Dos and Don’ts of Year-End Planning
Prepare for a successful 2017.
On top of holiday shopping and preparing your home for family get-togethers, your firm’s to-do list is probably a mile long. This time of year is stressful, but with proper planning, you can end the year feeling refreshed. As you’re preparing your firm for a successful 2017, take into consideration these dos and don’ts of year-end planning.
Outline Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Do: Review your cases. Take into consideration the cases that were most profitable, the cases you looked forward to, and the number of new cases you took on throughout the year. Evaluating your successes and defeats will help determine what you can improve and may also expose some of your firm’s weaknesses.
Don’t: Retain cases you aren’t enjoying. As you’re reviewing your cases, you may find that there are certain cases you’ve been avoiding. Use this time to decide whether retaining these cases are worth it. Getting rid of a certain case doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you’re refining your business to your intended specialization, which will ultimately help you succeed in the long-run.
Develop a Demographic
Do: Organize your current clients. Establish an ideal target audience for your firm by defining what a “good client” looks like. Ultimately, this will give you leverage in attracting the business you actually want. Developing an ongoing relationship with your “good clients” will also help you retain that business or open the door to similar referrals.
Don’t: Let your demographics get outdated. Start collecting data on your clients now and keep a running list of the information. Your idea of a perfect client can change over time. If you keep your records up-to-date, your data will remain fresh and timely the next time you want to use it.
Organize Your Funds
Do: Get your finances in order. On top of collecting any outstanding debt owed by your clients, the year-end is a good time to reevaluate your budget. If you haven’t already, start a running spreadsheet of your cash inflows and outflows. Your list should include any applicable expenses, including sales and marketing, fees, insurance, utilities, payroll, rent, education, hardware, and software.
Don’t: Play it by ear. Organizing your finances ahead of time can be tedious, but it’s crucial to a bountiful and successful year. Once you’ve developed your initial strategy, you’ll have an easier time preparing for the years to come. Plus, should you ever get in a financial tight spot, you can easily gauge exactly where your money is going.
Find Time for Yourself
Do: Take a personal day to spend some time completely disconnected from work. Go see a movie, take a friend shopping, or just bum around the house. Life can be crazy, but taking some time for yourself will allow your body and mind to recover and prepare you for the new year.
Don’t: Feel guilty. Spending time away from work doesn’t mean you aren’t giving it your all. Get your business in order, and then celebrate your achievements from 2016. Relax and have some fun with your family and friends—you earned it.
Spread Holiday Cheer
Wrapping up year-end tasks and planning for the new year can be enough to drive a person insane. Amidst the holiday stress, let’s not forget what this time of year is all about. Plan ahead for a successful new year, but try to keep your priorities aligned during this holiday season.
This article is for general information purposes only.
Gruenke, Peggy. “Year-End Planning for Lawyers.” Clio. n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.