Recession-proof your business (1): Setting clear business goals for your law firm

In this challenging economic climate organisations and companies globally must seize every advantage, no matter how small, to ensure survival.

To recession-proof your business you must set business goals. In doing so you’ll become agile and be able to achieve your objectives.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What business goals are
  • How to define them
  • Why SMART goals matter
  • How goals are different to objectives


Five things you should know if you’re serious about recession-proofing your business

#1 What are business goals?

Business goals aren’t just arbitrary objectives you hope to achieve. They’re time-critical mission statements that require commitment – no matter what the nature or size of your business.

Furthermore, to recession-proof your business, these goals must be attainable. Else your aims are little more than a wish list that’ll eat up time and money.

#2 How do you set business goals?

Setting business goals is harder than it sounds. But the following parameters will help you get started.

Keep things simple

Overly complex ideas are hard to explain and equally as hard to implement. If you can’t explain the goal clearly scrub it from your list.

Think short- and long-term

To recession-proof your business think about the present and future. How will your goals benefit the firm today and tomorrow?

Can you really do this?

Breaking into new markets is ambitious. But can you scale quickly and efficiently enough to compete without risk?

Goal setting is about being realistic. So, step back and ask whether the objective is achievable within the time frame.

What’s the timescale?

Setting parameters is of utmost importance. That’s why goals must be married to clear and, most importantly, realistic deadlines. 

SWOT should I do next? How to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses

Achievable goals should flow from a top-down assessment of your firm’s current position. Therefore, you must confront difficult truths. Else, change won’t happen.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) is the foundation upon which your strategy will be built.

  • Strengths – what do you do better than competitors?
  • Weaknesses – what needs repairing?
  • Opportunities – where’s the potential for growth?
  • Threats – what could derail your plans (competitors, changing markets)?

Want to know how to set business goals? Think SMARTER and the rest will follow

From your SWOT analysis will evolve a deeper understanding of your business, its sector, and its customers. Before setting goals you’ll need to familiarise yourself with another acronym: SMART – which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Here’s how the SMART system could help your law firm evaluate its goals…

  • Specific – be clear about your goal to the extent anyone at any level in your business would understand it
  • Measurable – what methodologies will you use to track progress and understand when the goal is complete?
  • Attainable – Is your goal achievable by following an in-depth analysis of your sector, rivals, and target audience?
  • Timely – is the deadline realistic or will it force you to rush your plan, therein increasing the chances of errors?

Goals versus objectives: understanding the difference 

Goals and objectives and most certainly connected. But they are not the same thing.

  • A goal tends to be long-term and is then organised into a series of more manageable objectives
  • Objectives are detailed short-term milestones designed to help businesses monitor their goals

To set clear objectives and recession-proof your business you’ll need to:

  • Create a detailed list of participants and link those tasks to a robust performance plan against which you can measure team members’ ability to achieve assigned objectives
  • Decide who’ll perform the tasks and emphasise the importance of taking ownership – so those working on the project understand their responsibilities
  • Define a timeline for the overall goal and each of its sub-objectives so everyone knows what’s expected of them and by when
  • Provide teams with the tools needed to perform their tasks within the proscribed timeline and define a clear budget for doing so
  • Communicate goals and objectives often and clearly – while thanking, motivating, and rewarding those involved

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