Why you need the 2020 Law Firm Business Planner
As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to think about the direction you want your firm to take next year. What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months?
If you need a helping hand defining your vision for growth, speak with a FindLaw legal marketing expert to get your 2020 Law Firm Business Planner, a collection of useful worksheets to help you identify your business goals and the steps to take to accomplish them. From figuring out your business plan to tracking your budget, it has what you need to make your firm’s dreams a reality.
Take a look at what’s inside this year’s planner.
One-page Business Plan
As an attorney, your days are filled with meetings, court and paperwork, which means you don’t have a lot of time to create a lengthy business plan. This portion of the planner cuts to the chase and gets to the root of why you do what you do, providing room to share your firm’s vision, mission, goals and more. But while it’s just one page, don’t be afraid to get detailed.
Answer the following questions when you fill out your firm’s business plan for 2020:
- What need is your firm addressing?
- What makes your firm different than the one down the street?
- Who is your ideal client?
- How will you make money?
- What channels will you use to promote your firm?
You can bet the legal industry is going to look different in the next few years. Think about it, Siri wasn’t even around ten years ago and by 2020, voice-based searches are estimated to make up more than 50 percent of all searches. To survive, your firm must have a strong and focused vision for the future. This section is where you can summarize what your firm hopes to achieve in the next one, three and five years.
Tips for creating your business vision:
- Keep it short and simple so anyone can clearly understand it
- Be ambitious with what you want to accomplish but make sure it’s attainable
- Use present tense when writing to create more immediacy
- Share your vision with staff to bring awareness and create interest
Business Goal Planner
This part of the planner is where to set major goals for your firm to focus on throughout the year. You can write down what you want to do, why you want to do it and how you’re going to get it done. Nailing down the specifics helps you stay organized and focused on the path in front of you.
When setting your yearly goals, avoid these three common traps:
- Failing to make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely)
- Not assigning responsibility to a specific goal
- Underestimating how long it will take to complete a task or project
Before you look too far into the future, the Growth Strategy section gives you room to take a step back and reflect. Use this page to look back at 2019 and write down the peaks and valleys of each month to figure out opportunities for growth. How did the Facebook campaign that you ran in March perform? What were your pay-per-click results in June? How many views did the animated video get when you shared it in September? A close look at this year’s marketing performance can uncover your 2020 direction.
When thinking about your growth strategy, consider the different types of media you’re currently using and where there is room to expand. The three types are:
- Earned Media (others control): Examples include reviews, shares, mentions, recommendations
- Paid Media (you control): Examples include pay-per-click, social campaigns, display ads
- Owned Media (you control): Examples include your website, blog, social platforms, legal directory listings, case studies
Quarterly Goal Planner
You know the direction you want your firm to go, now it’s time to set some goals. The quarterly goal planner is the place to write down three main goals for each quarter of 2020, along with the strategies, objectives, tactics and target date of each.
Tips for creating your quarterly goals:
- Prioritize what matters most
- From your three core goals, create two to three supporting goals
- Consider how you will monitor your progress on a monthly basis
Budget Tracker and 90-day Review
Arguably one of the most important tools, the budget tracker keeps your firm’s finances in order and helps you clearly map out your spending for the year. Although it can seem daunting and time consuming, following a realistic budget allows you to better control costs while helping you meet your goals.
And while you’re keeping a pulse on your budget, you can assess how you’re doing in with a 90-day review. Asking questions like “What have we achieved this quarter?”, this section gives you the space to figure out what you’ve accomplished, what to focus on next quarter and how your firm’s performance is aligning with your overall vision and mission.
When tracking your budget, keep these tips in mind:
- Surprises happen so be prepared for unexpected expenses
- Budget slightly more than what you anticipate
- Review your budget on a monthly basis