A marketing plan for lawyers–part two

In a previous post, we examined the four steps to creating a marketing plan. You learned that a marketing plan should be simple, and that it is an ongoing process, with most of the planning taking place on a monthly and weekly basis.

You also learned the importance of having a long-term vision statement and annual goals.

Before we move on to discuss monthly planning and daily activities, let’s delve a little deeper into the goal setting process.

There are six major areas of life–Career/Financial, Physical/Health, Family/Home, Mental/Educational, Spiritual, and Social/Cultural. For most people, happiness comes from having a well-balanced life, with success in all six areas.

This doesn’t mean you need to set annual goals in all six ares. Some areas may be going well for you right now, or there may be one or two areas that are more important to you this year. Throughout your life, your priorities will change and so will your goals. So, right now, if you want to focus on just one or two areas of your life, that’s fine.

For each area of focus, you should have no more than three annual goals. One is even better.

Sometimes, people confuse “benefits” with “goals”. For example, in the area of Career/Financial, you may have a goal to earn a certain amount of money, another goal to buy a new house, and a third goal to pay off your credit card balances. But the second two are really benefits to be obtained from the first goal, so, in reality, you have just one goal.

Right now, I have just one area of my life I’m focused on and I have one goal in that area. There are many benefits to be derived from achieving that goal and there also many sub-goals I need to hit before I will achieve it. This works for me and you should do what works for you. (You can always change your goals.)

For each annual goal, follow these five steps and you will be well on your way to achieving them:

STEP ONE

Make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T.–Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible. Write your goal in the present tense, as though already obtained, make it specific, and attach a date. Since we’re focused on marketing, here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T. financial goal: “I’m excited that I am now earning a net income of $15,000 per month, or more, in my law practice, by or before December 31, 2010.”

STEP TWO

List (a) the benefits to be obtained and (b) the losses to be avoided by achieving this goal. It’s important that you understand the value and importance of your goals and have some emotional investment in them.

Benefits to be achieved

  • Pride, feeling of accomplishment
  • Pay off debts
  • Increase savings, build for the future
  • Hire another paralegal, gain more free time
  • Reduce stress

Losses to be avoided

  • Cancelling next year’s vacation
  • Moving to a smaller office

STEP THREE

List (a) “Possible obstacles” to obtaining the goal and, for each obstacle, (b) “Possible Solutions”.

One of your obstacles is “you”. No doubt there are things you need to learn, things you need to do more of or get better at, or things you need to stop doing. What are they? What obstacles have prevented you from achieving your goal in the past? And what are some possible solutions? (Your goal is not S.M.A.R.T. unless you list possible solutions because without solutions, you can’t move forward.)

Possible obstacles/Solutions [Examples]

  • Obstacle: Me–my lack of patience. Solutions: Read Dale Carnegie, other books, find a mentor who has overcome that obstacle
  • Obstacle: Not enough clients. Solutions: Study marketing, set up a blog, join networking group.
  • Obstacle: Not enough time: Solutions: Find a “time management” system; hire another paralegal.

This will help you identity actions you need to take on the way to achieving your goals and help you identity sub-goals and projects you need to tackle.

STEP FOUR

List specific action steps you need to do to move you forward towards achieving the goal. Schedule target dates for each of these steps and put these dates on your monthly calendar.

These four steps will help ensure that you have meaningful goals, specific action steps and target dates for their achievement.

STEP FIVE

This goal setting process should be reviewed and re-written each month, at your monthly planning session. Ideally, this will take place a day or two before the end of the previous month. “Always plan next month before next month begins.”

Each month, as you make progress towards your goals, circumstances will change and your plan will change. As you move forward, you will conduct a weekly review of your monthly plans and make adjustments to your daily activities. We’ll talk about that in our next post on this subject.

Are you pursuing your dreams like Paul Potts did?

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