It’s January! With 2015 off and rolling it’s time to plan for the rest of the year. It’s time for businesses to set goals and implement strategies to achieve them. At ESS Settlements, we are setting our S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year. If you’re a law firm, don’t tune out because in 2015, you’re also a business. Law isn’t just a profession anymore. The practice of law has become the business of law. Success is not just about winning cases, it’s also turning a profit, earning a living and dealing with budgets, revenues and costs. We see many lawyers not thriving financially, not because they are bad lawyers but because they are poor at running a business.
In order to succeed lawyers should be smart and set S.M.A.R.T. goals. This means that goals should fit the following characteristics:
Specific: General goals are hard to work toward and achieve in any tangible way. For example, if the goal is “to network more,” what does that even mean? It’s too vague. A specific goal would be to join a networking group and attend events twice a week.
Measurable: There must be concrete criteria for evaluating progress. Making three new contacts a month would be a way to quantify success. At the end of a month, you can ask yourself “did I make three contacts this month?” and if you did, you’ve achieved your goal!
Attainable: If you just wander the streets blindly without a plan or never actually leave your office because you’re swamped with work, there’s no way for you to actually network with three new people every month. It’s nearly impossible! Make sure your goal is something that you’re both willing and able to work for within the constraints of your job, relationships and other responsibilities. Also, don’t be afraid to aim high, but keep your goals realistic. It’s reasonable to expect to make three new contacts in a month, but aiming for 20 might not work.
Relevant: How does your goal drive your business or firm forward? What are you trying to accomplish? Your goal should contribute to the success of your business in some way, otherwise it may not be a good use of time and resources or you may not be motivated to work for it. By networking at events, you promote your firm, generate leads which may become clients or referral sources and meet people you may want to hire, if the need arises.
Timely: Your goal must be grounded by an actual timeframe. “Someday” is not a deadline, but by May 1, for example works. Deadlines motivate people to take action immediately, while vague end points enable people to stretch even the simplest tasks out indefinitely. Being successful means actually getting stuff done.
We wish everyone the best for the rest of 2015 and encourage S.M.A.R.T. business!