Business Development Managing Self Monday Morning Practice Planning

Business development happens in small steps

Written by Allison Wolf

I’ll get to it after this transaction.

I am really busy right now, I’ll make time for this once I am caught up.

You can have the best, most strategic plan, and the ripest opportunities within your grasp but this one thought – there’s not enough time right now – is what will stop you dead in your tracks each and every time.

Nodding your head right about now? Had this thought before? You are not alone. In my experience this – not now, later – thought is what throws most lawyers off their best intentioned plans, and causes them to spend money calling up coaches like me for accountability.

Here’s what is important to know: A lot of business development happens in small steps, often very small steps. A five-minute investment can be enough to keep your plan on track. And with five to fifteen minutes you can get some important things done.

Here are some examples:

  • With two minutes – send an email to your contact, suggesting a lunch date, and offering a time.
  • With five minutes – set up a goggle alert tracking topics of interest to your clients. Or if you are fortunate to have access to a staff librarian, email them to set up a weekly summary of important news items related to your client’s business interests.
  • With five minutes – email an article or link to a client saying, I thought of you when I read this, and include a small summary of what is important for the client to know.
  • With five minutes – take a look at your business plan or contact list and decide – who do I want to connect with this week? Or, what action do I want to take this week?
  • With ten minutes – start jotting down some ideas for an article or presentation topic. Or, if you have a topic, begin writing up a short to do list of how you can break down the project into smaller steps. With another ten minutes set about gathering the research materials you need. Or take a stab at drafting an outline. Or just write for ten minutes and see how far you can progress. It can be highly effective to tackle writing and presentation planning in small steps:

Next time you find yourself thinking, I don’t have enough time, think again. What can I get done today with just five minutes? Then do it.


About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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