm. Each can keep you up-to-date about current and future trend developments, while also providing a whole new set of marketing resources that will transform your approach to your brand and clientele. Think about it. While traditional word-of-mouth and print marketing tactics are useful, today’s world is fueled by technology– internet marketing, social media, online learning, and more. If you truly want to invest in your law firm and provide your clients with the information they need in a more effective manner, while also staying current in your expertise, it is important that you pay attention to how digital marketing can transform how you do business.
Relationships with clients will be significantly improved. As briefly noted above, when you have a balanced growth strategy you can build and maintain relationships with clients and partnerships far more easily. This is essential since, on average, close to 25% of the next year’s revenue is likely to come from new clients; meaning that having strong relationships with current clients is crucial. With an effective plan in place your law firm is more likely to attract new clients, improve your community recognition and targeted communications, and keep your current clients content and willing to refer others to you.
Your law firm will be able to measure its success. When you have a plan in place, it becomes very simple for your team to review its successes and challenges on a monthly, biannual or annual basis. In addition, it allows you to project long-term goals, and re-envision how your strategic plan may need to be changed as the market continuously fluctuates.
Your law firm will have more opportunities for innovation. Having a growth plan down on paper can really help you think outside the box and allow you to come up with new ways to address common client or in-house predicaments. These could include providing new services as new markets arise, creating new service packages for clients with unique needs, examining how your firm’s financial processes are working or reevaluating your law firm’s marketing and business approaches overall.
If you are curious about how to create a more effective strategic growth plan for your law firm, or need to create a plan from scratch, contact Accounting Girl today for more information. We will help you understand what your law firm truly needs to achieve its objectives, and recommend what steps you can take to build or improve its growth opportunities.