Recently I was lucky enough to be in a C130 Hercules Flight Simulator at RAF Brize Norton.
I learned how to do (some of!) what’s needed to take off, fly, and land the Hercules military transport plane under the guidance of my pilot trainer, Mark.
Part of the training involved keeping a watchful eye on the instrument panel – in particular, the airspeed, altimeter, and trajectory of the plane (i.e. whether it was ascending, descending, or holding level).
One of the most memorable things Mark said to me was “You need to keep scanning between these different readings on the instrument panel. Don’t get fixated on one number and forget about the rest because that’s when you get into trouble.”
This really struck a chord with me. In the plane, if you are only focusing on speed, you might not notice you’re on the wrong trajectory. If you only focus on your altitude, you might overlook the fact that your speed is dropping to a dangerously low level.
It reminded me of the tragic story of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 which crashed in 1972 when the flight crew reportedly became so preoccupied with fixing an issue with the landing gear that they didn’t notice the auto-pilot had deactivated. As a result, the plane lost altitude and crashed.
In your law firm or legal practice, keeping an eye on the ‘instrument panel’ means focusing on the right numbers and indicators that tell you how well your business is performing right now and what the current trajectory is.
Focusing too much on just one number could put your business at risk of being on the wrong path without realising it.
For example, if you focus on the number of new enquiries but ignore the percentage being converted into clients, you’ll only be seeing half the picture. You might be trying to increase the number of enquiries, but you don’t notice that the conversion rate is the real issue you need to address.
Or, if you focus on the number of new matters opened in a month but don’t pay attention to the profitability of those matters, you might be on track to be very busy, but you don’t make any money.
Ask yourself “What numbers am I paying attention to in my law firm or legal practice, and do they give me all the information I need to be on track for my chosen destination?”.
If not, what numbers do you need to pay attention to as well as (or instead of) those you are currently tracking?
If your numbers are telling you that your profitability isn’t high enough, then the fastest way to improve that is by raising your fees. Even if you feel your profitability is currently at a healthy level, raising your fees is an essential ‘profit-protection’ strategy for the current economic climate.
And if you’d like more help from me, you can join me and other small firm owners at the ‘Profitable Practice Secrets Workshop For Small Law Firms’ workshop where we’ll work together to analyse what your firm or practice needs in order to grow, and then start implementing the key ‘Accelerators’ to get more clients and increase your fee income and profits. See the full agenda for the workshop, read testimonials about real results other lawyers have had, and check ticket availability HERE.