Are You Being SMART About Your Approach to Business Development?

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for busy lawyers to take stock of last year’s achievements and to establish plans for being SMART about business development in the coming months. To maximize your business development time, my question to you is: are you being SMART about it? SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Sensitive. A key benefit to the SMART framework is that you are concentrating time on the most essential areas of your business development activities. SMART provides you with focus, so you can actually achieve your goals.  

Let’s briefly review each area of the SMART framework:

Specific – Being specific means that the goal is clear on what exactly the action needs to be. Who do you need to include? 

Measurable – Can you quantify the goal? 

Achievable – Can you accomplish this goal? Is it attainable?

Relevant – Does the goal align with what you need to do right now? Why is this goal important to your work and your practice?

Time Sensitive – What can you do today? In a week? In a month? In 3 months?

For example, you might commit to raising your profile and building more relationships this year by focusing on industry conferences and associations (e.g., See my ATL article Essentials For Maximizing Any Conference). Use SMART to make that goal more meaningful to you by adding more specific and concrete objectives that foster accountability:

“In the next 90 days, I will identify conferences that bring together in-house counsel in the financial services industry. After identifying potential conferences, I will work with my marketing and business development team to register for at least one relevant conference.  After receiving the attendee list, I will reach out to at least 5 current or prospective clients in advance of the conference.” 

After drafting the goal, set up 15-30 minutes in the next 90 days to review your goal and see what progress you have made. If you achieved that SMART goal, it is a great time to set up another. 

In the beginning, I would recommend using one or two SMART goals to get started. After that you can develop as many as you feel are achievable.

So go ahead and be SMART this year! Reach your goals and set new ones. Having problems getting started? Feel free to drop me a line at my email below.


Jason Levin founded Ready, Set, Launch, LLC®, www.readysetlaunch.net, after a career in brand management at Unilever, consulting at Accenture, and employer branding sales at Vault.com.  Business development, personal brand and outplacement coaching are his passions, and Jason partners with lawyers and law firms to further engage and develop attorneys through training and one-on-one coaching.  Jason works with his clients to develop a business plan, land that next client, elevate their personal brand, make a career change, or transition into retirement. Jason enjoys speaking on and moderating panels and presenting career and business development seminars and webinars at staff retreats, conferences and training sessions.  Jason is “an attorney by marriage.” You can email him at jason@readysetlaunch.net and follow him on twitter @jasoncareers.