Firm Owners: 3 Reasons to Run Your Firm Like a Production Line

November 1, 2018
Firm Owners: 3 Reasons to Run Your Firm Like a Production Line

If you run a legal firm, you’d do a lot of administrative work that doesn’t produce value for clients or make you money. At FirmChecker, we analyse a range of service delivery models for lawyers, accountants, conveyancers and bookkeepers. In this post, we’ll look at the reasons for running your firm more like a production line.

Inputs: source instructions more efficiently

Marketing feeds your production line: for output (advice) you need inputs (instructions from a client). Source these inputs as efficiently as possible.

Writing for Legal Support Network, Nick Andrews explains the importance of marketing automation:

“Marketing automation, simply put, is the ability to automatically communicate with client prospects at certain points during their online contact journey with your firm. The aim is to increase their engagement with a minimum of effort and resource, to ultimately provide new or further instructions to the firm

You can do this by getting prospects’ contact information when they land on your website or FirmChecker profile, seeing what they engage with and providing them with bespoke content at certain trigger points. This allows you to be in the box seat to secure their services when they’re ready to buy, and cross-sell relevant services.

It’s (a) far less costly than providing this content manually and (b) much more effective than a traditional email list, where you just blast and hope.efficient marketing

Outputs: make your ‘production line’ more efficient

Richard Tromans makes the case for more automation in law firms on his website AI and Legal Automation News + View blog. Taking a provocative view on the billable hour, he summarises the pricing of most legal work as:

  • E + I = P (Expertise + Inefficiency of Work = Price Paid)

Making the case that we are really paying for the expertise, Tromans argues that, “To put it prosaically: the buyer eats the unpleasant inefficiency of the expertise cake.” Put another way, you wouldn’t want your restaurant bill to be split into the food plus the human effort required to get it to you-you just want to pay for the food!

Our research shows that when clients pay for the “food” (i.e. output) and not the labour, they’re happier. This doesn’t mean they pay less, it just means they know what they’re getting themselves into when they start their matter so their expectations are properly managed.

Key reasons to run your firm like a production line

Your mindset should be to run your firm like a production line for the following reasons:

  1. Get more business with less work: Marketing automation allows you to source these inputs as efficiently as possible, which can have a massive effect on your bottom line.
  2. Clients just want output: Your clients don’t care about what’s involved in getting your expertise, they just care about the result. Charge them for that instead.
  3. Save time and money: De-coupling your time from your pricing saves puts the incentives in place to become more efficient. In the long run, this will save you money and free up your time to add more value (or sit on the beach…)

Summary – start now

You can’t reinvent your practice in a day, but you can start.

First step: change to fixed fees. It will make your clients happier and save you time in the long run. It’s a short-term scope risk, but with the right incentives in place, you’re likely to (1) save time, (2) save money and (3) have happier clients.

Secondly, review your marketing strategy, see what you can automate and follow/subscribe to our blog for hints and tips about how, not just why.

About the Author

Ben Farrow is the Managing Director of FirmChecker and a consultant for Beaton Research + Consulting, the leading management consultants to professional services firms in the Asia-Pacific region. He holds commerce (economics and finance) and law (JD) degrees from the University of Melbourne, digital marketing certifications from Northwestern University and dabbles in coding. Ben provides frank and actionable tips to professionals looking to work to live, not live to work.

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