Nancy MyrlandAll Posts, Management Leave a Comment

Firms - How Busy Is Productive?As we pause to recognize Labor Day in America, I started to think about our labor, our work, and what we should expect to get from it.

I always find it interesting when people ask how my business is, and if I’m as busy as I want to be.  If the conversation warranted it, I would share:

“Absolutely. I have no desire to be busier. My goals are to be more productive, to help clients who are really serious about improving their firms and their practices, and, as a result, to achieve my financial goals.”

None of us need to be busier, unless, of course, all we care about is billable hours. This is where billing by the hour becomes a vicious cycle.  If all we care about is increasing the number of hours we work, what are we really accomplishing?

  • Are we serving our clients by spending as much time as possible completing projects?
  • Are we serving our clients by making sure we focus on those other clients we know need more hours from us than they do?
  • Are we serving our clients by making sure we bill every nano-second?
  • Are we serving ourselves by trying to bill every available hour on our calendar to client work, thus forgoing business development, community boards, volunteer work on firm committees and management, and pro-bono work?

I suspect we all know the answers to these questions.

Busy does not equate to successful.

The productive pursuit of our clients’, our firms’ and our personal goals stand a much better chance of being successful.

  • Sometimes that equates to more hours because that is the nature of the matter.
  • Sometimes it equates to calling it a “project” for our clients, and billing them one flat fee so they know what to expect from us while we are attempting to help them accomplish their goals.
  • Sometimes it means a high-stakes project will only take a few hours, but the value they receive from that project far outweighs 2 hours of billing, so the project fee should be priced accordingly.
  • Sometimes it means being on-call for our clients on a monthly basis at a fee, a retainer, that has nothing to do with being busy, or billing hours.

If we are to achieve the fruits of our labor, then we need to stop and think about how we are doing business at our firms. Who cares if you are busy? What I want to know is…..

Are you productive?