In the legal world, as in any industry, there are characteristics and ways of operating that set some businesses significantly apart from others. There will always be businesses and professionals who run them who are satisfied keeping a steady flow of business and clients that won’t rock the boat or require too much reach. And those strategies are very different from the ones necessary for rapid and compounding growth.
If your firm is looking to do more than maintain the status quo, consider how core practices and processes should be modified to include that objective.
Consideration of the blockers
A firm that is ready to grow is one that is cognizant of what is harming them now. So, as you start to consider intentional growth at your firm, start by seeking out the places where processes are not smooth, where work doesn’t flow, and where productivity is impacted. Fixing those issues will be the first step in creating efficiencies in the current system that can be ready to scale.
Timely hiring practices
Understanding what skills and human resources that your firm needs also means understanding where you want to go with those skills and people. When considering your current team and the set of skills that they bring to the firm, look also at any gaps that exist in between the strengths and bandwidth limitations.
Understand, too, that there’s a fine line between hiring too soon and hiring too late. Bodies in the office do not equate to a team ready to take things to the next level. Factor in the time needed for each new hire to complete onboarding and fully ramp up to being a contributing team member.
Sometimes more employees isn’t the answer. If, in the process of identifying gaps and opportunities, you find concentrated tasks and projects that would be better suited to agencies or contractors, then take time to consider it. More and more law firms are making the decision to “focus on what we’re great at and let other people focus on what they’re great at.”
This might mean choosing outside services for IT, marketing, or research and writing. Or, it might mean partnering with a contract-based assistant. Outsourcing can look different for every firm depending on priorities, so imagine a perfect flow of work and energies and look at the possible ways to plug outsourced teams in.
It’s easy to feel as though growth needs to be driven solely at the top, by having those at a higher level do more.
In fact, a 2015 Gallup study found that effective delegation lead to faster growth, more revenue, and better job creations. It takes an entire team with a clear understanding of their tasks and how each of them is personally contributing to said growth to have a firm-wide growth trajectory. From partner to manager level, make sure that delegation is an expected and practiced aspect of the firm.
Investing in technology
With a skilled and primed team in place, it is time to establish the full set of tools that will empower your employees to leverage their talents more effectively. Consider some of the most essential tech tools that can take your firm from analog to tech-savvy with all the growth potential to match.
Keep in mind that technology for technology’s sake is never enough. When examining which tech tools to implement, make sure that they complement your processes and don’t override current efficiencies. Software is only as useful as the user makes it, so be mindful of how you’re implementing any and all technology.
Making a name for your firm doesn’t happen overnight. And it requires careful thought and making tough decisions in determining how you want your firm to be seen. And when clients have hundreds to thousands of law firms to choose from, your brand is the first introduction they will have and the most immediate impression of your work that they can rely on.
Web design, logos, tag lines, and the tone of your writing are all part of a compelling and approachable brand identity. Building this perception of who you are now along with who you want your firm to become will help you build trust and pinpoint how you stand apart from your competition.
With an intentional brand comes the backbone of knowing who your ideal clients are and in what case types you want to spend your time and make a name for yourself. Choosing certain specializations will help focus your firm’s growth in specific, highly valuable expertise and increase the confidence of your team in the topics they are handling more regularly.
Having a specific specialism can also help guide you in better aligning your brand with your target areas. Choosing not to specialize can be intentional, too. The same exercise will apply as you consider how and if you want to limit or specify the places where your firm excels.
Once you’ve got a brand and an ideal set of customers and highly efficient set of internal processes, it’s time to shout about your firm! While word-of-mouth will always be an invaluable way of gaining new clients, the world of online research is huge, and Googling is more often a first step for clients looking for representation.
Invest in comprehensive marketing that elevates your firm where clients are starting their research and become a resource for some of the frequently asked questions.
If high growth is a short or long-term priority for your firm, then it’s never too soon to start taking steps to establish what that path looks like for your team and your processes. By taking on a mindset of development across the team, your firm can build toward the type and size of firm that you most desire.