10 questions legal firms should ask themselves when building a long-term growth strategy.
One of the strong characteristics of our work at Crowe is that we have an in-depth understanding of the sectors we specialise in. As a result of our recent work on the Crowe Market Study of Sole Practitioners and Smaller Legal Practices in Ireland for the Law Society of Ireland, we developed a detailed understanding of what it is like to practice currently in Ireland. This understanding is based on extensive consultation with smaller legal firms across the country, ongoing interaction with the practices we work with, the Law Society and our ongoing attendance at Bar Association cluster events around the country. It is also true that many of the challenges being faced by smaller legal practices are shared by other SMEs whose key objective is to create and maintain a sustainable business in a competitive environment.
Many of our clients who are looking to build lasting value in their business understand the importance of having a growth plan in place. We have seen across many sectors we work with, and across SMEs at various stages of growth, that those with a planned and structured approach to business growth are more likely to succeed.
Below we list ten questions we believe a legal practice, of any scale, needs to ask if they want to create a more sustainable business:
- Do I understand how my practice is currently performing?
- Do I understand my clients, what they need from me, when and why?
- Do I communicate what I do well enough to clients and potential clients?
- What can I learn from my competitors (both in terms of what to do and what not to do)?
- Do I know what areas of practice have the potential to generate the highest and most profitable levels of growth?
- Do I know the level of business that I need to generate to maintain and exceed current performance levels?
- Have I set targets that the practice needs to achieve to sustain the business?
- Can I be sure that what I intend to do is in line with current and future client needs and market trends?
- Do I have a workable action plan that outlines what I need to do to reach my goals?
- How do I plan to monitor progress towards goals and targets and review and revise the action plan as trends / client needs change?
At the core of all of the above is the need to define the investment that the practice is willing to make to grow and build lasting value in the business. This investment may be in people, systems, marketing spend, training/upskilling, space, technology or upgrades of existing systems and processes. All of this needs to be considered at the planning stage to ensure that the plan itself and the actions involved are feasible and achievable (even if this is over several years).
We understand the competing time and resource pressures that legal firms, other professional services firms and other SMEs are under and the value that outside objective advice can bring.
Crowe’s consulting team are well placed to provide advice and support, if required, as firms work through their strategy, growth plans and marketing plans.