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Killer Tools for Weathering Tough Times in Your Practice

Running a law practice isn’t easy, especially when you’re a solo. Success or failure all runs with you, and this can wear away at you if you let it. The good times are great (you get to keep the extra profits), but the bad times are still just yours to deal with. Quite a heavy load to carry and one I’ve struggled with as a solo.

But what if you had some tools to help you with this? My good friend and fellow business coach Charley Mann gave me some great ideas that I wanted to pass along to you. Here are 4 tools for your disaster prep toolbox.

Tool 1: Realize That The Bad Times Aren’t Your Fault

As we all know, shit happens, and it can happen for many different reasons. It may happen due to a mistake that you made (which gives you an opportunity to learn from it), but more often than not it just happens. COVID is a great example of this, along with economic forces like recession.

The point is, don’t blame yourself! It isn’t all about you, so let go of it.

It’s all about mindset. It’s about realizing that the challenge is just that: one more challenge. The issue didn’t pop up to spite you or because of you. Your ability to conquer the obstacle is therefore dictated by your mindset.

Letting go of this and not blaming yourself can lift that mental anguish that can hold you back from dealing with it effectively.

Tool 2: Leverage Other People

If this is happening to you now, chances are there are colleagues out there that have dealt with it and prevailed. Hopefully you are a part of your local legal community (maybe your county bar association) and have the opportunity to talk to people about the problem. I have found that discussing legal obstacles with others often leads to solutions that hadn’t occurred to me.

Stop thinking only about what you can do for yourself and start thinking about where you can tap into other resources to advance your goal.

Tool 3: Build the Right Team

External resources are good, but you should also look within your firm for help. I have talked about the importance of having a team before, but it is a great resource in this context. As I said above, the bad times can feel like it’s all on your shoulders, but with a team, you can distribute the load.

You need to be able to distribute corrective work to every possible team member, because when the s* hits the fan, you can’t be stuck doing everything.

But you also have to have the right team to make this work. It’s not enough to have warm bodies occupying seats. You can’t have the crew in the boat rowing in different directions. Be sure to build your team carefully and strategically, getting rid of anyone who isn’t rowing with the crew.

Tool 4: Set Up Your Finances to Help You Make Better Decisions

Having the external and internal resources to deal with adversity is good, but you need to have the financial strategy as well. As you probably already know, your firm needs to have the cash flow to meet your monthly nut (including payroll), give you a draw that allows for a comfortable personal lifestyle, and a war chest of funds that allows you to invest in growth and take advantages of good opportunities that pop up.

But just as I advise my clients and listeners to my personal finance podcast, it’s important to have an emergency fund as well. This allows you to meet short term funding needs for regular overhead in slow or tough times, while not having to dip into your growth and marketing war chest.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make in bad economic times is to cut back on marketing. Don’t make this mistake; have the funds to continue on.

But what’s in the emergency account? This varies from firm to firm and is all about your executive decision-making capacity. How much money do you need to weather a short-term storm?

    • Do you need six months of expenses set aside? or
    • Do you just need money to make your next payroll?

Figure out what it is, and then be sure you have it.

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.

Want Help?

Need a fifth tool? Want another outside resource to help you with disaster prep, rather than helping you after it hits? I can help! Just click here to schedule a free, no obligation call to discuss whether we’d be a good fit!

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Steven J. Richardson

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