When it Comes to Business Development, Focus on the Process not the Result

Newly-minted lawyers are starting their careers at law firms across the country. Granted, they need to figure out where Conference Room F is at the office before much else, but it’s never too early to start thinking about business development.

Starting early is critical because building a book of business takes a long time. Business development is like any complicated discipline, such as athletics, chess, or artistic endeavors, in that you need to build multiple foundational layers of knowledge and skills before you can become accomplished at it.

While I believe that everyone is capable of building a profitable roster of clients, there are many lawyers who are beginning their careers at law firms who will, down the road, decide on a different path. Even for those lawyers, it’s a good idea to begin laying the foundation for business development, because the skills required to position oneself for business development success are valuable and transferable to almost any domain in life.

There are many benefits to business development. If you have your own clients, you’ll make more money and advance more quickly. Most importantly, you’ll gain a sense of autonomy. Research shows that autonomy—the feeling of control and independence—is the highest predictor of happiness in the workplace.

Practicing law in a law firm environment is tough. It’s difficult enough when you feel beholden to clients, but it’s doubly so if you’re dependent upon colleagues in your firm for work to fulfill billable hour requirements. If you’re an associate, even a relatively junior one, you can take steps to improve your circumstances.

Ready to get serious about business development? There’s no time like the present. According to an old Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

In my latest column for Attorney at Work, I detail and explain four steps that associates can take to gain a business development foothold:

  • Get Narrow

  • Experiment

  • Refine

  • Repeat

Click here to read the full post on Attorney at Work.

Want to equip your firm’s associates with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed at both the practice of law and the business of law? Learn more about our new 90-Day Essential Associate Training Program Also, I’m offering 25% discount on bulk orders of 10 copies or more of my book The Essential Associate. Call or email me to learn more about our new training program or to place a book order—jay@hcommunications.biz or 313.432.0287 ext. 1.

Looking for more? Check out these related posts:

How to Become a Thought Leader in 60 Minutes or Less

Advice from a Billionaire Lawyer: Sell Yourself One Hour Each Day

Why Lawyers Should Give Away Their Best Ideas for Free

Jay Harrington is an executive coach who blends strategic consulting and problem-solving counseling to help lawyers set and reach their business objectives.

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If you’re a lawyer interested in unlocking your potential and increasing your performance, contact me to schedule a free consultation. Through a process of coaching and consulting, I will help you to establish clear goals, identify and overcome obstacles, create and execute a strategic plan of action.

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