A Business Needs A Roadmap
Today I’m going to give you a sample law firm business plan, but before we do that, let’s take a quick look at why we even go about putting one together in the first place.
First and foremost, there is something to the act of sitting down and taking an honest and realistic look at the intentions and goals you have for your firm. The process brings about ideas and strategies you may not have thought of, and forces you to think through issues you may not yet have considered.
A proper business plan will help to identify and prepare the action steps that you need to attain the goals you have set. The idea is to take guesswork out of the equation and narrow your focus in the most direct and efficient manner.
Your plan will also be there to guide you through any challenging times that you will most likely face in the life-course of your law firm practice.
Remember, it is easier to make mistakes on paper through visualizing your needs and costs, and through advanced anticipation of situations that will, or could occur.
A Business Plan Is A Sales Tool
Imagine that you are going to need help from an investor or apply for funding to help get your law firm going. Would you rather go in and say, “I’ve got this great idea!” or will you go prepared with your well thought out and detailed business plan?
This may be obvious, but the point needs to be made that the investors or banks are going to want to see your business plan.
Think of it as a sales tool.
It can also prove useful if you are looking to form a partnership. You would certainly want any potential partner to bring one of their own to the table, right?
Ok, we know we need a plan, now what?
How To Actually Write A Business Plan
I advise you to look into some resources for templates before you sit down and start to hammer out your own plan.
This will get the juices flowing and get you mentally prepared for the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself.
The New York City Bar has put together a very thorough document with some things need to consider before you begin:
- Identify your practice niche(s).
- What skills and experience you bring to your practice.
- What legal structure to use: sole proprietorship, PC, partnership, LLP, etc.
- What clients you currently have and might potentially acquire.
- What clients you want.
- What business and social contacts you have.
- What other attorneys you can call upon to fill in practice gaps.
- How your firm’s records will be kept.
- What equipment and supplies will be needed?
- What library and other information sources will be needed?
- What insurance will be needed?
- What other resources will be needed?
- How you will compensate yourself?
- Review your current finances re: assets, current cash flow, expenses.
- What financing may be needed?
- What financial assets do you have?
- What banking accounts will be needed?
- Review your current non-financial resources.
- Identify your market.
- Where will your office be located?
- What will the name of your firm be?
You will note that many of these queries are financial in nature. It is highly advisable that you begin a relationship with an accountant that you can trust. The right accountant will be able to guide you through this process, help you make the best decisions for your firm, and polish your plan with you.
What Your Business Plan Will Look Like
There are no set rules of course, but a thorough and professional plan will include the following sections:
- Executive Summary
- Company Analysis
- Industry Analysis
- Customer Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Operations Plan
- Management Team
- Financial Plan
As stated, there are no hard and fast rules, but the time you spend on your business plan will surely pay dividends throughout the duration of your firm’s life-course.
Check this great video for some more helpful suggestions:
Closing Words And Sample Law Firm Business Plan
I trust you are now better prepared to begin this important step in building your law firm, and to move from thinking about starting a business, to being in the process of starting a business.
It’s an important distinction.
Here are some great sample business plans to use as examples for your own:
Until next time!