Like death and taxes, there is one thing about being a legal entrepreneur that is predictable…
Your business will plateau.
It will become overwhelming, lose its joy, and make you less money. Basic economics. When you grow, you have to spend more money to add “capacity” to serve the business you’re earning. That capacity reduces profit, and possibly your salary. You wonder, “Is it worth it?!”
You find you’re working nonstop. You’re exhausted. Your team is in outright rebellion (or if your team is you, you’re hating your boss!). If tempers are flaring, moods falling, it doesn’t matter what your revenue says is the health of your company, you’re at a plateau.
You will reach your limits personally and professionally. You’ll be tempted to give up. But! Before you do, here are some things to try turn tail and run…
There’s 10 in total, but here’s the first five:
1. Get to know your personal number. One of my favorite tools is Alexis’ Money Map to Freedom course. This series of teachings and awareness tools helps you identify your personal financial goal, your “money map number;” the number you need to make each month in order to be at ease. AND it helps you map out path to get to that number. If you haven’t done this work, do it now!
2. Check your business metrics. There may be a simple reason that your business is plateauing. It could be that you aren’t clear on what your numbers need to be. For instance, I know that I need X number of initial client appointments each month in order to engage X number of clients. If I engage X number of clients at an average fee of $GREATNUMBER, I’ll make $DOLLARS per month more or less.
Another way to look at is as a daily number. How many dollars do you need to earn each and every business day to keep your ship moving forward? Knowing your DAILY number may be the most powerful way to know where you are financially.
3. Check your calendar against your metrics. If you know how many client appointments you need each month, you can plan to fill your calendar accordingly. For instance, if you need 15 client appointments to get to your monthly or daily number, you can make sure you’re marketing to get those 15 appointments; speaking, direct mail advertising, networking with professionals. I know that if I speak twice a month to a group of at least 10 people, we’ll make our numbers.
4. Review your company’s financials. Look at all of them— profit & loss statement, accounts receivable, and accounts payable—at least twice a month, preferably every Monday so you know what your current financial picture is. Mark any trends you see in revenue and expenses. Up or down? New expenses?
5. Give your fears a voice. Talk to another lawyer, business owner or a trusted friend who has gotten through a plateau or two. Ask for reassurance. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone, “I’ve never done this before. I’m terrified. How do I get through this part?” More importantly, let yourself receive and internalize that reassurance when they do give it to you. Yes, you can do this.
I’ll give you the NEXT set of 5 steps next week. Meantime you’ve got a lot of things you can do to either start getting out of, or possibly even preventing, the entrepreneur’s inevitable business plateau.