Everything catches up to you. For eight straight years after opening our law firm we grew gross revenues 40% a year until well, we didn’t. During this same eight-year period, we grew our payroll at about 40% to handle the increased volume. I told myself during this youthful time I was being a shrewd business owner and the reason I wasn’t personally more financially successful was because I was reinvesting the revenues into the business.
The truth was I mistakenly thought growth would fix all our problems. In 2012 I woke up after seeing revenues significantly decline, not having enough money to routinely pay myself, and quickly realized our lack of systems was the real chokehold on our success.
With seven offices handling multiple practice areas I worked at a level of complexity that was exhausting. It isn’t accurate to say our firm was without systems, but in 2012 we felt like a body builder who is all upper body with tiny legs. Our muscle was a well-developed marketing strategy, and our legs were the systems that supported the firm.
It took us two years to “shore up” our infrastructure with deep practice, expert advice, and solutions we borrowed from other industries. We attended multiple guru events, hired numerous consultants, and our audible business library grew quite large. What we learned was to fall in love with the process of systematizing. Why else write this? We love it. 80/20 is what it’s all about. Getting a disproportionate return on your investment should be the reward of every improvement.
We continue to get guidance from several experts and do not claim to have all the answers. We share numbers with other law firms across the country and are committed to progress, not perfection. Asked if I want to grow like we did before, I would say no. Marketing and infrastructure go hand in hand. At whatever speed you can grow both together, make it happen. Disciplined Practices is about doing the right stuff consistently that continually builds momentum.