Business planning for law firms is often overlooked.

Does your practice have a business plan?

I was presenting a session at the Sole Practitioners course at the College of Law in Sydney on Friday and I asked the same question.

These were sole practitioners who were about to commence practice, be that an existing practice or starting a new one.

Only about 10% of the attendees were able to say that the law firm that they currently worked in had a business plan.

In my experience those numbers correlate to the wider small business community, where preparing a business plan seems to be seen as an unnecessary waste of time.

The interesting thing is that if you were to ask a CEO of a larger business such as BHP, if they had a business plan, I suspect most of us would expect that they would.

Indeed I would suspect that we would be horrified if the CEO told us that they didn’t do them because they considered them a waste of time.

BHP makes billions of dollars of profit and most smaller law firms make nothing like that.

So who can most afford to not plan, BHP making billions or a small law firm?

To me one of the most critical parts of the business planning process is developing your vision for your practice.

What I said to this group of sole practitioners is that “If you don’t have a clear vision for your practice, then someone else is likely to impose their vision of your practice on you and it may not be to your liking”

Needless to say, one of the exercises that I took this group through was developing a vision for their practice. In a number of cases this was the first time that they had really thought about what they wanted from practice and they were just about to start.

I know from subsequent comments to me that many found the exercise valuable and gave them a clearer idea of what they wanted to achieve.

So do you have a clear vision of your practice, or are you letting people like your clients or your staff impose their vision for your practice on you?

If your practice is not running how you would like it, I suggest that time spent developing a vision for what you really want would be a good place to start.

As Michael Gerber ( author of the E-Myth Why Most Businesses Don’t work and what you can do about it) wisely said “ Start with the End in Mind”

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