Will You Be a 2011 Gazelle?

I’m all about making my business a game. I need some structure. I like rules, a scoreboard, and a strategy.

I’ve got the game figured out for 2011. I’ve got one overall objective.

My plan is to maintain our status as a “gazelle.” A gazelle, in this context anyway, is a company growing at a rate of 20% or more per year.

That means increasing our revenues by 20% over last year. That’s been our target for quite a few years, and most years we’ve been successful. I am especially excited about 2011. I’m optimistic about this being a very good year for us.

My question for you is, how much are you going to grow in 2011? What’s your plan?

If you’re like lots of family law practitioners, you don’t have a goal. You’re going to start the year doing your best and keep doing your best all year long. You’re going to end up where you end up, and you won’t have made a commitment to a particular objective.

That’s fine, and sometimes I’ve done the same thing. I’ve been on both sides of the goal-setting debate, and I’ve come down pretty solidly on one side of the fence.

My conclusion is that setting goals works. When we set a target, we’re more likely to have a better year than when we don’t set a target. We don’t always achieve the objective, but we grow faster than we do in the years when we do the drifting thing.

I think what happens is we wake up in the morning thinking about how to achieve the objective. We’re clear on what we’re trying to do, and we make little decisions—little movements—all day long that move us closer to the target. We don’t always know what we’re doing or why we’re doing it, but we know where we want to go. It makes a difference.

I suggest that you take a few minutes and figure out what you’re trying to do in 2011. You can carefully come up with an objective and back-step a plan. That might take a few hours. Alternatively, you can wing it: make your best estimates and figure out how to do it later. Either way, I think you’ll do better than you would if you decide not to plan 2011. My strong feeling based on 23 years of experimenting is that you’re better off with a goal, even if you have absolutely no idea how you’re going to achieve it.

Pick a revenue target, create a quick budget of expenses, and come up with a profit target. Take a few minutes and divide the revenue figure by your average fee per client. Now you know how many cases it’s going to take to achieve your goal. Divide the number of clients you need for the year into weekly and monthly targets, and get to work. I’m going to do my best to keep giving you good ideas about how to generate those cases so you can hit your number.

Are you going to be a gazelle in 2011? Or do you have some other objective? Share your thoughts below. Committing publicly to your goals and sharing them with your team will increase your commitment and increase the likelihood of your success.

What are you going to do in 2011?

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