Business development is not the first thing you think about when you first enter any career. You’re filled with excitement as to what new things you will learn and what opportunities will come your way. Sometimes there is such a focus on the now, your long-term career plans are not always obvious or can get lost in the routine of working in your practice.
One of the key areas that I have picked up on in terms of what makes you a successful lawyer is you’re not just an expert technically. You can also do the business development side of things too. Building your network early on is key to success later. You need to have contacts and build your practice so that when you come to your Partner board you can show value to the firm.
To help you to cultivate business development in young lawyers, let’s take a look at some of the key things to keep in mind.
Entrepreneurial Mindset for business development
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you are in the entrepreneurial mindset. After all, those who visualise themselves succeeding, are usually the ones who do. An entrepreneurial mindset is one that allows you to look to the future and ensure that you build not only a business identity but also a personal brand too. You will be someone who is forward-thinking. Who is always business minded and that will do their best to get things for themselves, rather than relying on someone else doing it for us. My moto here is do business not law.
Cultivating a Personal Network
Networking is never easy, no matter what career path you walk down. However, for a young lawyer, cultivating a personal network is something that is incredibly important. You want to make sure that you have a truly solid link of contacts. Who not only can help you to develop yourself right now, but that could also have an impact on your career further down the line.
There are two types of networking, I think. The first is networking to build contacts in your industry – other lawyers who you could refer to if there was a conflict, senior lawyers that you can connect with to become mentors or advisors. The other type of networking is for clients – who are you clients and where will they be? It may be that they are not at networking events but more webinars and seminars in their field. It’s important to think outside the box!
Being Involved in the Community
Moving on from the idea of networking you can take this one step further and actually make sure that you are a key part of the entire community. Not only does this mean that you are involved in the community and you can build on your professional network. But you will also be able to ask for advice and guidance when you need it along the way. As well as be seen as much more professional and even more of an expert than you otherwise would.
There are a variety of ways that you can integrate yourself into the community. You could attend and participate in high-profile social events, join the relevant associations and even apply for leadership roles within your current organisation.
Plan for the Future for business development
There is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing yourself to become excited about where your future could take you. Sit down and ask yourself a few questions that can help you to really focus on your future as a lawyer. Think about the type of lawyer that you want to be. The type of clients that you see yourself serving and your aspirations on where you want to be professionally.
Once you have all these things in mind then you can really start to make a plan for your future and think about the main goals that you have in the short-term and the long-term. Making sure that you become the very best lawyer that you can be.
Take a look at some of my other blogs on business development: