Updated: Sep 4
Twenty something years ago I grew my startup, solo law firm from zero revenue to over one million in annual revenue.
I started contemplating how to leap one more decimal point, to 10 million.
Up till that point I was able to grow the firm organically.
But it became clear to me that more would be required to achieve rapid 10X growth.
If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter for any period of time, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in the power of collaboration.
I had launched my firm with a partnership deal, and I saw a potential opportunity to do it again at this critical juncture.
Within months of that decision, I had providentially merged my firm into an entity that would become one of the largest firms in the country.
Over a seven-year stretch my partners and I successfully recruited top talent, big name clients, and went on a winning streak.
Until we weren’t.
I was at a morning meeting with some men I considered as my inner circle.
These were businessmen and brothers in the faith, who met once per week to catch up, to pray for each other, and for accountability.
Halfway through our meeting my phone rang, and I stepped aside to take the call.
It was from our firm CEO.
In a voice heavy with emotion, he said, “It’s over.”
And it was.
Our firm had struck a hidden glacier that damaged our hull, and eventually took the “Mothership” down.
The partners scattered, taking their respective clients with them, and fanning out on their own.
I was one of them.
On reflection, I recognize three things that I hope will be useful to you.
1. The firm took a hit, but this is commonplace in business. If you haven’t taken one in business, just wait.
2. The firm did not have to sink. We had enough collective resources, talent, and clientele to weather the storm with some sacrifices.
We could have bounced back stronger.
3. But we didn’t have a survival plan. None of the owners (yours truly included) had created a succession plan to anticipate and survive a major crisis.
We were left scrambling, but that only works if you're cooking eggs.
So, what should we have done to avoid cratering our firm?
A better question is, what should YOU do in the event of your own challenge?
Here are my best thoughts.
1. Think about a crisis BEFORE it happens.
We were a large firm with hundreds of employees.
You may be a solopreneur.
In your case, crisis prevention may simply mean that you have enough business or life insurance in place to take care of an emergency.
Entrepreneurs feel like supermen and women, but that’s not realistic.
Even Superman was vulnerable to kryptonite.
Think about your business succession well in advance of having the need to.
2. Reduce your thoughts to a written plan.
What happens to the business in the event of your absence or disability?
Create a plan that your partner, spouse, or successors can execute in your absence.
A business is not truly a business until it can run for long stretches without you.
3. Use long term thinking.
When I first merged with my partners, I had looked into the future for a 10X growth solution, but I needed to think even beyond that goal.
So what if we hit the 10X goal, which we collectively did, many times over?
What happens 10 or 20 years down the line?
I admit I hadn’t thought that far.
You don’t have to make the same mistake.
One way to hedge against disruption is through solid business coaching. I can’t guarantee your business won’t face a crisis, but I can guarantee if you follow my lead, you can be prepared.
Let's talk about how we can partner to grow your business with strategic planning, foresight, and execution.
PS. Here are some links showcasing some of the ways we can work together.
I'll see you back in your inbox next Monday!