Setting goals can feel like a New Year’s fad, but goals for your law firm can provide crucial support in guiding your decisions in the year(s) ahead. Goals mean that instead of reacting to whatever happens, you’re proactively driving your firm to where you want to go.
So, what should you keep in mind when setting your law firm’s business goals for 2022?
Start with metrics for the big picture
To know where you want to go, you first need to know where you are right now.
Start by leveraging data and metrics gathered by your practice management system. For example, assess your firm’s financials, and if issues come up, that’s probably a good place to focus on for making changes and setting goals.
If you don’t have any red flags right now, look for trends in the data to inform the steps and timeline you’d need to be on to get to where you want to go.
Keep in mind that goals with specific steps will serve you better than vague, generalized ideas that aren’t grounded in information about your particular situation.
Build a marketing plan
For most law firms, creating or updating a marketing plan will be part of your business goals. That’s especially true heading into 2022 since the last couple of years have vastly changed many marketing plans, and certain practice areas are continuing to be buffeted by resulting economic shifts.
Take a look at last year’s marketing efforts anyway. Where did you have success? And where did things fall short?
Covid may mean you find yourself embracing a more virtual marketing strategy that focuses on social media, your website, and e-newsletters.
Improve the client experience
To keep clients coming back—and referring you to their friends—it’s important to think about the experience you’re offering them. It may be strong already, but there’s usually some room for fine-tuning that helps you stay ahead of the competition.
For instance, client expectations have shifted dramatically over the past two years to the point where many people expect law firms to offer the location-independent experience they enjoy with other services.
Strategies that create a more streamlined experience for your clients include:
- Offering online intake forms so that they can complete all required paperwork from the convenience of home
- Using a secure client portal to share documents for signing
- Accept credit cards for hassle-free online payment options—just don’t forget to use a legal-specific merchant
All these changes can give your clients a more seamless and pleasant experience.
Support your team
Your team works hard, and their happiness can impact how your law firm runs. So do what you can to give them the full support of modern technology.
For example, taking the time to create standardized workflows can help keep everyone on the same page. Workflows can also help eliminate tangles and miscommunications. So why not take actionable steps to help boost morale?
Likewise, a single-platform billing and accounting system can save time by eliminating double data entry—a task no one really enjoys in the first place.
And don’t forget, you’re part of the team, too! A single-platform system can also let you run three-way reconciliation, saving a lot of time and stress.
Once you have a sense of the business goals that will help your firm head in the direction you want, you’ll need to decide how and when to implement them.
For instance, if you want to set up a secure client portal to accommodate clients who don’t want to come by the office to sign papers and you want to switch to a legal billing and accounting platform that offers three-way reconciliation, you may be considering switching to a single-platform practice management system with cloud capabilities.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to research platforms, give them a test run, and prepare for migration. These are specific and actionable goals—you just need to decide on a timeline.
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