What are you doing on your summer vacation?

August is the weakest month for billable hours in the United States, according to a Law 360 article published last month.

Taking advantage of downtown to relax and rejuvenate is an important aspect of all of our lives. But before you completely shut down, take time out to think about your business development strategy for the rest of the year. Consider these observations from the July/August issue of Law Practice Management:

  1. From a revenue standpoint, most American corporate firms will show little if any growth.
  2. An increasing number of corporate firm practices are viewed as undifferentiated.
  3. Most BigLaw firms lack leadership versed in business practices that allow them to map a purposeful course for growth.

No strategy for how you will grow or sustain your current practice in a low-growth, undifferentiated environment? You might want to rethink your summer plans. There is no better time than the present to take a step back and think long-term about your practice.

Here are four tips to start the process:

Solve your identity crisis: Without fail, nearly every firm I work with has an underlying identity problem. They don’t know who they are or, worse yet, they’ve invested the majority of their marketing in trying to look like everyone else. Start here and consider what you offer clients that no other firm offers.

Random Acts of Marketing: I probably overuse this phrase, but that is become the problem hasn’t gone away. If your marketing activities are not directly tied to a business generation goal, you are most likely engaging in random acts of marketing. This is expensive, time consuming and ultimately frustrating. To avoid RAM, identify first what you are trying to accomplish and develop a step-by-step plan of attack for getting there.

Trade “pitching” for purposeful conversations: To differentiate yourself fully, you need to stop selling services and start providing insight into your clients’ business that they don’t currently have. There is tremendous opportunity to leverage your firm’s intellectual property — your people — to develop compelling insights that will create demand for your services that no capabilities deck will be able to replicate.

Practice Reform: The competitive landscape for law firms is changing. If you aren’t rethinking the way you deliver legal services, someone else will. Law firms increasingly compete with technology companies, business consultants and hybrid organizations.

We are heading into the dog days of summer. What will you do with your free time?

Posted on July 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

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