Let’s face it… you’ve been punched in the face.
With approximately 44% of UK businesses now operating a skeleton structure and 20% shutting down completely, it might seem like now is the time to just knuckle down, because (1) you have fewer staff to do the work (furlough, etc) and you need to do it yourself; and (2) you’re simply trying your best to get through this and out the other end bruised rather than battered. However, lawyers are smart and the ones we have been speaking to see an opportunity to get their businesses ready for when things start to get back to normal, whatever guise that takes.
The gift of time
We have all been given the gift of time. Did we earn it? No. Did we expect it? No. Should we use it to blow apart the deep-rooted approach of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and get our business ready to grow post-lockdown? Absolutely, YES! Let’s create new ways of working that will be pandemic-proof in these areas.
To build a growth business, you must work on your business, not just in it.
How to work ON your business
It would be plain silly to try and tackle projects in every area at once. If you try – and we’ve known one or two firms who set out to – nothing gets finished because there’s no focus. In fact, you end up in total chaos.
To compound the problem, you work according to your personal preferences and habits. You do the things you’re comfortable with and probably avoid areas you don’t understand (most business owners avoid technology, accounts and dealing with problem staff, for example). So, where do you focus for growth?
What our partners say
One of our key partners, Graeme McKinstry, Director of McKinstry Practice Management said: “There is no space here for a full-scale, empirical management analysis of the material differences. For ease and convenience, in this article ‘IN’ is the lawyer in you… ‘ON’ is the business owner you are.
“The consequences of COVID-19 are already horrendous for businesses, and its direct and indirect impacts on legal practices are incalculable. However, during lockdown you have an unprecedented opportunity now, with space and time like never before which is not interrupted by ‘IN’ activities, to work on ‘ON’ activities.”
Graeme outlined a 10-point plan to maximise your ‘ON’ approach:
- Attitude: Recognise now that change for all is essential and no longer an optional extra. The status quo won’t cut it post-lockdown.
- Action: Prepare a consultation with key colleagues, because buy-in is important. Outline various plans, each of which starts with a blank sheet of paper.
- Finance (WiP): A typical guide is that a law practice may have between three and four months’ of work in progress that is simply work done but not charged. Now is an ideal opportunity to convert those files into fees. This is an easy quick fix and will help cash flow.
- Budget: Plan ahead and work to a strategy. The budgeting approach can be either incremental, simply by adding or subtracting an appropriate proportion of each cost, or alternatively the more empirical approach of zero-based budgeting.
- Fee structure: Not all work is suitable for each approach and it is perhaps time to tailor the fee approach to the type of work you do.
- People: Carry out your HR audit. Who do you employ? What do they do? Are there better options, e.g. sharing or outsourcing some facilities like cashroom, reception, etc?
- Premises: Are they fit for purpose? Too big? In the wrong place? Sublet? Co-operative?
- Marketing: Use your existing client base to explore. Technology, like CaseLoad’s CRM from Denovo, will help to identify your clients by age, location or work type.
- External marketing: Leave nothing untouched, and at least explore and analyse the benefits of social media, website, radio, press and email marketing.
- Business model: Will your model be fit for purpose looking to the future? Are you too big? Too small? Too specialised? Too general? Is the market too local? Do you retain the skills to develop the practice for the future?
#In this together
We have worked with the likes of The McKinstry Company and many others to help them take the pulse of their business, as well as analyse all aspects of their firm data, to allow them to make data-driven, informed decisions.
Every symptom needs a unique solution
It doesn’t matter what your problem is – time or marketing, cash flow or staffing, service or technology problems – gowth can only restart when you diagnose your barrier for growth and then build a solid action plan to address it.
Utilising software, like CaseLoad, is simple, uncomplicated and cost-effective. And it will get your business growing faster.
To read the full insight article and learn more about how to grow your business using CaseLoad, visit denovobi.com/insights-hub. If you would like to know more about how to begin a partnership with Denovo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0141 331 5290.