Before planning, it’s all about the decision

The Decision

Before you begin thinking of AR and numbers and metrics to help you decide the plan for your next year, the most important thing is understanding that all that stands between you and what you want for your firm is you.

Before you begin your calculations and planning, the fuel you need to move ahead in a big way lies in the power of the decision. It is – by far – the toughest part. And, it is more than one single decision.

Decisions for the year ahead …

1. How much income do you want to earn?

2. Which projects are the ones you need and want to mark
the milestones?

3. How many days do you want to work next year?

4. How will you spend your resting days?

5. What “stuff” will you want to add to your law firm or your
personal life next year?

You will tweak these decisions throughout the year, so don’t get stuck in the weeds over this.

Why tweak?

Part of the process lies in adjusting and evolving your goals as they grow more visible and tangible. You will also begin to realize how much more you are capable of in your growth and you will begin to dream even bigger. Additionally, you will also decide how much you must make nest year to set up for the following year.

The Planning Begins

Next, it’s time to do a brain dump of where your opportunities lie, where your leaks are, and where you can tighten up your processes, projects, and systems. A round number for most attorneys (if they are honest) is about 100 items with some being projects, to-dos, tasks, or more decisions.

Projects require planning. Tasks simply require an appointment to knock out.

As you begin planning the entire year, leave off the tasks as they are not big picture – still important – but tasks are not strategic.

Example of a task:

Writing the long overdue thank you note to someone you met.

Example of a project:

Setting up a dedicated station in the office to write thank you notes, training the team on when, why, and how to write thank you notes. Installing a monthly thank-you-note writing contest and a system for keeping track.

Who Does What

If you are very small, it will be simple to decide who does what. If your team is larger, bring your leadership together and choose ownership of those top three to five projects in each category.

Choose priority projects that will yield the quickest return on investment.

Only projects that produce fast results are allowed on the list.

When you are broke and have no line of credit, no angel investors, no saviors, you are not thinking of those “nice to have tools” like blogs or newsletters. No; you are thinking about which stepping stone is going to result in the biggest push forward. Be ruthless.

You must be ruthless.

The number of projects you choose to focus on is directly related to your growth continuum. If you are early along the timeline, you are likely doing more things yourself. Realistically, you and your team are unable to take as many projects. As you grow, the number of people taking on projects grows, therefore, the number of projects also grows.