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Why putting your business and marketing goals in writing works

I've written and spoken in the past about the importance of putting your goals in writing; but it is such an important concept in building a successful law practice that I am revisiting the topic. Rather than repeating what I have said previously, in this space I would like to address the "why" (as in why it works). 

Many of us resist taking the time to do planning. It takes a lot of discipline to force yourself to map out a plan of action. But writing down your goals increases your chances of achieving those goals for a number of reasons.

For starters, putting a plan in writing is a tangible way of committing to your goals. It is also an effective way to get more clarity about what you are trying to accomplish. If you say to yourself "I need to lose weight." that is much less effective than writing down that you plan to lose 20 pounds in six months. 

Similarly, putting in writing that you would like to generate 10 percent more real estate work and 20 percent more trusts and estates work in the next year will increase your commitment to growing your practice in that way. With clear goals in place, it becomes more obvious how you should budget your time. The process of putting your goals in writing forces you to make your goals more specific and more clear.

Having a written plan also helps you keep up your momentum. If you have a plan in place, then you have something objective to refer to when you are being pulled in other directions. If your marketing plan says that you will have lunch with one new person a week, then even when work gets busy, your plan ensures that you are sticking with a slow and steady approach to business development.

Creating a written plan is also a great way to involve others in establishing and sticking with your goals. If you have a draft plan for launching your new law practice, showing the plan to other lawyers you trust is a good way to get valuable input. Furthermore, by sharing your goals with others, you increase the social pressure on you to follow through.

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published April 19, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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