Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to Start a Law Firm - How to Keep Moving Forward With Your Business Plan

Starting a law firm isn't for everyone. Unless you are fully committed to your firm, you won't be successful. But even if you are 100% invested in your business plan, it is easy to get sidetracked.

1) Make a "To Do List."

One characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is their obsession with lists. Sure there are successful people who do not use lists as a tool, but they are few and far between. Lists serve two purposes: they allow us to write down our thoughts as they are formulated, and they organize our thoughts into priorities. I use multiple lists, one for my "lawyer" work, another for my "business" tasks, and still another for my personal life. Each evening before I call it a day, I make up a to do list for the next day. Then, each morning, I refine my list and prioritize each item.

2) Refer to Your Business Plan.

Once you have finished your business plan, refer to it often. Additionally, calendar all the action points contained in your plan, so that you have deadlines for getting things done. Finally, refine your plan regularly, because starting a law firm is not a concrete process. It is fluid, so you will want to revise your plan at least monthly to reflect the direction in which you are headed. This also gets you to look at what you have done and what you need to do.

3) But Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.

Details are the cornerstone of paralysis by analysis. As attorneys, we are trained to look at every angle of every problem and every angle of every angle. It is difficult to put aside that training as a lawyer and substitute the thinking of an entrepreneur. But that is one of the hats you are wearing. It is important to be thorough and informed, but at some point you need to make a decision and move on.

4) Dress for Success.

Sometimes you just need a reminder that you are at work. An easy way to give yourself a constant reminder is to dress as though you were going to court, even if you don't plan to see any clients or anyone else that day.

5) Tell Everyone.

It's easy to get things done when there are other people watching you. The more people that know you are starting a law firm, the more people you will have to answer to if you don't succeed. This is almost artificial accountability, but the fear of embarrassment definitely works.

6) Enjoy the Process.

Most of all, enjoy the process. It's an exciting time for you and for your career. Yes, starting a law firm is scary, and there will be days when you will be sure you are failing. But trust me, you can do it, and the pride that comes with building a business from scratch will all be worth it in the end.

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