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Sharp CEO Thinking Is What’s Going to Make Your Law Firm Great

I launched my business 10 years back.  I went at it full time five years ago this coming week when my employer said it was time to go.

Just like a lawyer running a law firm, I know what it’s like to run a business.  I know what it means to depend on your wits, hard work and determination to:

  • Struggle to pay your bills on time,
  • keep cash flow positive,
  • make payroll, and
  • keep your business taking over your entire life.

It has sometimes felt like I’m wrapped in a robe of misery and morning.  I remember times when I longed for the steady pay check days thinking, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”  I had the skills my customers wanted from me.  That’s what got the business started, but those skills and my raw talent were no longer cutting it.  I couldn’t bring in enough paying customers to grow the business past a certain point.

What has worked best for me is to stop and analyze.  This takes self-awareness.  Where I usually need is to focus on what I do best.  That is sales, marketing and lead generation.  It includes translating what I envision for a client into something my team can implement.  Of course, I can still do delivery work, but it isn’t what I do best and my business needs me in other roles.  Getting pulled into delivery work stresses me out so  I need to delegate.

So what does this mean for me practically.  I means I need to continue to improve at doing the things I do best so I get even better at them.  It also means giving the ones I’m not best at to someone else. That includes putting the checks in place so they don’t slowly creep back to me, leaching off my time and keeping me from my top responsibilities.  For some reason, these seems to creep back.  It never ends.

I’d like to say this is easy, but it isn’t.  Something what works for me is to reflect on my history.  It’s easy to over focus on what’s NOT working.  We can ignore and even forget all that we’ve accomplished.  Unless we are a total failure, and most of us aren’t, what we’ve been doing got us pretty far and that’s an accomplishment.  Recognizing those wins every once in while keeps the negativity in check.  That renewed point of reference is important.

With a renewed sense of self-confidence, we can now more clearly look at what every business owner, and not just every law firm owner, needs.  We need to make it a priority to remove obstacles.  We can’t be the one doing the work.  We should be clearing the way so others on our team can do the work efficiently.  If you have a mountain sized obstacle you need tackled, so let your team do and you look for ways to make the mountain less tall.  That can involve bringing in expert talent to deal with problem you’ve never addressed before.  It can involve hiring someone new or outsourcing it.  It can mean formalizing and improving your systems and processes.

If it’s lead generation, there are people that do that and do it well. Consider doing that so you don’t have to struggle with that. (Shameless plug: Call us.)  If it’s finance, operations or hiring, get help in that area.  We have to stop thinking like an engineer, in my case, or like a lawyer if you’re a divorce attorney, and more like a CEO.  Our job needs to be to really run the business.

Unfortunately, it isn’t what we were trained to do.  It isn’t what got our business started.  It isn’t what got us to this point.  It is what is going to take us to the proverbial next level and release us from the bondage of our business.  You should do this so you convert your job, which is what it likely is, into a business that eventually won’t need you.

Hope this helps!