As you launch your new firm, YOU are the most important asset in your business. In fact, I believe that you are the foundation of your business. It doesn’t matter what you build, if the foundation is not rock-solid, it won’t last very long. And as a lawyer and the firm’s prinicipal, you will go down with the firm when it falls.
So it is wise and important to build your firm with a solid foundation.
According to Dictionary.com, a foundation is:
the basis or groundwork of anything
What makes a solid foundation?
The are 4 key ingredients to a solid foundation to create sustainability for your business or firm. Miss one ingredient and you will lose your opportunity for freedom.
1. The first ingredient to your foundation is YOU.
There is a caveat here, though. The more sustainable your business is, the longer it can survive without you. And since most lawyers who start their own firm do so to have a life, becoming sustainable is pretty important.
But let’s talk foundation first. After you, what else is necessary?
There are a few other foundational items that are necessary to build your firm into a sustainable business.
2. You need a SHTICK
Your shtick is something that makes your stand out in the crowd. It’s what you do and your positioning, rolled into one. This can be your practice areas, or it can be how you do what you do. I have a friend who has build her firm working with online business solo-preneurs. She charges a small monthly retainer so her clients can have virtual access to her for contract reviews, business organizational direction, and tax purposes. With the exception of a quarterly phone call, all communication is virtual/online. Her business model is her shtick.
3. You need to be clear about WHO you do it for.
I know this sounds obvious, but almost everyone stumbles over this piece at some point. Who do you serve? Why? What is there motivation? These simple answers need to roll off your tongue. And if it’s not a simple answer, you probably don’t have enough clarity here.
In the example of my friend mentioned above, she is very clear that she supports internet marketing experts who are have no employees (independent contractors are ok), and sell coaching or consulting in the virtual world.
4. You need support.
In fact, you need 3 types of support.
Support #1: Operational systems support you when you get sick, when you hire a new team member and when you get new clients.
Support #2: Your team can include employees, assistants, coaches, advisory board, mastermind partners and even your cheerleaders. Sometimes your team is your family or a close friend who you meet for lunch weekly. You don’t need all those team members, but the more you have supporting you, the easier it will be to get results on the days you don’t feel like it.
Support #3: Self care is what prevents things like adrenal fatigue/burnout and other debilitating illnesses from taking over your life. I heard Deepak Chopra refer to this as Living Luxuriously. I call it the simple pleasures in life. For me, a glass of wine, waking up to a steamy cup of coffee, and scented candles are my pleasures. For a close friend, it means golfing regularly – with clients and with friends.
So I ask, does your firm foundation include ALL the required ingredients for success and sustainability?