Keeping pace with me this year? Welcome! Perhaps you enjoyed the leap last week?
Now that we've broken in the year, but before we reach the end of the first month, there are some basics that you have to take on in order to stay on track and out of the doghouse. (It might be a doghouse you have to put yourself in, but it's a doghouse.)
- You must always know your practice targets. You have to know why you are working, and what results you want to create in your life. We're talking financial, time, and impact targets. I do know there are those of you who are genuinely not motivated by money. In that case, the minimum standard of financial target is break-even for your practice and your retirement savings.
- You have to choose a marketing focus. You need to have a hypothesis about who your target prospects are and how you are going to serve them in order to meet your practice targets. This focus starts at the highest level with "market segment" and is defined more and more until it's a specific person's name. You need this to direct your marketing actions.
- You need to develop a habit of making three quality marketing connections a week. We can argue about the number and the "quality" part, but let's do it offline. That's to maintain a practice. Growing? You can guess. It's higher.
- Timekeeping, billing and collections must be done TIMELY. You can set your standard, I suggest timekeeping daily, billing and collections monthly, on a schedule. Even if you're not billing time- keep time. Then you have the data to verify whether your fees are in line, or if you're taking cases that are unprofitable. Billing is a client service. Be timely.
- You have to have a contact management process, and it's best to support that with technology. Really. If you don't start and maintain your contacts from the time you have ten of them, then, when you have a lot more, you don't have time. And THEN- you never get the dang Arbor Day cards out. Here's a link to a Michael Port resource that discusses some base level CRM as well as the 10-ton big trucks of CRM systems. (Yep, Book Yourself Solid is a good resource. Check it out. Use it. Don't get lost in it.)
- You must spend time weekly to review your status and plan your time the following week. Weekly planning. Must do it. I want you to do daily reviews too.
- You must have a client intake process and you need to think about how to welcome clients to your practice as well. The real sale is after the sale. (Someone said it, I don't know who, apologies.) Your first impression needs to be professional. Good intake also makes your life easier.
Had enough? All right. I'm going to stop. These are all important. Get these ducks in a row to stay out of the doghouse. PACE. Big trucks. Mixed metaphors. Bad writing. Good list!