The 12 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Starting Up a New Business

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The 12 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Starting Up a New Business

Ask any law firm if they thought starting up their business didn’t come with a daunting number of challenges. Most people would assume that the decision to become a start-up in the first place is the first challenge accepted.
But what if you could ask yourself some simple questions that would alleviate a lot of the startup challenges down the line? If you could start thinking about how you would handle some of these scenarios now, it would prepare you, so you don’t need to fall at the first hurdle or fix your firm once it’s already in a muddle.
Even if you’re just getting out of the gate, just thinking these statements through will ensure you are mentally covering the bases for success and scalable growth.
These are the 12 questions that you should get your head wrapped around to make it easier to build a stronger and more sustainable firm in the first place.
They’re divided into the three core elements that belong to every law firm: People, Revenue, and Strategy.

People and Culture

It goes without saying that people are everything in a business. Without them, you don’t have a firm to run. And the culture you foster is one the biggest things you can implement from day one to ensure you have a culture that people want to be a part of.
  • Does everyone in my law firm understand why it exists and whom it serves?
  • Do they all know what our vision and aspirations are?
  • Are they all clear on our values, and more importantly, are they aligned with them?
  • Does everyone have very clear responsibilities and accountabilities?

If you can’t honestly say that everyone in your start-up law firm knows the answers to these questions, this is a great place to start to ensure that these things become second nature. Everyone should be able to understand this core element because it’s at the heart of the business. It’s the ‘Why’ you need to grasp to understand how everything else fits in.

If you’re clear on your purpose and values, you can make sure any hires align at every level and every step of the journey for an outstanding culture.

Today’s lawyers are often choosing to join a firm that is stronger in culture and work-life balance beliefs over straight salary offers. That’s food for thought.

Revenue

Revenue is your bottom line. Just getting by isn’t going to allow you to grow, so again, the questions involved in this core element should be at the forefront of your mind when dealing with starting up your new venture.

  • Does everyone in the firm know if we’re a product or a service-based business?
  • Does everyone know who our ideal client is?

If you think you can be all things to everyone, you’ll miss the mark. Niching down is a sure-fire way to gather clarity with your vision and aspirations. Zeroing in on the ideal client will make this easier, along with increased revenue.

  • Do profitable revenues flow easily and consistently into the firm?
  • Are you all good at keeping in touch with clients even when they aren’t using your services?

If the answer is no to these two questions, or you aren’t assessing your firm on a regular basis to ensure that these things are always true all of the time, it may be time to look at why that isn’t happening.

Strategy

Finally, most firms don’t spend enough time on strategy. Possibly the single most important thing you can do as a start-up law firm is plan time each month, week, or day; however, it works best for you to think about your future.

If you think growth just happens organically, then you may be in for a surprise. Sure, some firms and businesses will grow exponentially just by being. But what happens when growth outpaces your ability to continue delivering your services as equally well as you did at the start? The cogs can fall off the wheel at this stage, and it is completely avoidable.

Planning for the future, how you will retain talent, talent acquisition, streams of revenue, and so on are all things you need to think about from the start. Don’t wait until your firm outpaces you, which is when sloppy decision making comes into play. Poor decisions made hastily because you just needed the help, and rapid resources will drastically affect your overall bottom line.

Ask yourself if you can say these things are always true for your firm:

  • We have clear, written strategies for most aspects of the firm.
  • Everyone is aware of what these clear, written strategies are.
  • We are actively implementing these strategies.
  • We are using these strategies to plan our next phase of growth and make regular time out to plan for our future.

If they are not, why not?

Start-up challenges are just that. They will provoke you, challenge your thought processes, and they aren’t supposed to be easy.

But if you can straighten out the answers to these questions right at the start, you should end up with a less stressful journey to a successful, thriving firm. A law firm that is genuinely scalable and is built on a strong foundation for a sustainable business.

Taking the time to answer these 12 questions is invaluable even before deciding to start your own law firm. So whatever stage of the process you are at, decide to take those challenges on with eyes wide open and a clear understanding of the makings of a successful legal business.

Rock-solid people and culture, revenue, and strategies will take you there. Get in touch if we can help!

We work with you and your partners and senior team to find out what you want, where you want to go, what you stand for as a firm and what kind of culture you want to develop. Along the way, we help you design the strategies you need to grow in a sustainable way by enhancing or changing the culture of the firm, implementing new ways to unblock your revenue cycle and develop you and your senior team as leaders.

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