There is a lot more to setting up or developing a firm than most individuals initially think. We are here to guide you through those tasks including assisting with a strong and realistic business plan and supplementary cash flow forecast.
Law firms are more than just a business. Law firms and the lawyers within them are engaged in a profession, with obligations that go beyond purely commercial concerns. It is therefore essential that you have a strong business plan that is an evolving and working document.
The real value of the business plan, particularly for the solo practice or small firm drafting one for the first time, lies in in the process of researching and thinking about your practice in a systematic way and the fact that it forces the firm to think about business issues that it otherwise would not have considered.
It takes time now but avoids costly and perhaps disastrous, mistakes later. Our experienced law firm set up and business development team work closely with you to help present a business case that is detailed, tailored, punchy and robust.
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How a Business Plan Should Look
While law firms may be more than a business, there is a large and necessary business element to them. Investing time early on into the business management side of a legal practice can make a major difference in the financial rewards they derive from it or even their survival.
Below is the format and content that we find works well, and especially for submission to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for new setups:
Overview / Introduction
This section should provide a short summary of who you are, what you do, where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Detail your current position/role within the firm and your skillset and provide an overview of your practice area and sector focus.
The Business Profile / Market Strategy
This section should briefly outline your actual proposal and case for what it is that you would look to bring to the firm. What is the value add and why? What are your objectives and how does your strategy align with the business? You could also include some detail around short and long term goals.
This section is crucial, enabling you to sell yourself and the strengths of your relationships and forms the central part of your proposal. Your aim is to simply provide a detailed explanation of those key clients that are likely to follow you and fundamentally how much revenue they will generate.
It is good to lay out your client base in full including what percentages of work will come in through which marketing, networking and referral streams.
The phrasing used to describe your relationships and fee-generating potential should be positive and optimistic in the assumptions made.
This section will address key operational issues like the office lease or home working arrangements, equipment purchases and technology plans. You can include the teams experience and you may assign roles to various staff members for operational issues.
Financial Analysis - Past/Future performance and plan
In this section, you need to analyse how you performed in your past roles and a plan for how you will achieve your financial goals and targets, including long term objectives and as, set out in the cash flow forecast. This is a supplementary document that should always sit alongside the business plan.
Think about what marketing the firm currently performs or for new firms, what strategy and tools they intend on using upon launch. Set out the percentage of work that will come from different marketing channels and what marketing goals it wants to set for the future.
Additional Information/SWOT Analysis
It is worth providing details around market trends, additional areas for growth and perhaps other opportunities or ideas you might have around making the most of your contacts and experience.
Some information on potential threats and competitors could be useful, as well as some detail around restrictive covenants. Further information about any professional external help and support and financial resources you have can also be helpful.
This is essentially your closing statement. It should summarise all the above and look to drive home your case for approval.
We can assist with a wide range of law firm setup and management services which include but are not limited to:
- Authorisation Documentation
- Business Plans
- COLP & COFA Training
- Financial Forecasts
- IT support including cloud-based solutions and CRM
- Office manuals
- Quality accreditation (Lexcel SQM)
- Staff handbooks
- Support your application to the SRA
- Website marketing (Digital Marketing)
- Website setup