How to make time for business development and still have a life outside of work

How do you make time for business development when you have a full day – especially if you are a lawyer?

As you start to go up the ladder, on the way to making partner, your responsibilities get bigger. And with a full day, how do you ensure that your career still moves forward and you can still seal deals on new businesses and expand your network? Sounds exhausting, right? But it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s my video sharing with you how you can effectively juggle your time between your day to day operation and your career goals and still have time to see your family and sleep.

How do you make time for business development?

You know, when you start to get to manager, associate, senior associate, managing associate. You’re starting to go out and start to win work.

Now initially that’s going to be with your existing clients but actually, you know, you’ve got to, as your career moves forward, you’ve got to make time for business development.

The question is how do you make time for business development? Say if you’re a lawyer and you’ve got a six, seven-hour chargeable time target. That doesn’t leave much time for admin, business development, developing yourself, having a bad day. It doesn’t leave much time to do that.

So the question is, how do you make time for business development?

The first thing you’ve got to do is do a mindset shift. Because your mindset controls what you focus on. Your focus controls your behaviors. Your behaviors determine the activities and then the outcomes you do. So you’ve got to get the mindset right.

If you’re thinking that client work always comes first this not going to help yourself. If you’re thinking I’m no good at this, I don’t have time to do this, this is not going to help yourself.

One of the mindsets that I encourage people to have is, ‘I will do a little bit of business development every day’. Now that little bit could just be going on to LinkedIn.

It doesn’t need to be the big stuff. Do a little bit of business development every day.

Another mindset is only I can drive my career forward. Only I can have that extra conversation. Another mindset thing is to always be curious and look for the opportunities in the moment.

So what do I mean by that? Let’s say your deal based or you do big transactions. And you’re full out on a big deal, a big transaction, a big project. Looking for opportunities in the moment is about looking for literally opportunities in the moment.

You’re meeting with the other, your meeting with the client, have a little bit of a wider conversation. Not just about the work that’s on the table.

Find about the importance of this project. What’s it going to lead to, where’s it going to? So take the opportunities in the moment. You know, sit down and have lunch with one of the advisors in your team that maybe not part of your firm instead of having the phone call and get to know them a bit better. It is about looking for those opportunities in the moment.

The next thing then is to think about the five Ps. Once you’ve got the mindset, I often talk about what are the underlying systems that are going to help you achieve your goals. And, you know, if you don’t have the underlying systems, you don’t have the infrastructure to help you achieve those goals.

So the first thing is you need a plan. I’m not talking about a three-year plan for world domination. I’m talking about the next days, the next month, the next week and what you’re going to do today.

What’s the one thing you’re going to do today on business development? What’s the one thing you’re going to do this week on business development you’re going to achieve? That’s what I’m talking about.

Then it is about prioritizing. To go back, what is that one thing that I’m going to do today, that one thing I’m going to achieve this week when I plan out what I’m going to do.

You know that plan, that priority is key. The next thing you need to talk about is a prospect. Now if you’re a distress purchase or one-off deal maker, when I talk about a prospect, I’m not just talking about the end client, I’m talking about the introducers.

So who are the prospects that if you focus on, that if you have top of mind or the introducers that if you focus on and have top of mind are more likely to generate you work?

You know, if you could only choose five out of them who would those five be? If you could only choose three out of the five who would those three be?

Really once again, remember to prioritize. Then put it back in your plan.

So plan, prioritize, prospect. The next thing is to pace yourself. You can’t do anything.

So go back to what is the one thing I’m going to do this week? What’s the one thing that I’m going to do today?

If I can only do, you know, business development is always a choice. What is it that you can do, what is going to get you there fastest? So pace yourself.

And then finally push down.

You need to push down your work, maybe push down some business development to people in your team to free you up time to do this. If you’re hanging on to work to hit your business development that could be done by the level below, you’re first of all demonstrating that you’re not thinking commercially and actually we have to demonstrate if we’re going to push our career on that we need to think commercially.

So let’s go through that. Get your mindset right. Then it is about plan, prioritize, prospect, pace yourself and push down.

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