Whilst having a stringent, forward-thinking business development plan is critical, ensuring it is compatible with your personal values and ideals ensures its viability and success.
The resources of any boutique law firm are limited, whether it be pertaining to time, money, effort or enthusiasm. In light of this, Sue-Ella Prodonovich submits, a legal practice leader’s business development plan helps keep the boutique firm on track for the long haul and not get too distracted by peaks and troughs.
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Ms Prodonovich – who is the principal of Prodonovich Advisory – said that BD plans don’t have to be a “concrete caste” – a good plan, she noted, will provide a framework and parameters so that one knows when to flex.
“It’ll give you options that still fit with your vision, not a straightjacket that binds you to the past,” she noted.
What is fundamental, however, is that one’s BD plan be compatible with the personality of that boutique firm leader, Ms Prodonovich argued.
“It’s important because to maintain a consistent focus, especially in these times, you need to enjoy what you are doing. So often, business development activities cross over into your personal life and time. The benefit of having BD activities that fit with your personality is that you won’t resent the blurred boundaries between your professional and personal life,” she explained.
“This is still a people business – especially for boutique firms that rely much more on the expertise of individuals. In my experience people are attracted to working with people who enjoy what they do and who they work with.”
A boutique firm leader is more likely, Ms Prodonovich continued, to “continue doing something that aligns with your personal style and values – and people are attracted to people who are like them”.
“It’s a faster route to building trusted relationships,” she surmised.
“So, if you’d rather stick pins in your eyes than go to a networking event then don’t go. Find something else that demonstrates your expertise.”
This strategy becomes even more pertinent, she added, in the age of coronavirus.
“In times of uncertainty or anxiousness, we need people around us who we actually look forward to speaking with. The conversations with clients and colleagues who are also friends [are] good for the brain. It [helps stop] one spiralling into a more stressful situation,” she said.
Those who fail to develop a BD plan in alignment with their personality risk resenting the daily grind of legal practice, and things will not get done, Ms Prodonovich warned.
“It’ll take you twice as long or you’ll find [workarounds] that never quite do the job properly. In a nutshell you’ll waste your time or you’ll tick a box and won’t be too happy for it!” she said.
“Consider the personal attributes and ways of doing business of your client and your team. Some firms use personal profile assessment which can be an excellent start in understanding communication styles and what makes people tick.”