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Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #5 – Chaos to Sanity – Define Your Processes

As your law firm grows, it becomes more and more important to define a set of common processes and procedures across all areas of the business.

When you are just one lawyer, or one lawyer and one assistant, things are pretty simple. You both do things your way, and you both understand how each other works. Things run relatively smoothly without the need for a documented set of standard procedures or a firm manual. If everyone continues to do things their own way as you add more lawyers and more admin staff, chaos ensues. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing! It becomes difficult to find important data since it is never being stored in the same place twice! This can be very costly to the firm (or worse).

Below are some critical areas where you will want to consider a documented standard set of processes for your firm. For many of these areas, checklists can be great compliments to defined and documented standard procedures.

1. Client Intake
2. File Management
3. Billing & Collection
4. Client Relationship Management
5. Standard Daily Procedures
6. Work Product Standards
7. Security

If you are planning to grow, then the most sensible route to take would be to address this first. Then you will be best prepared to manage the growth when it occurs. I believe in taking this down to as granular a level as you can. For example, how much more professional does it sound when everyone in the firm answers the phone in the same way?

Any questions; drop us a line. We’re here to help!

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #5 – Chaos to Sanity – Define Your Processes appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #4 – Fuel Your Business – Your Marketing Plan

When many lawyers open their own firms they believe that they will hang up their shingle and the Clients will come. In fact, the opposite of this is usually true. One of the most important aspects of your new business will be how well you market and sell it. Here are a few tips to help you get a better handle on your marketing so that it can produce a steady and predictable stream of Clients:

1. Define you ideal Client in detail

a. What are their Demographics?
b. What are ideal Psychographics?
c. What does your industry say they should be?
d. Ideal Client Demographics

i. Gender?
ii. Age?
iii. Education?
iv. Income?
v. What sort of work do they do and at what level?
vi. What is their background or experience?

e. Ideal Client Psychographics

i. Interests
ii. Beliefs
iii. Values
iv. Wants
v. Needs
vi. Desires
vii. Fears

2. Messaging comes first! Make sure that your messaging resonates with your ideal Client. Your messaging should not describe what you do or how you do it. It should describe what the benefits are that your prospects will receive from working with you. It must be all about your prospects, not all about you. It doesn’t matter what medium you market on, without the right message you will not get the results you want and need.

3. Think of your marketing strategy like a Parthenon; it should have many pillars holding it up

a. Referral marketing
b. Social Media (Your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
c. Networking
d. Speaking engagements

4. Strive for two primary pillars that will do the heavy lifting. Each individual firm will need to do figure this out for themselves.

5. Continually work on several secondary pillars, adding and replacing as necessary. Marketing is a constant battle of trial and error. When something is not working, stop doing it and try something else.

6. Plan your marketing one year at a time:

a. Create an annual marketing calendar with times of heavy marketing and times of lighter marketing.
b. Too much marketing could have the undesired effect of producing more work than you can handle.
c. Create placeholders for events such as speaking engagements even if you are not clear on the details of the event.
d. Review, refine and adjust your plan on a monthly basis as needed.

NOW, IT’S TIME TO GET GOING AND START EXECUTING TOWARDS A STEADY AND PREDICTABLE STREAM OF CLIENTS!

Any questions; drop us a line. We’re here to help.

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #4 – Fuel Your Business – Your Marketing Plan appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #3 – Your Finances, The Lifeblood of Your Business

Your finances are the lifeblood of your business. It is critical that you understand your finances in detail. It is amazing how many owners of small to mid-size law firms, and business of any kind for that matter, do not understand some of the basic fundamentals of their finances. Here are a few tips to help you get a better understanding of your finances:

1. Understand and document your monthly expenses

a. What are my fixed monthly expenses?
b. What are my variable monthly expenses?
c. This will identify the minimum monthly billings required in order to fulfill your monthly expense obligations.

2. Detail your projected billings

a. What are my projected billings by month?

3. Detail your actual billings

a. What are my actual billings by month?
b. Compare your actual to projected billings on a monthly basis. Understand what has caused any discrepancy and adjust your strategies and projected billings accordingly. I suggest keeping historical records of your projected billings for analysis.

4. Detail your projected cash flow

a. This can be done in a simple spreadsheet with a column for date, a column for source of cash flow, a column for cash flow in, a column for cash flow out, and a column for balance.
b. This will identify in advance any situations where cash flow might get tight and will reduce the chance that you will get hit with a big bad negative cash flow surprise.

5. Detail your actual cash flow

a. On a monthly (or weekly) basis detail your actual cash flow and compare it to your projected cash flow. Understand what has caused any discrepancy and adjust your strategies and projected cash flow accordingly. I suggest keeping historical records of your projected cash flow for analysis.

6. Understand your required vs actual revenue / lawyer.

a. This is a simple calculation of required billings / number of lawyers.
b. Set individual billing targets accordingly.

7. Understand your required vs actual revenue / employee

a. This is a simple calculation of required billings / number of employees.

8. Understand your funds in trust

Once you have a good grip on your finances create a dashboard of “Key Performance Indicators” that will give you a snapshot of the health of your business. Review this dashboard on a monthly (or weekly) basis and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Any questions; drop me a line. We’re here to help.

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #3 – Your Finances, The Lifeblood of Your Business appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Turning Points In Coaching Episode #3 – The Mike Woolsey Story

One of my favorite turning points was recently achieved with a long term client, Mike Woolsey. Mike Woolsey is a very successful Regional Vice President with Primerica. He has built a team of 40 agents many of whom are on their own road to success. He is one of the most committed and dedicated clients that I have ever worked with.

When I first met Mike he had one very specific goal to achieve in the next 2 years. He wanted to increase his personal income by 50% from $200K / year, to $300K / year. Together we achieved this goal in less than 9 months. To say that Mike was thrilled would be an understatement, but he knew that his actual vision was much higher. He wanted to get to the Senior VP level and be a true leader in the industry.

Mike’s turning point came when he realized that in order to reach SVP level he needed to be laser focused on growing his team. Very specific goals were set and things started to move much more rapidly in the right direction.

Mike had always worked very hard to support his existing team in the technical details of financial planning; too hard perhaps. He is now putting a lot more emphasis on inspirational training and team building and the wheels are churning.

There is still much to be done, but his turning point has propelled him towards his ultimate vision and we are confident that it will be achieved.

What’s Your Purpose?
What’s Your Vision?
What’s Your Focus?

Let Peak Potential help you take your business to the next level!

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Turning Points in Coaching Episode #3 – The Mike Woolsey Story appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Turning Points in Coaching Episode #2 – The Marani Law Story

Zaynah and Zahra Marani are the Founding Partners of Marani Law. They are known for providing the highest level of Customer Service and for the respect and dignity with which they treat their staff.

When I first met Zahra and Zaynah their firm was already successful. It consisted of two lawyers, and three staff crowded into a 600 square foot downtown office in downtown Toronto. From the time of our first meeting it was obvious that they were very ambitious and ready to grow.

We worked on clarity, marketing and sales, and running the business more effectively. Things were moving forward. Billings were increasing and the firm was being run more efficiently. Zaynah even stated that being a business owner had gone from being stressful and chaotic to being organized and fun, but we knew there was another level we could take it to.

Marani Law’s turning point came when we decided to do some serious work on visualisation. Zahra and Zaynah painted a complete picture of what Marani Law would look like “When It’s Done” and shared it with their staff. As renowned business author Jim Collins would say, “They got everyone on the bus and got the right people in the right seats on the bus”.

They are now one step closer to achieving their vision. They are a team of twelve. And have moved into a beautiful new 3000 square foot office right in the core of downtown Toronto.

They have achieved significant success, but there is still a way to go. With a clear vision in front of them, we are confident that they will get there.

What’s Your Purpose?
What’s Your Vision?
What’s Your Focus?

Let Peak Potential help you take your business to the next level!

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Turning Points in Coaching Episode #2 – The Marani Law Story appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Turning Points in Coaching Episode #1 – The Michael Gibbon Story

Michael Gibbon is the proud owner of I.M. Success Tutoring. He is also an accredited teacher and is deeply passionate about helping kids not only with their academics, but also with their confidence and self-esteem.

It was evident from a number of early discussions that we had that his business was not growing at a sustainable rate.

Michael and I established some goals right away. One thing that came through clearly was that he wanted his own facility; to move out of his home office.

We worked extensively on marketing and sales. Things were moving well, the business was growing, but he still wasn’t getting the traction that we felt that he needed. Something was holding him back. He really needed to get out of his comfort zone.

Michael’s turning point came when we decided to take a deep dive on the first principle of leadership; purpose. Discovering his “Why” was deeply personal for Michael and it gave him the courage and momentum to do what was really necessary to take his business to the next level.

Earlier this year Michael was able to open his own office in a great neighborhood in the west end of Toronto. He has a staff of 14 accredited tutors and his success has allowed him to help over 200 students and their parents to date.

What Michael really needed was to be inspired to move out of his comfort zone, and discovering his purpose gave him the courage to do just that.

What’s Your Purpose?
What’s Your Vision?
What’s Your Focus?

Let Peak Potential help you take your business to the next level!

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Turning Points in Coaching Episode #1 – The Michael Gibbon Story appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #2 – Complete Your Strategic Plan

In “Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #1” we discussed the benefits of visualizing and documenting your legal business “when it’s done”. Now that you’ve documented the story of your law firm it’s time to complete your strategic plan:

1. Identify Your Values

Individualize and articulate the cultural and strategic values that will act as moral and strategic compasses to guide your practice.

2. Define Your Mission

Clearly define the mission of your legal business. This will define how you do what you do. Document your Mission Statement and communicate effectively. Share with all stakeholders.

3. Document Your Organization

Create an organizational picture of the future of your legal business. Organize your business around functions, not personalities then fill in names to understand your current layout.

4. Set Your Goals

Clearly define where your practice is today, and then set and document goals for where you want it to be within a defined period of time. I suggest 1 year or less. Make sure your goals will move you towards your ideal vision and are SMART:

• S – Specific
• M – Measureable
• A – Aligned With Your Values
• R – Realistic
• T – Time Bounded

5. Create the Roadmap for Achieving Your Goals

• Identify obstacles, constraints and limitations that you will have to overcome to achieve your goals.
• Identify knowledge, information and skills that you will need to acquire.
• Identify the people whose help and cooperation you will need.
• Make a list of everything you will need to do to achieve your goal.
• Organize your list into a plan.
• Select your number 1, most important task for each day.
• Never give up!

6. Define Your KRIs and KPIs

Identify the Key Results Indicators and Key Performance Indicators (metrics) that demonstrate the performance of your business and create a “Dashboard of Success”.

7. Perform a SWOT Analysis

Analyze Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats across all areas of your practice and make strategic decisions based on these findings. Integrate your findings into your roadmap for achieving your goals.

8. Execute!

You are now ready to start executing the plan that will help you achieve your goals and ultimately move you in the direction of your “final vision” or story of your legal business. Time to roll your sleeves up and get to work executing the plan to build “Your Ideal Law Firm”!

Any questions; drop us a line. We’re here to help!

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #2 – Complete Your Strategic Plan appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Tired of Doing it all Yourself?
9 Steps to Effective Delegation

Many small business owners feel the need to be involved in just about everything that is going on within their business. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps they have always been involved in everything from the time the business started and was a small entity and have a hard time letting go. Perhaps they don’t fully understand how to trust their staff.

Whatever the reason, there will come a point in time when this is crippling to the business and the owner. The owner finds herself working ridiculous hours trying to stay on top of everything and becomes the bottleneck for business growth. You can only do as much business as the owner can handle.

Delegation is an essential skill that can help to alleviate this problem, but delegation must be executed properly in order for it to be effective. Here are nine principles to effective delegation:

PRINCIPLE I – DO WHAT YOU DO BEST; DELEGATE THE REST
Always make sure to focus on your high value activities. Spend some time understanding what you do best and then delegate the rest. If your hourly rate is $200 / hr then you should not be performing any tasks that are not $200 / hr tasks.

PRINCIPLE II – DELEGATE TO A PERSON WITH DEMONSTRATED COMPETENCE

It is critical to delegate to a person that is capable of completing the delegated task to the desired level of competence. There is no point in setting them (and also yourself) up for failure. Choose carefully.

PRINCIPLE III – DEFINE THE TASK CLEARLY

Make sure the individual understands exactly what the intended outcome of the delegated task is, and why the task is important. Describe this to her in detail and then have her feed it back to you. This will ensure that you are both starting out on the same page.

PRINCIPLE IV – SET A DEADLINE

Set a clear deadline for completion of the task. Make the deadline precise. A deadline of sometime in the next two weeks is not good enough. A deadline like “end of day Friday, May 27” is much more clear and precise.

PRINCIPLE V – ESTABLISH BENCHMARKS

Create a plan with benchmarks against which you will measure progress on the delegated task over time. These benchmarks must be easily and clearly measured and agreed upon by both parties.

PRINCIPLE VI – AGREE ON RESOURCES

Come to agreement on the resources that will be required and available to the delegatee (this could include some of your time).

PRINCIPLE VII – AGREE ON CONSEQUENCES

What will be the consequences of successfully completing the task? Conversely, what will be the consequences of not completing the task to the agreed upon level of completeness and quality? Make sure you are in agreement on this.

PRINCIPLE VIII – PUT IT IN WRITING

Have the entire process documented in a written agreement. Have the person to whom the task has been delegated prepare the written agreement. Agree on the content and have each of you sign it. This final step transforms your mutual understanding into a commitment.

PRINCIPLE IX – INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT

You took the time to establish benchmarks and timelines against which you could measure progress being made on the project. Use them. Establish a process whereby you will execute timely monitoring of the agreed upon benchmarks and timelines.

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Tired of Doing it all Yourself – 9 Steps to Effective Delegation appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #1 – Can You Picture It?

Many great athletes, artists and top performers use visualization as a technique to help them get the most out of a performance, presentation, situation or achievement for a good reason; because it works. As the owner of a law firm (or any other business for that matter), you can use this powerful technique to help get the most out of your business by visualizing what you want it to look like when it’s “done”.

Visualize and Document Your Legal Business When it’s “Done”

• What is its purpose?
• What values provide its moral compass?
• What is its mission?
• Types of services offered?
• Gross revenue?
• Firm size and location?
• Look and feel of the office?
• …

Close your eyes and try to really see it, feel it and smell it. Now, take action to start to make it a reality!

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” – Laurence J. Peter

Action you can take today!

Create the complete written story of what your legal business will look like when “it is done” and share it with your stakeholders; most specifically with your team. See it, feel it and smell it! Now take action to start making it a reality. Get your team on board with this vision so that you can all be passionately steering in the same direction. Now, keep it top of mind and read it often. You will automatically be drawn towards it and it will in kind be drawn towards you!

Any questions; drop us a line. We’re here to help!

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post Your Ideal Law Firm – Article #1 – Can You Picture It? appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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7 Common Characteristics of Effective Leaders

No two leaders are alike, but there are common characteristics that most of them share. These “7 Common Characteristics of Effective Leaders” are one definition of what things all great leaders have in common that lead them to success. They are:

  1. Clarity
  2. Competence
  3. Continual Learning
  4. Constraint Analysis
  5. Creativity
  6. Concentration
  7. Courage

Let’s examine each of them in a little more detail.

1. Clarity

The more clearly things are defined and understood, the more quickly the results will be achieved.

All great business leaders have clarity around the following things:

i. They Know Themselves

  • What is your purpose?
  • What are your values?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

ii. They Understand Their Teams

  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their limitations?
  • What are their expectations?

iii. They Know Their Business

  • Who is your ideal Customer?
  • What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • Who is your Competition?

2. Competence

All great leaders are really good at what they do. Doing what you are really good at leads to passion, happiness and a unique ability to lead.

i. Know the technology and tools to help you be highly competent.
ii. Master your craft.

3. Continuous Learning

Take the time to continually learn more about your industry and the world around you:

i. Read daily.
ii. Listen to audio books (especially if you do a lot of driving).
iii. Attend relevant conferences, courses and workshops.
iv. Broaden your horizons.
v. Find a trusted advisor.
vi. Form a Mastermind Group.

And most importantly. “Apply What You Learn”

4. Constraints

Leaders who accept the fact that there will be constraints that get in the way of success will achieve it much faster that those that do not. Take the time to identify your constraints and then plan on how you will overcome them.

Remember, 80% of constraints are internal; 20% are external, and internal constraints are easier to overcome once understood. They are completely within your control. Focus on internal constraints first.

5. Creativity

Be creative when looking for answers to the problems you are trying to resolve.

i. Think out of the box.
ii. Go to as many other sources as need be; employees, trusted advisors, colleagues.
iii. Hold brainstorming sessions where no thought is a dumb thought.

6. Concentration

Focus single-mindedly on one task and a time, and make sure that it is the most important task that you are focusing on.

There is no such thing as efficient multitasking and there is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.

7. Courage

Have the courage to do what is necessary in spite of self-doubt and fear. Be brave in the face of danger. The more action you take in the face of danger, the more self-confident you will become. A fearful leader will have great difficulty getting others to follow their lead.

Look, free resources!

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to download your PDF, but just to say thanks for filling out our form, you can also download the rest of the PDFs here.

And if you would like to hear more about my 13 Week “Building A Solid Foundation” program – a powerful coaching program which will provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow your business – please click the button below to request more information.

Send me more information

The post 7 Common Characteristics of Effective Leaders appeared first on Peak Potential Business Coaching.

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