The Business Instructor: Hard lessons, dark mornings, and triple growth
Some lessons are easy to learn, some are harder.
Personally, one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is when to quit. I have a strong aversion to quitting anything.
Refusing to quit can be a good thing – commitment, tenacity, and determination can be great qualities that help us keep going to get the results we want, even when times are tough.
But sometimes not knowing when to quit can hold us back.
“What got you here, won’t necessarily get you there” is an expression I’ve found to be all-too-true when it comes to growing your practice or firm.
Sometimes we hang on to activities or habits that worked well for us once but might not be the best use of our time any longer.
Which means you might have to quit something that’s worked well for you up to now, in order to make room for something else that can help you get to the next stage of your practice growth.
For me, that thing was being a member of a weekly networking group.
When I first started my business in 2010, networking seemed like a good way to get new clients. So I joined a weekly networking group. And it worked – I got new clients as a result of meeting them at the networking meeting or being introduced to them by others from my group.
And I kept doing it – even though I hated getting up at 5.30am every Wednesday to go to the meetings (especially on those dark, cold, winter mornings!) and even though I resented the impact those early mornings would have on me for the rest of the week.
I put up with it for the first 2 years because it was working.
But as I got busier with new clients, the 3 hours it took to travel to and attend the meetings became more and more of a challenge. Not to mention the time needed between meetings to follow up with people I’d met, or to work on providing referrals to others in the group. Now it wasn’t just about the early mornings, but also about the time it was all taking each week.
I wondered if I should leave, and free up the time to do something else instead.
But I knew it was bringing me new clients, so I was afraid to cut off that source (“What if I don’t get enough new clients?”).
I kept going for another 2 years. During that time my business fee income remained constant, which seemed like a good thing. But I was trying to grow, so I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.
Eventually, as another winter was approaching, the dread of those dark, cold, 5.30am mornings gave me the incentive to bite the bullet. So I quit.
I let go of that source of new clients and put the time and energy I got back from networking into developing other sources of new clients (ones that didn’t require early mornings or so much of my personal time).
That was 3 years ago, and since then my fee income has tripled.
Making the decision to ditch something that had worked in the past, in order to free up that time (and energy) and re-purpose it into other activities, wasn’t the only reason for the growth of my business. But it was a key step for me. It was when I really started to understand that “what got me here, won’t necessarily get me there”. It enabled me to start analysing other areas of my activities which might have served me well in the past but were now standing in the way of my business growth. It was the start of the next phase of my business growth journey.
Have a look at the activities you are currently doing to grow your practice or firm and ask yourself “Will these activities help me achieve the results I want, or could they actually be standing in the way?”
If you uncover activities (or perhaps habits or behaviours) that are standing in the way of your practice growth, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about whether or not to continue them.
If you’re ready to make changes to what you’re doing to grow your practice or firm, here’s 3 ways I can help:
- Become a member of my Linkedin Group ‘The Entrepreneurial Lawyer Network’ to connect with other lawyers and professionals who are growing their practice. In this group I’ll answer your questions about getting more clients and increasing your profits without working more hours
- Join my ‘Clients and Income Accelerator’ implementation programme. I’m putting together a new implementation programme which is starting this month. If you’d like me to work with you on getting more clients and increasing your fee income in the next 90 days just contact me quoting “Implementation” in the subject line and I’ll get you all the details.