In this podcast, Stewart Hirsch explains how you can develop a business plan for your law firm with his 7 step framework. Hirsch is the executive leadership coach and managing director of Strategic Relationships LLC. He is also an author, speaker and senior coach for Trusted Advisor Associates LLC. You can connect with Stewart on his website StrategicRelationships.com or on LinkedIn here.
Podcast Show Notes
How did you migrate from practicing law to business development and executive leadership coaching?
I began as a litigator in a big firm in Boston and when I decided I no longer wanted to be a litigator, I moved to a small corporate real estate firm. Then due to the economy, I was laid off and I couldn’t find a job as a practicing attorney so I started working for Fortune 500 companies, TJ Maxx and Welch’s. Working for big corporations, I realized I was passionate about networking and developing new business opportunities for them.
Tell us about your seven step framework for developing business?
In order to develop a business plan for your law firm or any business, you first have to set goals. Second, you have to create and implement a plan. How are you going to accomplish your goals, when are you going to start, and what will you accomplish. The third step is setting priorities, which includes business development. The fourth step is persevering. This means that you must remain available when the client needs you and no matter what you must be there when they call. The fifth step is gaining access to people through networking. The sixth step is recognizing opportunity by listening. The seventh and final step is taking action.
How have you been able to help your clients generate more business?
Typically, my clients don’t know what to say or do, so I help them by writing or editing their emails and scripting conversations.
Why is setting priorities important when developing business?
Lawyers tend to operate by meeting their clients’ needs first and foremost but sometimes they have their needs have to take precedent over the client’s in order for their business to develop.
Why is networking important and how should you approach networking?
Networking is important for lawyers because people have to know who they are in order to refer or retain them. One major issue with networking is when people try to sell, but when you try to help, it’s a more productive way of approaching how you network because a lawyer’s job is essentially to help people.
How can lawyers cross sell their services or present opportunities for new business to an existing client?
I think the most important way to create new business with existing clients is to stay in touch with them, listen to what they’re doing and what their opportunities are. As for cross selling your services, you must know what to pay attention to so you can ask questions and maybe strategize with colleagues in other practice areas, about how to how to connect with existing clients.
If you are a CMO or marketing director at a firm, how would you introduce a business development coach?
Lawyers first must determine where their priorities and resources lie. If the CMO or marketing director does not have time to coach the lawyers, hiring outside is a good option. There are two levels of coaching, one is general big picture that is used to create a business plan and then there’s a more specific one, “in the weeds,” which is more focused on day to day tasks.
The task may seem cumbersome, but writing a business plan is an important step in helping your firm launch, grow, and thrive. If you want to develop a business plan for your law firm, Hirsch’s seven step framework stresses the importance of vision and a clear strategy — set goals and clear priorities before implementing your plan. Law firms should also prioritize a strategy for engaging with existing clients and connecting with new people through networking. Your firm’s email newsletter is a simple way to stay in contact with current clients. Contact us today if you need some guidance on developing a business plan for your law firm.