Be Clear About Expectations, With Your Partners and Yourself

Do you know what success looks like? What does it mean for everyone in your firm to pull their weight? If you want your blog, or your business, to be successful, you need to be clear about expectations – including who will do what, when. And that applies to your business partners, and yourself.

This is part 2 of a blog series based on my experiences with the Build Institute‘s Basics workshop, helping entrepreneurs get new and developing business ideas off on the right foot.

Read Week 1: Getting Personal to Create Sustainable Change

At this week’s session, Leslie Lott of Lott Legal, PLLC, focused on the legal side of creating a new business. As lawyers, most of us have taken a business organizations class or at least have done the research to establish our firm. So rather than review those details, I want to focus on one of Ms. Lott’s top tips:

Be clear about expectations with partners and vendors.

And, I would add, yourself.

What Will It Take To Make Your Business Successful?

Creating and running a law firm or small business takes a lot of work. If you want to be successful, you need to be honest with yourself and your partners about what it will take, financially, emotionally, and as a time commitment. And about where those assets will come from.

Ms. Lott spoke about a situation where two partners discussed creating a new business. One partner had expected to front most of the capital. The other planned to put in the sweat equity to get the business off the ground. But what neither realized was that they had different expectations when it came to ownership. The financial investor thought the managing partner would be an employee, but he had expected to have an interest in the company. They had gone through the entire planning process without addressing the issue. It wasn’t until they brought on a lawyer that she was able to clarify expectations and get everyone on the same page.

Ms. Lott said that being clear about expectations early on can save time, frustration, and attorney fees later on. This applies to every aspect of your business, from the initial partnership agreement to vendor contracts and employee handbooks.

Be Clear About Expectations With Yourself to Measure Success

Clarity is important no many how many, or how few people are involved. Even solo practitioners need to be clear about expectations so that they know when they achieve their goals.

Often, that means getting objective with your goals. Rather than wanting to “attract more readers” you may want to “have at least 50 unique readers every week”. Instead of “blogging more” you could commit to posting at least one article per week. No matter how much you do to market and build your business, there is always room for more. Subjective goals can be dangerous because it never feels like you reach them. Using objective measurements helps you get clear on your goals and know when you have been successful.

Clear expectations are an important part of creating and operating a successful business. But, in this case, you don’t need 2 to tango. By setting clear expectations for yourself you can create clear, measurable objectives that can guide you to stay on the right track.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She provides ghost blogging and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If your goals include increasing your online presence, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.

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