With so much going on with friends and family visiting over the next few weekends and with some desperate excitement from my children Megan and Samuel at the weekend, after a nice cold and long walk on Sunday morning we went to choose our Christmas Tree (much earlier than usual). Once it was decorated (dad does all the lights, mum does all the pretty bits, the kids run around and cause chaos) it was time for the annual viewing of the Christmas film Home Alone. If you have not yet seen it, it is a good, easy to watch family festive fun movie. An 8 year old boy (Macaulay Culkin) is left Home Alone in his house in Chigago whilst his parents frantically trying to get back to him from Paris (they realise mid-air that they left him behind).
The 8 year old realises that the policeman who called around before the family left to check that they were taking the necessary precautions to keep their house safe over the festive period was actually a burglar who planned to come back and raid their house. On the night that the burglars are planning to come back to take all of his family possessions he decides that he is going to defend the house against the two hapless robbers (the fake policeman and his friend). What I had not noticed before (we have watched this every year for about three years) is that in preparing for the raid on his house the boy draws out a full battle plan. He has a sketch of each room in the house and has written in each room how he is going to defend it and prevent the robbers from taking their heist. He follows his plan to the letter and of course comes out at the end of it all triumphant (it is an American family movie after all). He successfully defended his family’s home.
My question (and the point of this email for you) is “Do you have a detailed plan for your business?” Do you know how many new client files you need to open every month to produce the desired level of profit costs that you are trying to generate? Do you have a plan or picture of where you want your practice to be in three months, six months, twelve months, two years and five years? I know that planning is crucial to any business, mine included. I have plans for every part of my business. Sometimes they work to the letter of the plan, other times they underperform and on other occasions I out perform the plan. The point is, as I often say, there is no treasure without measure. By having a plan to work towards I can constantly check performance against the plan. I can adapt it, change it, modify it, but because I do have a written plan I do have a real chance of moving towards my desired outcomes; my goals.
Sadly on so many occasions I meet solicitors that do not have any plans for their business. They might have a vague idea of where they would like to be but it is not written down and it is in no way measured against timelines (deadlines). Without a plan and without attaching deadlines I know that it is virtually impossible for anyone to make the giant strides forward in their business. If you do not yet have a written plan with deadlines, take the time over Christmas to chrystalise the plan onto paper to ensure that 2011 will be a great year for your business. I will give you as much help as possible along the way, but unless you write your plans down I know how hard it will be for you to make any real and long term progress.
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Author: Nick Jervis