Many of you work in firms that don't have a business plan for the firm as a whole, let alone your practice group or individual attorneys. And some of you are not privy to the firm's plan, even if there is one.
- If you are interested in seeing the elements of a lateral partner business plan click here: Partner Business Plans: Key Elements
Even so, that's no reason to forgo developing a plan for yourself. Remember, if you don't plan your career, someone else will plan it for you.
Have no fear. Personal business planning is not about writing a 50-page manifesto outlining every detail of every day of your professional life for the next 10 years. In fact, personal business planning can be as simple as you want to make it, as you can see here with this sample business plan for law practice PDF. You don't even have to call it a business plan -- call it a career plan if you prefer.
No matter how simple you make it or what you call it, personal business planning is about taking inventory of where you are, determining where you want to go and building a roadmap for getting there. Once you have the plan in writing, all you have to do is revisit it periodically to check your course and make any necessary adjustments.
Still skeptical about the usefulness of personal business planning? Consider the following advantages:
- It allows you to chart a career course that matches your specific skills, abilities, and interests.
- It can help you align your own goals with those of your firm.
- It becomes easier for you to review and revisit your goals on a regular basis, making sure that you do not stray too far off course.
- Because it can take years to develop legal business, a business plan focuses you on what you need to do to ensure that you'll have business down the road.
- It will help you and your firm focus time and resources on those opportunities that offer the greatest chances for success.
- It can help you stay focused, even when you're bombarded with new ideas and opportunities. When a vast array of possibilities present themselves, your plan can serve as a personal constitution that forces you to make a careful analysis before making amendments or changing course.
- Finally, a properly written plan will help you measure and recognize the results of your efforts over time.