Is Your Law Firm Approaching the End of 2013 in the Best Way? Try the End of Year Sprint!
November 6, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:24 pm
With the holidays fast approaching, I want to share a quick coaching tool to help you make the best of the rest of 2013. I call it the End of the Year Sprint™.
In today’s post, I will give you a brief introduction to the tool and suggestions on implementing it. Yes, there is an actual worksheet I’ve created using that title, but this exercise— once you understand it — can actually be done quite easily on a large sheet of blank paper that you’ve divided into four quadrants.
I have shown many lawyers how create a End of Year Sprint as part of two quarterly workshops that I teach through Atticus, Inc., called Dominate Your Market and the Practice Growth Program.
When I talk to lawyers about approaching the end of the year, I discuss the two ways a practice can handle it:
The Worst Way
- The end of year sneaks up on you like a mugger and clobbers you.
- You are and your team are distracted by the holidays.
- Cash flow is inconsistent.
- Suddenly January is here, and you are surprised to see it.
The Best Way
- You see the end of the year like a finish line and sprint to it with intensity.
- You sprint with focus and clarity to drive great results.
- You create a contest or game with your team.
- You maximize your cash flow.
- You start setting up 2014 to be the best year ever.
If the “best” way makes sense to you, then here is how I suggest you approach the sprint:
First, I strongly urge you to budget an hour on this week’s calendar to do this exercise. Do this right now. Seriously … right now. You agreed that you want to approach the end of the year in the best way possible, right? OK, good.
When we conduct this sprint at a live workshop, it takes our participants about an hour. And so, I suggest you set aside at least the same amount of time.
Take out a large sheet of blank paper. I find an 11×17 sheet works best, but you can improvise by taping together two standard letter-sized sheets. Position it horizontally and draw a large cross dividing the sheet into four quadrants.
Next, label your four quadrants with these headings and follow the instructions:
- Cash Flow – To maximize your cash flow, list your best financial opportunities for the rest of the year and put together a quick written plan on how to get them accomplished. Rank your highest dollar cases first. *Side note: I’m hosting a two-part webinar series on the Cash Flow Focuser™ on Nov. 19 and Dec. 4.
- Marketing – Identify your top five marketing opportunities that will happen before the end of the year and draft a plan on how to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
- Projects – Identify your three most important projects you want to complete before year end. If possible, assign a project manager to help you complete them by year end.
- Next Year – Set up your strategic planning for 2014. What would it take for 2014 to be the best year ever? What would you have to do now to start the ground work for 2014? What support would you need for 2014 to be the best ever? Do you need to plan a firm retreat? Hire a coach? Join a quarterly group program?
These four steps, while not replacing the power of a live workshop, can at least give you the sense of how to set up and do a End of Year Sprint in your own practice.
The Cash Flow Focuser: Your Greatest Strategy to Deal With a Cash Flow Crisis
October 17, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:45 pm
My next webinar series, The Cash Flow Focuser, is about a strategy designed to help lawyers immediately improve cash flow and gain greater control over their caseloads.
Here’s what one of my coaching clients recently said about this case management tool:
“I found that by embracing The Cash Flow Focuser, then molding it to my practice and my team, it rendered immediate results by increasing cash flow, follow up, and the tracking and prioritizing of projects. My cash flow immediately doubled and has consistently increased.” — Michelle Fuller, Attorney, Sterling Heights, Mich.
The webinar dates are set for Nov. 19 and Dec. 4. The details to register are below. But first, allow me to explain the concept.
When I decided to hold this webinar, I knew the Cash Flow Focuser accomplishes four things:
- It can help law firms dramatically increase cash flow over the next 30 days.
- Attorneys will be able to better focus their time.
- It can help lawyers better manage their caseloads.
- Lawyers can set their new “minimum” acceptable case value.
Implementing the strategies in this webinar should make a big difference in any lawyer’s sense of control over his or her practice. Almost immediately, you should be tapped into everything important going on in your firm. The Cash Flow Focuser helps attorneys develop a new way to manage and prioritize cases. Staff meetings will be far more productive by getting everyone on the same page.
By taking part in this webinar, the ideal outcome is that you will implement a powerful management to improve cash flow and avoid 10 hidden traps that impair it.
You’ll gain a new perspective on your firm — a current snapshot of what cases are profitable and what are not. You’ll recognize which cases are “losers” and should not be accepted and what cases are “winners” that you should maximize.
The worst outcome of enrolling? You’ll learn some distinctions on how to operate with the Cash Flow Focuser.
Of course, I think you also risk a great deal by NOT enrolling.
If you don’t take any action, you’ll continue to see inconsistent cash flow and feel out of control and overwhelmed. Your calendar will continue to be managed by appointments and not by case value or by opportunity value. You risk continuing to drop the ball on big cases because you don’t have a great way to stay focused on follow up tasks.
Here’s more of Michelle’s thoughts on The Cash Flow Focuser.
“I recently started utilizing a tool that was introduced to me some time ago, but sat on my desk. (The Cash Flow Focuser). I am a high “D” on the DISC scale, and follow up has always been a huge weakness for me. Pesky details, like tracking numbers, would never move beyond the “wouldn’t it be nice to know” stage, or as soon as the thought entered my head it would skitter away as soon as something, anything, more interesting grabbed my attention.
Doing other things that Steve Riley has recommended to me have yielded results, including that I have I doubled my revenue over the last two years. At the beginning of 2013, both my team leader and I experienced significant personal crises. At the same time we had a major turnover in staff. The practice was like a shopping cart with two wonky wheels that couldn’t go straight down the aisle. By July, cash flow had reached a crisis point and Steve again introduced the concept of using The Cash Flow Focuser.
… I am now sharing revenue goals with my team. They are helping to create incentives and rewards for meeting goals and are more invested. Success is shared by the team. I am much more in control of my practice and client satisfaction has increased. An activity I viewed with reluctance, and occasionally loathing, has now become a game.”
So are you ready to get focused? I hope so. The webinar will be in two parts, each recorded.
When: Nov. 19 at 4pm EDT (90 min) and Dec. 4 at 4pm EDT (30 min)
Tuition: $250 ($55 discount is available to those who enroll by Nov. 8.)
Why would you want to play a bigger game than what you are currently playing? Who needs the effort, right?
And, why would you ever play such an outrageous game as something called “Dominate Your Market” workshop?
One of the biggest traps that stops great law firms from growing is the trap of relative success. The partners look around and see that no other law firm is doing what they do. None of their competitors market as well, practice as well, treat their employees as well, or make as much money as they do. They think: “We are, without a doubt, the best in our marketplace. No one comes close.”
They attended a CLE program as a participant or as a speaker and thought, “Wow, I am the smartest attorney in this room. No one can touch me.”
They see themselves as the best in comparison to anyone else. They don’t need help. They just need to show up and smile.
In my experience, once this occurs, all growth stops. The ball game is over. The trap of relative success has been sprung, and this firm has hit a plateau of comfort.
This trap owns them now. They will never see it as the collar it is around their necks. Their growth is now leashed, and that chain is short. As long as the trap of relative success owns them, they will slowly but surely lose their spot in the market place. Of course, they will never see this coming. They are blinded by their own brilliance.
This why you we at Atticus say lawyers should always play for market dominance. If you are always playing to be the best at all times, then no one can catch up to you. You must always set stronger and hungrier goals — the type that motivate you to always play at your best level.
Nothing is worse than a lawyer that ran out of goals. You must always be playing to be bigger, stronger, more profitable, and never ever think you are the prettiest firm in the room.
If you’re interested in taking your relatively successful law firm to new heights, then I encourage you to check out the Dominate Your Market workshop program. It meets quarterly, provides members access to our top coaches (me included) , an inspiring peer group of high-achieving lawyers from around the country, and access to Atticus’ enormous bounty of practice management resources and tools.
If you don’t yet qualify to join the program — it’s not for everyone — then you should know that Atticus offers a number of other workshops that will help your law firm reach its tipping point to success — The Practice Builder, The Practice Growth Program and Rainmakers.
If you have any questions about Dominate Your Market or any of Atticus’ coaching programs, contact me.
Why are you paying someone $300 an hour to clean your house?
It’s insane, I know. But most of you are doing exactly that. You’re paying someone about $300 per hour to sweep your floors, clean your bathroom and pick up groceries.
The really insane part? You had no idea. That’s because this well-paid housekeeper, prep cook and all-around personal minion to whom you’ve been paying thousands of dollars to every month is none other than you.
Except you’re not really collecting another check by keeping these chores to yourself, right? You’ve actually been stealing from your ability to earn more revenue, to spend more time with your family or take part in the hobbies you enjoy.
You’ve been losing money faster than you can fold that pile of laundry mocking you at the foot of your bed.
What’s your hourly rate for serving your law firm clients? Many attorneys charge anywhere from $150 to $600 per hour, depending on level of expertise and years of experience. For argument’s sake, let’s assume an average of $300 per hour for most of you reading this.
For years, my wife and I worked full-time jobs. She managed my law firm office. I did the less-inspiring legal work. We’d put in eight to twelve hours a day – working as hard as we all do to keep clients and employees happy. After commuting home, often done separately due to one picking up the kids from daycare while the other went grocery shopping or bought takeout for dinner, we’d start our second full-time jobs.
By the time we fed our two children, cleaned the kitchen, and figured out if we had any clean clothes for tomorrow, we’d have little to absolutely no quality time for each other or to enjoy anything remotely resembling a hobby. Weekends were often just as hectic with oil changes, yet another trip to the store for a forgotten staple, DIY fix-it projects around the house and yard, and the ever-accumulating laundry. Fitting in exercise? Yeah, right.
Think about all the time and money you’re going to continue to burn if you don’t make a change. If you want more time with your spouse and children, actual free time for your favorite hobbies or activities, and more money in your bank account, then consider my following suggestion.
I’m not talking about a cleaning person who comes in for a few hours a week or a personal shopper or a food delivery service.
Answer this question: Can I hire someone for less than $300 an hour to do these household errands and chores?
The answer is obviously yes. You can hire a ton of people that will do all the things that you don’t have time to do, won’t do, or the things you think your spouse should do (you know those things you’re chronically annoyed about because he/she isn’t doing them either).
Hire someone for 25 to 35 hours per week to help run the house.
YOU COULD DOUBLE YOUR INCOME
Two of my female attorney coaching clients doubled their incomes when they hired someone to take over their “second job.”
You will make money or - at worst – you will save money.
You will have to work through some emotional stumbling blocks:
“I’d feel weird having a housekeeper. Having one is so old-fashioned, isn’t it?”
“I’d be embarrassed for my parents to think I hired a maid when I’m perfectly capable of doing the ironing myself.”
But my thought on this is that you’re hiring someone to help you live a less stressful life. Yes, at first it will feel goofy. But you will love it.
HOW TO PAY FOR THIS PERSON?
If you can bill at least one hour a week more than you currently do, you will pay for a week of this person’s time. For example, if you paid the domestic assistant about $12 per hour for 25 hours, that’s $300 per week.
Instead of rushing out of the office early to get to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, or a drive-thru to pick up dinner for your family, you can delegate all these errands and bill one more hour.
Bingo. The cost of your new favorite employee has just been covered for the week.
A FAST TRACK STRATEGY
Now that you have been introduced to the idea, you could just take it and run with it. Or you can find out more about my strategies for finding the right domestic assistant and keeping your family happy.
I’m hosting a two-part webinar called The Domestic Assistant Advantage™ . The first session is 90 minutes. The second session is 30 minutes. I’m offering this course for less than any amount that you’ve NOT been paying yourself for scrubbing your own bathtub.
Find out how hiring a domestic assistant can help you succeed in your law firm and improve your life outside the office.
Why would you hire one?
How can it save or make you money?
The $300 test
Coping with guilt
Job descriptions to recruit one
How to manage one – you can do this in less than an hour a week
Forms: weekly checklist, monthly checklist, task lists, and agendas
Hear from my family’s domestic assistant about how this job works from her perspective
And so much more!
When: Sept. 26 @ 4pm EDT (90 min) and Oct. 17 @ 4pm EDT (30 min)
Price: $250 (early bird discount of $55 off the enrollment fee if you register by Sept. 14)
Focus on your strengths. Ask yourself: Is cleaning my house my greatest strength? Or is it helping my clients at my best hourly (or better yet, fixed price) rates?