Using check-lists may not sound “fun” or “creative” or anything like the reason you went into law, accountancy or consultancy, but they are essential if you want to turn on a reliable tap of new business leads coming to you. (Which then becomes the basis of your Business Case for partnership.) They are essential if you want be able to focus on not just the client workload in front of you, but also what you need to do to grow your handful of clients into a practice… within your firm. Although they may not be fun, checklists do help you get the essentials done, so here is our winning business checklist. Here is how to develop the daily habits to move from being a good fee earner to someone is great and reliable at generating new business.
All experts have a checklist!
A pilot has a checklist to check and cross-check what they need to before they taxi down the runway. A Doctor has a checklist to assess exactly what’s wrong with a patient before they treat them. A scientist has a checklist to follow so that they know that they carried out their experiment correctly. All of these experts have their checklists, their processes, and procedures that they follow so that they don’t forget what they have to do. That doesn’t make them any less of an expert, it just makes them smart! When we think about it, it makes sense that these experts use checklists in their jobs, but for some reason, a lot of professionals don’t consider using one in their business. How else can you remember exactly what you need to do every day, week, and month to achieve your billable targets AND grow your practice? How else can you keep track of what you’ve done, how much, and whether it is actually working? If you haven’t guessed already, it’s all about having a winning business checklist. Something that reminds you of the high-value tasks that you need to do every day to move from being a fee earner to someone who is acting like a future partner of the business. I.e. a business owner not just a great technician. Read: The missing ingredient in why we struggle to make the time for business development
Our ‘winning business’ checklist: 6 daily habits you need to have
If you want to grow your business, you need to become a go-to-expert and if you want to become a go-to-expert, you need to be doing a few key tasks consistently. There are hundreds of habits that we could recommend (and I’m sure you could then add hundreds more), but it’s not about trying to do everything and then doing them all poorly. To be successful, you need to start with the basics. Here are a few that could help you create your own daily habit list. Your checklist to expertise if you will.
- Read something related to your chosen sector. It’s important to stay on top of trending topics in your field. It keeps you informed about potential opportunities, it can be a conversation starter, and it allows you to demonstrate your expertise. What would happen if you were sharing something about trending topics and commenting on them for your potential clients? This doesn’t have to be long, but set aside some time to read every day so that you are up to date.
- Post 3-4 valuable pieces of content on social media. This could be sharing something you have read (as in point one) or it could be some great tips from you that you KNOW people will find useful. They don’t have to be long (could be as simple as a tweet or it could be a blog), they just need to be valuable so that you get your voice heard in your target sector. By the way, ‘valuable’ is as defined by your target audience. If you’re not sure what they want, you need to start implementing this next habit.
- Spend a few minutes every day talking to one person in your target audience. A great habit to foster and one for your winning business checklist is to talk to someone every day. This could be your best clients or new people you’ve connected with in your target audience. Whoever you choose, ask about issues they struggle with, solutions they’ve found, and what makes them successful. To become an expert and grow your business, you need to learn about your audience every day. Treat every day like a school day. If you need help identifying your target audience download our free worksheet to help you once and for all decide on your niche.
- Connect with 3 people in your chosen sector. Much like the previous habit, it is also extremely valuable if you set aside some time to make valuable connections each day. LinkedIn is a great way to reach out to your target audience, if you remember to do it! Add this to your winning business checklist and you’ll find it much harder to forget. Use our free guide to creating a networking plan to help you focus on the right people to connect with.
- Engage with influencers. Who are the experts in your industry? It might sound like an odd piece of advice, but try to engage regularly with these people. If you go onto channels such as LinkedIn every day and engage with them, you’ll soon start to build relationships with key people and you’ll build your reputation in the process.
- Reflect on what’s good. OK, this sounds a bit new age and flaky, but bear with me. It’s all too easy to see people doing things better than us, to see an ever-growing “to do” list and to get dragged down by our own lack of progress. Give yourself the energy to keep going by acknowledging what you have achieved.
Bonus monthly habits to remember
Checklists in winning business don’t stop at daily habits. There are plenty of checklists that tell you what you need to do weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually to grow your business. As we said previously though, you could lose yourself in researching this so we’ll keep it simple. Start with these two monthly habits to always be generating new client work:
- Know what your competitors are doing. It’s really important to be really clear about your place in the market so you need to check it every once in a while. As part of your ‘winning business’ checklist, check out your competition every month. Who are your competitors today and who will they be tomorrow? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Are there any threats to you or opportunities for you to jump on?
- Measure your progress and update your plan. To position yourself as an expert, you need to assess your business development regularly. How much progress have you made? Are you achieving your goals? What’s working and what’s not? What should you be doing and why aren’t you doing it? Checklists in winning business are just checklists if they aren’t accompanied by action and review. If you don’t yet have a marketing or business development plan, download a free guide to creating a marketing plan here.
Use checklists to develop the right habits
All experts use checklists. They use checklists to remember and to get what they need to done. If you use our winning business checklist to start with above, you’ll soon see the power of checklists when it comes to taking action. You’ll soon start doing things naturally, high-value tasks that you always knew you should be doing but you never made the time for.