It’s a new year and the possibilities seem endless. Whether you are calling it a new year’s resolution or hope springing eternal, you are likely looking forward to all the opportunities a new year brings. This may be your best year ever – the year you bring in all the clients you want and generate the kind of income you deserve!
Or maybe not.
Will You Bring in More Business This Year?
You are probably familiar with one popular definition of “insanity” – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result. If you are consistently happy with the results you are getting, keep doing what you’re doing! If not, something has to change. I know. Bummer.
If taking steps to improve your business development results seems like the big, hairy monster hiding under your bed, take heart. While you may have heard that to get real results you must have a detailed business development plan plotted in writing, that’s simply not the case. Even if you do decide to craft a formal plan at some point in the future, you certainly need not start with something so overwhelming, formal or time-consuming.
Go Back to Basics to Bring in More Business
Instead of avoiding the issue of business development, spinning in circles not knowing what to do, wondering what’s wrong with you or using hope as a strategy, follow these 5 simple steps to get on the path to more business than ever.
Step 1: Know Your Numbers. First, make sure you know precisely how much business you have brought in for each of the last five years. Take note of any trends, for example, whether your business development has increased, decreased or is fairly consistent from year to year.
Step 2: Know Your Sources. Next, educate yourself about where and from whom your business is coming. What percentage of your business is from referral sources and which ones? Is there one particular lawyer, vendor or client that refers to you over and over again? Are there clients that give you repeat business? Others that don’t give you much business but do give you plenty of indigestion? Having this information will enable you to determine where and with whom to spend most of your business development time and resources.
Step 3: Set A Clear Intention. How much business do you want to bring in this year? Don’t just say “more than last year” or “more than my #$%&@! law partner.” Pick an actual dollar amount (or your legal tender of choice). Come up with a number that’s not so low (and safe) that you won’t have to stretch yourself to achieve it and not so high (and terrifying) that you won’t even bother trying. Now, write it down. Commit to it. Even better, tell someone you trust what the number is. Might you come in under your target amount? Sure, but if you don’t commit to a number, you don’t have something to aim for (or exceed).
Step 4: Identify Your Ideal Clients. Who are the clients you are trying to attract? You won’t attract everyone and if “everyone” is your target market, you won’t know where to look for them or how to let them know how you can be helpful. The same goes for “employers,” “foreign nationals,” “small businesses” and “people charged with a crime.” When you get more specific about whom you serve and what you do for them, you will be able to get much more focused in your marketing efforts.
Step 5: Choose 2 Primary Marketing Strategies and Commit to Them. Notice I didn’t ask you to pick 10 marketing strategies. You are only one person with a limited amount of time and resources to spare. A scattered approach to marketing is usually not rewarded and, worse, it often results in anxiety and frustration. Use the information you uncovered in Step 2 to help you decide which marketing activities might be the most lucrative (and enjoyable) for you, but be open to other options as well. Consider networking with referral sources, volunteering and participating with a trade organization, giving seminars to groups of your ideal clients, writing for a publication your clients rely on, or even offering new services to existing clients.
Your business development plan need not be complex or overwhelming. Take the simple approach and make this your best year ever.