I was in Boca Raton staying at the Waldorf Astoria for the LawFirm 500 trade show in 2017. Now, I’ve been to many legal tech shows, but this stood out to me because it was different. How? Even if you were not an attorney, you would walk out of their knowing a thing or two about business and how to scale it. As I was standing by my booth I struck up a conversation with a lawyer that told me she’s heard of our company and would have used it if she were still practicing. I asked her why she was no longer practicing law and she told me that she sold the firm for a few million dollars and is now a consultant. I had to ask how she became so successful since a few million dollars is not pocket change.
“My firm grew from 3% in revenue a year to 300% and that’s when I knew I had something.”
That statement alone will stop any business owner and lawyer and ask how was that possible? And so, that’s precisely what I did – “do you mind telling me how you grew your law firm to be that profitable?”
“We built and enforced policies and procedures.” Policies and procedures are how she did it and as boring as it sounds, it’s actually the most logical thing you can do to scale your business over time. If you grew your law firm up until now you know how empowering it feels to run a business where people rely on you. You have all the answers and get things done. But what happens when you can’t come into the office because you were on vacation or GD forbid worse, dealing with a major life crisis. How will your firm run when the only person that knows how to run it is unavailable? Policies and procedures. What happens when you hit a growth spurt and now you’ve hired a handful of new employees and need to train them, who will train them exactly the way they need to be while bringing in new customers?
Policies and procedures are there in order to help automate your law firm so that it doesn’t fall on your shoulders every time. What do I do when a client wants to know their balance? How should your paralegal submit the casework she completed for you? Who is responsible for sending out clients invoices and in what format? Whether it’s simple or important day to day tasks in your law firm, your policies and procedures will guide your firm on how to do things when they don’t know how to. Policies and procedures contribute to scaling your firm and business by:
- Taking away second guesses on day to day decisions and practices
- Quickly onboarding new hires
- Empowering employees and managers to run daily business operations when you’re not around
- Ensuring consistent and efficient business workflow throughout departments (this can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if efficient workflow is missed)
As soon as I left that conference, I spent hundreds of hours updating our company’s policies and procedures for 7 departments. Think of policies and procedures as a code (for all you techies out there) that is developed for your business to help run when confronting different situations – if this happens, then do this. When new employees join the company, they’re given our policies and procedures to learn and apply so that they can become self-sufficient. When a mistake is made, we immediately refer to our policies and procedures to cross reference if the correct protocol was taken – many times, if a mistake was made it was because someone did not follow our policies and procedures. Policies and procedures have helped save a lot of money, avoid costly mistakes and scaled departments to run like a machine).