Our Top 4 Lessons Learned from our First Year in Business
As cliche as it sounds, it truly is hard to believe that Laura and I (Amy) have officially been in partnership and running our law practice together for an entire year. This year has truly flown by so quickly, but not without lessons learned and tremendous growth as attorneys and business owners along the way.
This week, on our podcast, Be The CEO of Your Life and Business, Laura and I review our top 4 lessons learned from our first year in business together. For our blog this week, we wanted to recap those lessons and encourage you to check out episode 26 of our podcast to hear more about each of them!
Lesson #1: Cast Your Vision
For many, the idea of a vision casting session or pre-business brainstorming and think tank with your business partner(s) might seem unproductive. You are probably so excited to dive right into business and get to work. Trust us - we can totally relate! As attorneys - and especially as litigators and transactional attorneys - we know deadlines can run the pulse of our business and our daily activities. But, for Laura and I, it was important to us to have an initial partners’ meeting at the start of our firm, where we could discuss what our core values are and how we would show up in business true to those values. We put certain things on our vision board, such as starting a podcast, expanding certain practice areas, and maintaining a social media presence -- all of which we achieved in our first year of business. We are firm believers that, had we not cast this vision from the start, we would not have achieved these goals because they would not have been in the back of our minds as we went along day to day. We encourage you to take the time to cast the vision for your business and what your goals are for how your business will serve others.
Lesson #2: Make a Plan
With goals and vision fresh in your mind, make a plan as to how you can achieve these things. It does not have to be a full blown business plan - often, that can be paralyzing. It can be paralyzing to ruminate about every little detail before starting. Instead, make a general plan with deadlines and benchmarks along the way. Then, reverse engineer how to you can meet these deadlines. Even if you take just one action per day towards your goals, in a year’s time, that means you would have taken 365 actions towards that goal. Consistent action over time breeds success.
Lesson #3: Know Your Numbers
As Laura aptly said in the podcast this week, you cannot know where you are going if you don’t know where you are. Start where you stand - figure out what your numbers are for your business. What are your monthly and yearly expenses? How much revenue are you earning from your products or services? What areas of your business are performing the best? Does your business provide for repeat service to current customers or do you have to be on the hunt for new business always? Key here is REEVALUATION. Evaluate everything! From how many hours you spend performing certain tasks to who your top producers are to whether there are expenses you can cut or reduce. If you do not know where you are in this very moment, how can you cogently and realistically plan for expansion, growth, or new business that can be supported by sufficient capital? While this task may be daunting to many because you don’t want to face the harsh truths of your business’s financial health or you don’t understand how the numbers work, MAKE the time to understand and MAKE the adjustments you need.
Lesson #4: Focus on Service First
Listen, we all know that we go into business to earn a living or make additional income if perhaps the business venture is a side hustle. When your focus is solely on your bottom line, your service will slip. It is plain and simple. Because when the focus is on how much money you are earning, then your focus is on YOU, not your customer or client. In our legal practice, we are a service industry. We are professionals, licensed to serve our clients as their legal counsel. And that is how Laura and I lead our relationships with our clients. We focus on serving them with the best service we can provide. Success will flow, money will flow, and joy in your work will flow when your service is top quality. This goes for the business’s internal culture as well - when you focus on serving your employees and your partnerships and leading your team with a service mentality, you can help your employees succeed, and their individual success will flow into all avenues of your own business.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls and communications. Contacting us, however, does not create an attorney-client relationship.