3 Ways A Successful Remodel Is Like A Successful Business Plan
I’ve been busy with a major remodel of late, which is now happily finished to our great satisfaction. The successful conclusion has gotten me thinking about what went well with the project. While I’m glad I didn’t keep track of how many hours I spent on this project, in hindsight it was very much like a well-crafted business plan:
- It all starts with the vision. Knowing what I wanted out of this project is akin to knowing what I wanted when I was growing my law practice. What type of work, with what type of clients? How many? By when? Why? Deciding what outcome I desired, — and writing it down – made it more concrete, exciting, and easier to plan for. Yes, I drafted a bullet point list of what I wanted out of this remodel. Do you have a vision for your practice?
- Research, research, research. I spent hours looking at possible approaches to redoing a kitchen and master bedroom, and read everything I could find about how to have a remodel that succeeded with design, budget, and schedule. Hiring the team was critical to our success, and I developed a list of questions for the architects, general contractors, and designers that I interviewed. What made for a successful project, in their eyes? Would my project fit their sweet spot, and why? How did they feel about my budget? Was it realistic, and why or why not? If you’re an attorney out looking for more clients, or more work from your existing clients, what research are you doing to determine who is in your sweet spot? What are your clients’ current unmet needs? Who in your firm can help cross-market you to their clients? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, you’re not putting your best business development foot forward.
- Follow up matters. Keeping track of my various ideas for finishes or design ideas, the conversations I had with numerous people about factors to consider to stay within the budget, or the appropriate next steps to see if an approach was feasible, kept me on my organizational toes. Just as in developing new clients, a plan is only as useful as the steps you logically take to implement it. Gathering creative ideas about how to identify and/or stay in touch with your most likely client prospects is of no use if you don’t decide which of those ideas you are going to adopt and get done.
And don’t discount the fortuitous encounters that you have along the path that lead to business coming from unexpected quarters. My sorority sister’s second husband referred me to the woman my husband and I eventually hired as the general contractor, and he first met Sandy from when their kids played soccer together 20+ years ago. That would never have been enough for us to hire Sandy, but it got her onto my list of possible candidates, and when our project ended up being in her sweet spot, our project visions aligned, and her references were impeccable, she got the job. And so can you!