I want to tell you something that may shock you. If you own a practice…. You are a businesswoman. Not only that, you are an entrepreneur.
If you’re anything like me, those words don’t feel like they fit. You’re a lawyer who does law in a law firm. That feels like the “right” description. But the truth of the matter is that if you are running a law firm, you are the CEO of a business.
And Ms. Business Woman CEO, I am here to tell you that you cannot climb those steps to success without having an idea of what success looks like TO YOU. You also can’t get to that vision if you don’t know the direction, or strategy, to get there.
This was all too evident when recounting my early days as an entrepreneur. At first, success meant doing my cases and staying afloat with my bills, but I knew I wanted something more. I had no idea how to get there. (Turns out that so many women lawyers who own law firms feel this way!)
So I decided to get my hands on any and every business book that I could to try to learn how to be a businesswoman… since it turns out that I already was, by virtue of owning a business. I spent hours and years trying to secrets to running a profitable and productive business. I took concepts and ideas and applied them to my firm. I tested them, tweaked, and retested. My company started to rise and then thrive. (Thankfully, I documented this journey and process, so you don’t have to spend years learning it on your own!)
And you know what?
Everything I discovered led me back to the beginning = Vision, and Strategy.
If you don’t have an idea of what you want, how will you know when you get there? Furthermore, how will get there if you don’t have your compass (direction by strategy) aligned to your designation?
Maybe this is why we keep seeing Vision Boards on social media. And constant talk about “what’s your strategy?” (which feels a bit lofty as it is a big topic)
But before I tell you to get a glue stick and magazine cutouts, let’s start with a few fundamental questions:
1) What’s your version of success? No really, what does success look and feel like for you?
a. How much money will you be earning?
b. How many vacations will you take?
c. What would a day look like?
2) Let’s take it a little deeper, what’s success look like for your legal practice?
a. Do you have an ideal client?
b. Do you know what a rewarding day feels like?
c. Do you know how many hours at the office you want to work?
d. Do you see yourself working alone or with a team?
3) Do you designate weekly time reviewing this and making sure my daily life is moving in this direction?
4) Have you written down goals for your firm? (And more than vague answers like “gain new clients.”)
5) What are 3 things you can do right now to help you get to your vision? (Hint, this should be something as easy as interviewing a successful business owner, listening to a podcast, or reading a book on the subject – maybe like my new one 😉).
These are the starting questions I asked myself a few years ago, and they drive every decision I make today. Once a month, I sit down in deep conversation with my husband, and we discuss our goals and what actions we can take to accomplish them.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to take a look at the Ideal Client Amiga Doc. It will help you really understand the importance of knowing who you work with and how to add this strategy to your firm’s core vision.
Need a little extra help? Grab my book and download the adjoining templates and exercises in the free workbook to help you fully grasp the importance of visioning and how to develop a strategy that WILL propel your firm and life forward.
Now, own your title Ms. Business Woman and build that dream legal practice!