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5 Errors and Blunders That Can Cripple Your Success

Running any business, not just a law practice, is fraught with risk. Most businesses fail, while many others struggle. This is in good part because most business owners and professionals fail to do advanced planning. They rarely if ever set goals, and they almost never design systems aligned with their purpose, values, and mission that can help them to incrementally and consistently achieve those goals.

But what can you do to be sure that this doesn’t apply to you? Glad you asked!

I so happen to have a list of 5 common, yet avoidable, blunders that trap many law practices and that destroy, minimize, or severely delay their success. Here they are.

    1. Failing to Delegate Properly

When you start out as a solo, or go into practice with one or two colleagues, you tend to do everything yourself, many times to avoid the overhead of hiring staff. The problem is that wearing too many hats costs more opportunities than it saves.</>

This is why so many businesses grow out of business, rather than go out of business. They don’t effectively scale with growth and become overwhelmed with many key tasks remaining undone.

The solution to this is to delegate more of the right tasks (things that are not the very best uses of your time) to the right team member (you have a team, right?) to boost efficiency. You should also make sure that there are effective tracking systems in place to supervise the work, along with proper training of that team member to carry out the tasks.

How to get started? Identify three tasks to delegate next week, to whom they will be delegated, and how the work will be monitored. Then make a list of things that only you can really do, so that you can continue to delegate into the future and remove things from your plate that you don’t have to do.

    1. Ignoring Client Feedback

You may think that your clients love you and believe that you do good work, but have you checked? You might be surprised at what you discover. Ignorance of what your clients are thinking can lead to ongoing client dissatisfaction, reduced referrals, and many more negative results.

If your marketing isn’t in line with what your clients are thinking, you may not be building value for your services (and thus have people think your fees are too high) or attracting the kinds of clients you want to work with.

You need to seek out and use client feedback to continually refine your systems for delivering legal services to meet (or better yet exceed) client expectations, which can also lead to more referrals.

Devise a script for your staff to use to ask questions of clients that will help you improve your practice. Once you have enough data, meet with your team to devise ways to integrate this feedback into your systems to deliver legal services as well as your marketing and sales.

    1. Underestimating & Not Enhancing Company Culture

Building the best team possible, getting the right people in the right positions, can significantly enhance efficiency, profits, and growth. But a toxic culture in your office can keep talent from joining you and cause people to quit, resulting in high turnover and a loss of productivity.A great culture that’s aligned with who you are, and what you do for others (with clarity) and a sense of purpose can drive recruitment, attract the best talent, and reduce turnover.

You need to foster a culture that aligns with your business and personal values. Plan meetings with each team member privately to get feedback from them on work culture in your office. Use the feedback from each person to get an overall sense of the team dynamic and culture. Then implement suggested improvements and do more of what works. You always run the risk of someone leaving, but at least you reduce the chances of it being because they are unhappy.

    1. Neglecting Data and Metrics

I have said many times that you shouldn’t implement any plan or strategy, in marketing or in any other way you run your practice, that you can’t measure against KPIs. Managing without data is like flying blind. But it’s vital to know what the metric stands for and means, and you need as accurate a data set as possible.

You could be spending thousands of dollars on an advertising and marketing strategy and not make much in gross fee. It could be costing you more than the fee it brings in or it could be making you less than other strategies you have in place.

Another marketing plan might be cheaper, but bringing in a higher multiple of cost in fees. As such, spending more on this strategy could bring in even more fees (and the funds for this expansion could come from the other plan with the anemic ROI). You would never know any of this unless you were measuring the results.

You could have implemented a new system in your office (or new technology) in order to make things more efficient, but they end up costing too much or causing you to spend more time, not less.

All decisions on strategy should include the assigning of KPIs to measure performance. Then start making decisions with concrete data measured against those KPIs. At the same time always be asking what could be wrong with the KPI or the data.

Start by setting up tracking for three key metrics (KPIs) in your systems and/or marketing and review them weekly. Make notes on what they tell you and how you can use this data in essential business functions.

    1. Poor Financial Management

You need to keep a close eye on your numbers. If you have delegated finances like an office manager, you have to oversee them regularly. Sloppy financial oversight leads to cash flow crises, and you don’t want that! You must enforce strict financial reporting, regular reviews, and controls, so you can catch small problems before they become big ones.

If you haven’t already, identify and reduce one unnecessary expenditure and diary a regular review of your profit and loss statement each week, day, or month, depending on your cash flow.

Keeping these 5 blunders and mis-steps out of your practice will significantly increase the likelihood of success.

Want More?

Was this helpful? Intriguing? Thought provoking? Well, there’s more where that came from! You can get great business and professional practice tips in your inbox every week by subscribing to my newsletter!  You’ll get actionable, bite-sized tips every Friday to help you make more money by spending less time and providing better legal services!

Want even more? You can avail yourself of the many resources I provide free of charge. Whether it be my newsletter, my posts on LinkedIn, my videos, or my web site, you will find useful, actionable information and tools for being more successful.

Need More?

Do you want to be sure you avoid these errors and blunders, but don’t know where to start or exactly how to approach it? I can help! Just click on this link to schedule an initial, no obligation call with me to discuss your situation and what value I can bring to the table.

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Steven J. Richardson

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