It’s the end of November. For some of us, this means a change in seasons when the leaves turn color and fall off, and the air turns brisk. Things begin to change. We wear additional layers of clothing to accommodate the ever-changing temps, and we hope that the cold and ice stay away for as long as possible…all Winter if you ask me.
Professionally, November and December also bring about that pressure we feel to carve out some time to think about what we can do next year to grow our business.
A Simple Process
If we make time, the process might resemble this:
- A review of 2016.
- A frank discussion with ourselves about what went right and what went wrong.
- Taking a look at our goals for 2016 to see what we accomplished.
- Creating a few simple goals for 2017.
- Digging into each of those goals to decide how we are going to achieve them.
- Setting a timeline and budget for those activities.
- …and so on.
I Don’t Have Time
I know that sounds like a pretty simple explanation of what needs to be done. The reason it looks simple is because we all tend to make the process much more difficult and time-consuming than it has to be. Similar to that paper cut we had two years ago that our memory has now stretched into a gaping wound, we all tend to stretch the task of creating an annual marketing and business development plan into a Herculean task that we just don’t have the time or fortitude to tackle. We continue to claim “I don’t have time.”
If that resembles your line of thinking in any way, I must ask you…
“How’s that working for you?”
You Wait. Others Move.
While you are putting off creating what could arguably be the most important component of your business because you don’t have time, here is what might be happening:
- Others (a.k.a. competitors) in your practice area are creating their plans.
- Opportunities to connect with potential clients are slipping through your fingers.
- Current clients are becoming disenchanted because they aren’t being contacted frequently enough.
- Someone else is establishing a referral relationship with someone you thought was loyal to you.
- You aren’t making the income you should be.
- You aren’t doing anything to secure the future of your practice.
- You aren’t defining those skills you need to work on to advance yourself.
- You aren’t growing.
Yes, those are all results we can focus on when we write marketing and business development plans. You and I can “I don’t have time” ourselves until we believe it, but deep down we know that we can find time for that which we enjoy, or which we find critical to our success.
Facing The Reality
If this has been a struggle for you, or at the very least, a weak link in your practice, let this be the year:
- You win that struggle
- You strengthen that weakness
- You focus your marketing and business development efforts
…and, last but not least,
- Let this be the year you face the reality that you alone are the one responsible for your growth and success.
Hope Is Not A Strategy
You and I can’t sit around hoping that business just walks in our doors. As you’ve heard a thousand times, hope is not a strategy…at least not a sensible one.
Competition is not going away. Our clients have many choices, including insourcing their legal work, or giving more of their work (your work) to other lawyers or advisors. Take control of your year. Make it your year.
Competition is not going away. Our clients have many choices. Take control. Let this be the year, your year.
As always, let me know if I can be of service to you as you create your marketing and business development plans.
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing Planning, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn and Twitter trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing and livestreaming. She can be reached via email here.