Legal Business Development: How to Decide Whether to Write an Article, Deliver a Presentation, or Attend a Conference

“Should I write an article for this publication?  Should I accept this invitation to speak?  Should I attend this conference?”
 Since neither time nor money is unlimited, you’ll have to make some difficult decisions about which business development activities to pursue and which to let pass.

Especially if you’re eager to get new business, it’s easy to accept any opportunity to accept any opportunity that crosses your path.  Accepting scattershot opportunities will leave you with scattershot results, sap your energy and resources, and ultimately leave you exhausted.

When you’re evaluating an opportunity, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will this activity reach the right audience?  Whether it’s writing for, speaking to, or networking with the wrong audience will not bring enough benefit to justify the investment of time, so ask this foundational question before you begin.  Your business development plan will define the right audience.  Who are your ideal clients and referral sources?  That’s your audience.
  2. How much time will this require?  Be realistic in your estimate — before you begin.
  3. What results would make the expenditure of time worthwhile?  As with any business development activity, you must measure the results that you get.  What’s more, you must know, before you begin, what results would make it worthwhile for you to have undertaken this activity.
  4. What’s the opportunity cost of this activity?  In other words, if you take on this activity, what must you give up?  Look at the cost in both time and money.  Consider, before you begin, whether you would be better advised to invest elsewhere.
  5. What non-business development benefits will you get from the activity?  Depending on your stage in practice and your personal finances (or revenue from your practice), other benefits may outweigh a lack of clear business development payoff.

Depending on your strategy and plans, any activity can be a simple way to increase your professional reach or a time-consuming and ineffective approach.  Going through these questions will help you to make foundational decisions that will get you on the right track — before you undertake any new activity.


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