The start of a new year is a great time to examine your firm and set goals for increasing profits, especially for solo practitioners. The first step is to actually set a goal and strive to achieve it. Sounds easy, but look at your numbers from 2009 and set an actual target number for 2010. It is much easier to aim for a specific target, rather than just hoping to increase profits.
One option is to increase your rates. This may be heavily influenced by what area you practice in. If you have a niche practice and have made significant strides in the past year, it may be easier to do. On the other hand, if you work in a popular practice area, there may be too much competition to consider even a slight uptick.
Lowering overhead is always a prudent option. Consider your office space. Would a smaller location work? Do you have an empty office you can sublet to another attorney? If your business has suffered with the down economy, you might consider either taking on more “secretarial” tasks and cut your secretary’s wages.
Evaluate your advertising and marketing and decide if you are getting a good return on your money. Even little things like your phone service add up over the course of a year.
The beginning of the year is typically a slow time, so use your free time to look back to make 2010 a more profitable year.