Chances are that your lawyer has never encouraged you to establish business goals as a legal strategy. In this blog, I hope to convince you that goal setting is a great way to reduce your chances of getting sued or having other legal troubles. Of course, setting goals is only part of the battle. What’s a goal worth, if you never take the next step: Implementing a plan to meet those goals? But, let’s start here- Goal Setting.
I think business goals are best defined as components of your “Vision.” What is it you are trying to create, build, rebuild or restructure? What will your company look like in 12, 25, 60 months from now? For example, I am involved in helping to launch a virtual law service- www.IndianaVirtualLaw.com. IndianaVirtualLaw has a vision of its intended future. It is becoming the best, online law firm providing a wide range of legal forms, documents and other “unbundled services” with no fewer than 80 regular clients and 200 annual clients within 12 months. IndianaVirtualLaw intends to be an automated, forms-driven service that is almost entirely online to serve a specific market segment.
I could describe the vision for IndianaVirtualLaw in more detail, but you get the idea. The more specifically I can defined the vision of any company, the more likely I will be able to create a plan to reach that goal- realize the vision.
Once you have a well-defined vision, you can determine the steps required to move your company from where you are today to where you need to be to realize the vision. And this is the stuff of business planning.
With a well-defined vision and business plan, you can chart your conduct, define operations, establish employee roles, etc. You can create operations manuals, policies, procedures, etc. And in those operational tools, you can identify risks and create ways to keep customers happy, safe and out of the courtroom suing you. Remember that HAPPY CUSTOMERS WON’T SUE YOU.
Your company will also be able to manage cash flow better. That reduces disputes with vendors over payments, because you won’t be late on payments.
If cash flow is good, you can avoid doing business with less desirable customers and clients, especially slow-paying customers and clients. Thereby, you can avoid having to hire attorneys or collection agencies to collect your accounts receivable.
If your company is functioning well, you can afford to retain professional advisors, like lawyers, CPA’s, insurance advisors, business coaches, etc. And, this enables you to implement preventative measures that reduce liability risks, rather than the more costly way of reacting to problems.
Etc., etc., etc.
The advantages of setting goals and implementing business plans are enormous. So, I think it is critical that business attorneys understand business to help their clients with goal setting and planning as part of the client’s asset protection plan.