“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”–Benjamin Franklin
It’s easy to think a few things about business development that keep you stuck in your tracks. They are all some version of “I will get to it tomorrow”. Either because of time, fear, skill, perfectionism (really that’s just a version of fear), etc… Sometimes, state just the right way, data can get you moving in the right direction because you can no longer believe in your assumptions when the fact suggest otherwise.
Here are three data points from the 2018 Law Firms in Transition Survey to help you stop procrastinating:
“Firms simply cannot allow more people into the equity tier who do not add anything beyond being a good lawyer.”
Equity partner is more elusive than ever. How long do you think you can wait before you start truly committing to business development? The sales cycle is long. You aren’t asking someone to switch mobile phone plans. In order to understand someone’s business and give current and future clients time to make a buying decision, you need to think in terms of years, not weeks.
At firms of 250+ attorneys, 89.1% reported Demonstrated Business Development Skill as a major factor in partnership admission.
Unless you are convinced you are at the 10.9% of firms that don’t count Demonstrated Business Development Skill as a major factor in partnership admission, we can now agree that this skill is essential if you want to become partner. (I also wonder about the future financial health of the 10.9%). The most encouraging part of this statistic is the work “Skill”. Business Development is a skill. It’s not some gene you have to be born with or something reserved for only life-of-the-party types. Do something every day. And if you are having trouble, get help. That’s what people do when they are trying to develop a skill.
Equity partners are not busy enough in 51% of law firms.
In case you thought this was only for associates trying to make partner, think again. If you have finally made equity partner and you are one of the two not busy enough, do you really want to risk the future you have worked so hard for by not having enough work? Whether “busy enough” is your judgment or that of an executive committee, it matters to someone and can’t be ignored. No one can promise you a system that will absolutely bring in business. However, if you consistently focus on growing your existing client base (yours and the firms) and take action to reach potential new clients, your chance of success is exponentially greater. And if this year’s business development plan is already collecting dust, welcome to the club. Don’t write a new one, just take action. Would you bet on someone with a five page plan to lose ten pounds or someone that goes to the gym four times a week?
If you think developing a business development habit is a key to your legal career, we have developed a habit building program just for you. Sign up for pre-launch notification here.