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The two most important questions for any small business owner are: What are the best opportunities for improvement or growth? What are the big threats to my business? According to the National Association of Small Business’s recent Economic Report, here are some of the top threats. Which is to say these are the reasons why small businesses don’t make it. No market need: 42 percent; Ran out of cash: 29 percent; Not the right team: 23 percent; Got outcompeted: 19 percent; Pricing / Cost issues: 18 percent; User un-friendly product: 17 percent; Poor marketing: 14 percent; Ignore customers: 14 percent…
Systems are the best way to simplify and streamline your practice. This hit home back in 2001, when I was handling commercial litigation cases in a big New Orleans law firm. Every case had hundreds or thousands of documents and required several associates, secretaries and paralegals to manage. Logistically, the cases were a nightmare. The pleadings folders were a compendium of every possible kind of complaint and answer amended complaint and amended answer motion and counter-motion claim, counter-claim, and third party claim discovery requests, motions in limine, TRO requests and you name it. When you’re dealing with that many bullets…
When a young business owner asked Amazon founder Jeff Bezos what the secret to building a successful business was, his advice was curt: “Focus on the things that don’t change.” Think about how Bezos’ advice might apply to you. For starters, consider… If you want to streamline your law practice and make it easier to manage you need to make things as simple as possible. But this is often harder than you’d expect. I’m guessing you understand how hard it is…because the legal system is inherently complicated. So is technology. Honestly, these days everything seems to gravitate towards…
A wise man once said “the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your decisions.” The same could be said of your Law Firm, and the decisions you make about how to improve it. There are lots of different kinds of decisions you have to make, right? Like what kind of cases you are going to handle. And how much you’ll charge. You have to decide where to spend money. Do you need practice management software? Or do you need a receptionist more? Maybe you can afford both and so the decision is easier. But what if…
There are, as you no doubt know, a lot of things that “seem like a good idea” but then turn out not to be so amazing. Or worse, they turn out to be useless, or some kind of waste of time, energy or money. Have you ever experienced that? Of course, you have. We all have. And it sucks, especially when it keeps happening again and again. I’m obsessed with learning how to avoid that phenomenon. And, because my mission in life is helping solo and small firm lawyers dramatically improve their practices, I’m obsessed with showing them (presumably YOU)…
Most people want the easy answer more than they want the right one. They convince themselves they’re interested in truth, but they’re actually more interested in not having to think too much. Thinking requires burning calories. Not thinking saves calories. Anyway, the truth (whether one is inclined to accept it or not) is we all have cognitive blindspots, most of which are driven by the desire/need to make quick decisions that don’t burn calories. And herein lies the potential for making bad decisions. But let’s take a break from such lofty discussions (which requires us to burn a tad too…
Making significant change is hard, but doing it without support is even harder. In theory, a lot of people are supporting you and want you to succeed. In practice, not as many do. Not because they don’t want to, or because they’re bad people. But just because, well… It’s a lot of things as I’m sure you know by now. Because if you’re like most people you’ve had that experience of not getting support from someone you expected would give it. Some people are just negativity zombies. So don’t expect them to be upbeat when they hear about how you…
A nice lawyer in my Co-Pilot coaching program recently emailed me asking for advice: “My biggest challenge is implementing a new system. Any good discipline tips to get the job done? It’s always…the best laid plans that go sideways for many reasons.” I answered her question in the monthly coaching call, but thought I’d share my response here as well because I know that her struggle with creating systems is pretty widespread among solo and small firm lawyers. Here’s an 18-minute video excerpt from the January Co-Pilot coaching call:…
It’s your #1 enemy if you want your law practice to be easy to manage. You know you hate complexity. But yet you let it overtake you. Why? It’s a common phenomenon. Let’s start with that… The author Tren Griffin once observed that “too many people take a situation and create complexity where none is needed.” He then went on to relate an illustrative story about NASA. Early in the space program, NASA discovered that ball point pens would not work in zero gravity. So their scientists spent a decade, and huge amounts of money, developing a pen that wrote…
What do you want most right now in your law practice? No doubt you’ve thought about new years’ resolutions, or setting goals etc. This is the time of the year when we all tend to reflect and take stock of where we are and where we’d like to be. So… As you reflect on where you are with your law practice, what is it that you are MOST eager do make happen? Or what’s happening that you’re most eager to minimize or eliminate? Maybe the question doesn’t seem so simple when you try to answer it. Maybe you want a…
If you’ve read the E-Myth book (or talked to anyone who extols its virtues), you’ve probably heard this notion of “working ON your business.” Perhaps you’ve heard that business owners should spend more time working ON their businesses. Working ON your business is what helps your business improve and grow. Whereas working IN your business is like being stuck in the mud with your car wheels spinning uselessly. A lot of solo and small firm lawyers have trouble wrapping their heads around exactly how to spend more time working ON their business. As usual, we lawyers tend to overcomplicate even…
I hope that 2019 was a great year for you and that 2020 will be even better. I hope that the inevitable challenges that you’ll face will help you grow stronger and wiser in ways that help you feel empowered and uplifted . I hope that you’re able to appreciate all the love and generosity that surrounds you (and me, and everyone on this beautiful amazing planet that we live upon). I hope that I’m able to help you more this coming year than I did last year. I realize that many people who receive my emails don’t know me…