Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How hard could this be?

It happens a lot. I talk to lawyers and firms about their business and strategic objectives and what they're doing to achieve those goals, particularly their business development and marketing programs. We look at what they've done, what they want to do, what they don't want to do, what they should do. We put together a list of specific things they can start doing tomorrow.  Everyone feels good about the meeting, all jacked up from a good discussion, and we've each got a list of assignments that seem simple enough: research the legal needs of a few clients, make a list of client targets, identify a couple of legal trends impacting their clients' business, etc.  How hard could this be? 

I know it sounds easy. It really isn’t. If it were, you – and all of your peers – would be doing it already. Ideas, plans, strategies, action lists, those are the easy part. The hard part, the part that drives success, is execution: disciplined, focused, relentless execution. It takes time, commitment and hard work to develop new business and market your firm. Sometimes it takes money, to invest in software or training or events. Sometimes it takes new people, or refocusing the efforts of your current team, to manage the execution. Sometimes it takes organizational change, to improve communication and transparency. Every time, though, it takes a lot of effort to initiate and sustain the activity needed to ensure success.

By the way, the best business development and marketing ideas for your practice and your firm are probably not new or different. They’re most likely ideas that you had a long time ago, stuff you’ll find discussed in countless blogs and books and boardrooms. You already know what to do. But knowing what to do is nothing. Doing it is everything. So get to it.

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