Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Money time. How long does it take to get from prospect to income?

Someone has a legal problem that you can solve. Maybe you know her, maybe not. How long does it take for her to remember you or find your law practice, to trust and hire you?  If you’ve been marketing on a consistent basis, building credibility, nurturing referral sources, staying in touch with former clients, and asking for help in building your business, that cycle might be short. For most lawyers, however, a three-month lead time to building a pipeline is not unusual. September is a great time to start taking the actions that will set you up for a strong fourth quarter finish and an even stronger start to the new year.

Some of you charge retainers. Managed actively, they're a perfect match of cash flow to effort. Others will be working on a contingency or some other basis where you do the work before you get paid. That adds even more time to the period between signing a client and adding income. If you don't have tight communication and tickler processes, legal work that has no external deadline, like estate-planning, can stretch on and on due to client delays.

Get the picture? Take a look at how you're spending your time right now- and you can start to see how the year will end and what your pace will be as you hit the next quarter. Are you doing what you need to do to have your best year ever?

The Point

A day-to-day mindset won’t deliver a successful law practice. The results you see today are the product of the actions you took in the past. On your calendar, block out 60 minutes a week, call it “CEO-time”. You’ll start with a Financial Reality Check.  More about that next time.