Ten Ways to Manage a Rapidly Growing Practice
By Alvah Parker
Submitted March, 2006
While some attorneys with their own practices face the issue of not enough clients, others face the issue of too many clients. Both are serious issues and must be dealt with carefully. There are many lists on how to find new clients. Here is a list of 10 ways to deal with a rapid influx of new customers. The goal is a steady flow of just the right clients so that the attorney has the time to deliver excellent service but still has time for him/herself.
Know the client is right for your practice.
Get really clear about your ideal client so you can be selective when there are too many business opportunities and you do not have time to accept them all.
Have a specialty that you are known for.
Specialize so that you get really good at what you are doing. You can then service more clients quickly.
Eliminate clients who drain you.
If a client takes too much of your time and wear you out, that client is costing you money. Look for ways to predict who will be a time-consuming draining client and avoid them. Find ways to eliminate serving those clients.
Create systems to support you.
Examples are: a good practice development system* that provides you with the clients you need, a good bookkeeping system to keep track of expenses and revenue, a client tracking system with a database of clients names, addresses, and other useful information.
*Even though it may seem like you have too many clients at the moment, that flow will stop unless you keep marketing.
Off load routine tasks to others.
What are the repetitive tasks you hate to do but which you know are necessary to run your business? Many administrative tasks are easily taught to a support person and by doing so you make more time in your day to see clients.
Leave time in your day for reflection and self-care.
Doing the tasks of the practice is of course necessary. Many get so focused on their task lists that they never have time to take a strategic look at the business. Putting aside time every week helps you to find more ways to work with the clients you want to. Leave some time too for taking care of you. This means making time for doctor’s appointments, hair care, massage therapy, exercise, meditation and anything else that provides for your health and well being.
Set firm boundaries.
Don't allow a client to play on your sympathies and convince you to do something you know you should refuse (i.e. too time consuming, not your specialty and/or for free). Doing favors for others is not a favor to you!
If all the clients coming to you are your ideal clients then it is time to raise fees. This will sort the clients that are willing to pay more for your services and those who are not. Revisit your fee structure at least once a year.
Refer to others.
When clients are not your ideal clients / customers or when your ideal clients cannot afford your fee, have a list of other attorneys to whom you can refer
Hire another lawyer to help you do the work.
Once you have off loaded all the repetitive tasks it may become necessary to hire another attorney who does the work that you do to work with you.
About the Author: Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor to attorneys and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker’s Value Program© enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. While she specializes in working with attorneys she also works with other professionals, and coaches people in transition. Alvah is found on the web and may also be reached at 781-598-0388.
Copyright © 2004-2006 Alvah Parker.All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you believe you may lawfully use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article under the Fair Use exception to copyright law, except as otherwise authorized by the author of the article, you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.