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Not Your Average Business Plan

Credit: rno (Flickr)
Credit: rno (Flickr)
Do you have a business plan for your practice?  If you are like most of the attorneys I speak with, you don’t currently have one and you cringe at the thought of it.
I used to recommend writing a business plan as both the first step to going into practice and to grow or streamline an existing practice, but after enough push back from attorneys, I realized that my efforts were futile.  Yes, business planning is essential for attorneys; by writing down your plan you are forced to contemplate the underlying nature of and vision for your business, outline procedures that will streamline operations, and set goals to position your firm for growth.  Of course, we’ve highlighted the importance of business planning in previous posts and resources, here, here, and here.
So, if it is so helpful, you ask, why have I never received once received a business plan from a client after making the recommendation time and time again?  Well, it’s a daunting task; I’ll admit it myself.  Before I ventured into solo practice, my goal was to prepare a business plan.  As someone who previously helped entrepreneurs create business plans, I figured it couldn’t be such a difficult task.  But (here comes my big revelation), I never did it!  Ok, well, at least the type of plan you are probably envisioning.  What I did do was to put together a bare bones business outline that would help me take the necessary steps to open my practice and provide a roadmap for the future of my practice.
Most attorneys that I speak with don’t need a formal bankable business plan with pages and pages of narrative content and financial projections.  But, many would benefit from just the type of plan that I have described above: a business outline.  A business outline may span merely a page or two, and should address the most important aspects of your practice and help you to prioritize office management tasks.  Sounds a bit less daunting, right?
Not to worry, though, I don’t plan to throw you to the wolves.  I understand that my “business outline” might sound a bit amorphous.   That is why I pledge to deliver a short-form template business outline to you via this blog in the near future.  Last year, Jared promised a short-form template marketing plan and delivered it, here.  Jared didn’t let you down, and I won’t either.  So, stay tuned and you shall receive.
For those of you “gunners” out there, in the meantime, start by familiarizing yourself with our firm self-audit checklist and identifying where you need to focus your efforts.
Until then . . .