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Do What's Doable

Law firm and accounting firm marketing plans are sometimes a lot like New Year's resolutions (remember your month-old commitment to lose weight and get back to the gym? How are you doing with that today?).There are a few things you can do to make your firm's business development plans for 2006 a reality:

  1. Think practically. Set out a plan that people will actually follow. For example, it's wonderful to consider all the CPA firm sales and marketing opportunities that exist during tax season, but only a precious few CPAs will do anything other than the work at hand. And you can bet your mortgage that when a big case comes along in a law firm, everything stops for the lawyers involved until the case is over. These situations are neither right nor wrong; they are simply the reality. It is a better use of your time as a leader to plan around these realities rather than to try to overcome them at least in the short term.
  2. Set deadlines. Of course, remember Rule #1. Set timelines that are attainable. If you just relegate everything to "first quarter" or "first half" of '06, all the tasks in the plan will be pushed off until the last possible moment. That probably means they will be poorly done or extended into the next time zone.
  3. Have specific people responsible for specific activities. This is what differentiates doable plans from pie-in-the-sky plans: real people doing real things. Make sure you have the express commitment of those selected for specific tasks.
  4. Keep track of the plan. Look at it weekly or monthly. Follow up with people to be sure they are doing what they committed to do. Make notes on the plan itself so you know where you are.
  5. Clap and cheer loudly and often. Whenever somebody does what they said they would do, offer as many pats on the back and public, firm-wide compliments as you can. Business development is difficult for most professionals. Asking them to do these things is pushing most of them away from what's comfortable. When they do what you ask, thank them, praise them, gush over them. Your response is as valuable as money - maybe even more valuable.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009