Before we start setting goals for 2024 it’s important to review how 2023 went. The first thing to look at is the goals you set for 2023; did you meet them? If yes, can you go bigger next year; if not, why?
Reviewing Our 2023 Goals
As a construction law firm, one of our big goals was our gross revenue. We did not meet our revenue goal for 2022, so we set the same goal for 2023. I am happy to report that we are on track to meet our revenue goal for 2023. I then ask myself how we were able to make our goal for 23 but not for 22; what did we do differently? Looking back 2022 was a very difficult year for the firm; in January, the attorney running the legal department left the firm, and by the middle of February, the firm went from eight attorneys to two. The effects were truly devasting, and like many of you, we felt the full weight of the effects of those employee losses. As fast as I hired attorneys to replace the ones that left the new ones would leave too. At this point, I really had to reflect and see what we were doing wrong.
One of the biggest issues I found was that my management skills needed some serious work. I thought everybody knew what I knew, and then I got pissed when they could not read my mind, which led to all the new hires feeling stressed and unappreciated.
Creating and Implementing SOPs
I realized we needed a set of processes and standard operating procedures so what I expected was clearly communicated and not just in my head. Although I knew this is what needed to be done, it felt like a torturous project and something I really did not want to do. For almost a year, I tried to hire someone to complete the SOPs and operating procedures, turns out they could not read my mind either. I finally just blocked out three full days on my calendar and created the SFD (shitty first draft) of the SOPs and operating procedures. It was painful, but what need to be done. Once the SFD was done, what was in my head became clearer to my team and they could take it and make it something fantastic.
As soon as I started explaining to my new hires what was expected through the SOPs and operating procedures, an amazing thing happened, they stayed, and there was way less drama. Now, I am almost back to eight attorneys, but we are a way better company than we were in January of 2022.
Business Growth and Nationwide Expansion
If you’re a small business owner like me, your business has a way of showing you the next thing that needs your attention. Although 2022 and most of 2023 were extremely challenging, it needed to happen to take us to the next level. Now that we have SOPs and operating procedures, I have a true vision and a path on how to grow the firm and provide legal advice on business, real estate, and construction law nationwide (which is another one of our goals). Would I have gotten there if the head of the legal department had not quit and all the other attorneys had not left; probably not. Every obstacle and issue you face is a chance to make it better if you will dig in and do the work.