It’s the end of the year and if you’re sitting there thinking “wow, there’s so much more I wanted to accomplish,” you’re not alone. The end of the year comes up fast! The key to making sure you cross off the items that are going to set you on the path to success in 2020 is by spelling out goals.
In fact, research shows that 90% of the time, setting specific goals leads to more success and those with goals are ten times more successful than those without. For lawyers who are setting goals, there’s a lot that contributes to the growth of a law firm, so make sure you’re thinking big picture and pulling in goals that encompass every facet.
When setting goals, you want to be sure that they’re:
- Achievable (a 10% increase in revenue versus double)
- Time-specific (to give a deadline so it gets done)
- Concrete (bring in five new clients next month versus vague “I want to be successful” goals)
Here are some areas you should focus on including in your 2020 law firm goals and examples of tangible, reasonable initiatives.
Data-driven Decision Making
As you set your goals, make sure you have the data you need in front of you to make an informed decision. After all, how can you set goals if you don’t know where you currently stand? The direction of next year’s strategy should be based on data to make sure it’s possible and that’s there no immediate red flags that need to be addressed, such as high revenue but very low profits.
Marketing & Business Development
Review your current marketing efforts and evaluate what’s been successful over the past year. From there, you can determine where to increase or decrease revenue. You also want to decide on a budget for your marketing.
Once you have that information, you can set a goal for your marketing campaigns in the new year. Those goals will help you decide what marketing strategies to use to make it happen.
For example, maybe you want to increase the number of new clients that come from somewhere other than referral sources. You could set a goal of “bring in ten new clients through digital marketing in the first quarter” or even something as simple as “establish a strong brand presence on social media.”
These goals will let you know what steps you need to take to make them happen, like getting a new website, setting up email campaigns or optimizing your social media profiles and filling them with engaging content. Have the goals before you set your strategies to make sure the plan for the coming year is meant to help you achieve those particular objectives.
You want to deliver nothing less than an exceptional experience for your client without overwhelming your staff to the point where they’re unable to do their jobs. There’s always room for improvement, so take a look at client feedback over the past year to see what you can work on.
Examples of client management goals could be:
- Create a client portal for more secure, consistent communication within two months
- Convert to a cloud-based system to improve the ability to access client information on the go by the second quarter
- Create task lists in your practice management system to cover everything you need for client intake for one practice area a month
Business Management & Operations
Think about the bottlenecks are in your current processes, what would have the most immediate impact on the firm and how to free up more hours to focus on billable time. Be sure to review your financial documents to evaluate the firm’s current standings and what may need to be addressed. For example, if you’re seeing a low utilization rate that could mean there are inefficiencies that could benefit from automation.
Examples of goals to set could include:
- Increase employee retention by 6 months
- Automate collections to reduce the time spent on it by 6 hours a month
- Reduce overhead by 5% by the second quarter
All of these goals should support a streamlined firm that’s built to last. For your firm to stand the test of time and continue to grow, it’s important to focus on the specific things you need to achieve for it to happen. By taking some time to lay out the plan for the following year and what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to set up what steps you need to take for a successful 2020.