What the great legal businesses are doing right now!
 [From profit to strategy] 

John Knight

This is an image of John Knight Director of Business DEPOT

Author Hannah Trotter

As the founder and managing director of Business Depot, John Knight gets to see people starting out in their businesses and closing their businesses. He sees the mistakes they make and the things that work. This experience makes John the perfect professional to be sharing with us today 9 things great legal businesses are doing now and how we can do the same. 

1 - Point of Difference

Working out your point of difference starts by understanding why it is people choose you. Once we understand this point of difference, we need to get talking about it!

It seems that lawyers are not often great when it comes to marketing and branding. Lawyers can be such skilled professionals but don’t know how to share or market those skills. Consumers are targeting the businesses they want to work with – that is, they’re making conscious decisions about the services they use. It’s imperative to be communicating your point of difference to ensure you are retaining your ideal clients. 

The thing with your point of difference is it can be a human (YOU!) or it can be the service your provide. Nowadays, businesses’ are becoming more specialised and focused and that seems to be a great contributor to their success. 


The successful businesses are investing their energy in this and they are putting themselves well above their competitors.  

2 - Embracing the Cloud!

Let’s talk technology! 

Now is the ideal time to start embracing the Cloud! It can be terrifying putting your data in the Cloud but as a smaller operator, you have the opportunity to move towards this where bigger organisations are not able to do. 

When you’re using the Cloud, we remove human error, data is stored in one place, it improves accessibility, efficiency but more so, it becomes more accurate! 

Embrace it! 


3 - Know Your Numbers!

John encouraged us to have a chat with our fellow retreat attendees about what our favourite numbers to track are. 

As John plucks people from the crowd to share, it’s astonishing how different the numbers we prioritise really are. Attendees shared the importance of tracking retention after appointments, tracking their debtors, or client’s through the door. 

John encourages us to split our profits into divisions and to consider profits, income, costs of sales and fixed expenses when doing so. 

Knowing your numbers also comes back to cash in bank. We have to ask ourselves where has the cash gone? 

The four most common places cash goes:

  1. Significant over drawings;
  2. Significant business loan payments;
  3. Capital improvements/new assets;
  4. Prior year tax payments.

Remember! We have more control over what we spend than what we earn.  

4 - Structure For The Future

We need to make conscious decisions about the structures we choose and the futures of those. John discussed Everett Assignments, Incorporation, Partnerships of Discretionary Trusts, and Independent Contractors. 

There’s no time like the present to get some advice on your business structure and what it means for your future. 

5 - Giving Offshore a Go

When we go offshore, we allow our team more time for higher value work but the benefits go beyond this! The attention and time you invest into getting the processes and systems right for someone to use offshore is more valuable than the offshore resource itself. 

This doesn’t just have to be offshore resource, technology is allowing us the same benefits. 


6 - Empowering Their Teams

Successful businesses focus on people first but this doesn’t just mean customers, it means our team! 

We need empowered and engaged team members to achieve the goals of our businesses.

John used the below analogy:

“Everyone on the bus, everyone facing the front, somewhere to drive, and someone at the wheel.”

We need our team to be on board the bus, inspired by the driver to keep it moving in the direction of the vision of the business. 

That comes from good leadership. The best business have good culture and leadership. They are working to a common and known goal. 

This comes from sharing the numbers with the team and encouraging them to have accountability. When our whole team understands the goals, they are driven to achieve them. 

7 - Eyes Wide Open

Great businesses are continuously looking for what’s next – what else? 

We need to keep our eyes open to the world – what are those around us doing? 

But! It’s not just being aware of the world around us, we need to keep our eyes open to what’s happening in our businesses. 

Be aware of waste and inefficiencies. Do the processes work? Do we have the right team members? Are they in the right roles? Do we have excess subscriptions we don’t need? 

8 - Peak Mindset

We are talking peak and not necessarily growth. 

Peak isn’t about MORE it’s about being the BEST you can be. 

This comes back to us as individuals just as much as it does as businesses. 

As business owners, we can often become stressed, anxious and the rates of mental ill-health is astonishing. Remember – we need to get into the habit of taking care of ourselves and ‘putting our own air masks on first’. 

9 - Succession on the Mind

We need to be constantly thinking about what is next and, in some ways, who is next. 

Great businesses are nurturing young entrepreneurs.  They are giving them the opportunity to earn equity, to align their interests and they are having the discussions about succession. 

“Great partnerships pave the way to the future”

My key takeaway from John’s session was that ‘better is better than more’. 

John encouraged us to give ourselves permission to focus on being better than getting more. 

How much stuff do we have that takes up space, wastes time, creates inefficiencies, and distracts you from building value? When we spend time thinking MORE MORE MORE, we forget to focus on being better! 

Thank you to our partners for helping us bring The Retreat 2019 (a law conference like no other!) to you!


Bronwyn and Belinda, two of the #radboss ladies from Lacuna Legal Providers will be with us over the 2 days at the Retreat. Now these ladies are cleaver- they provide ‘back of house support to solo and small law firms aka YOU!!

Lacuna Legal Providers have a special offer for all attendees of the Club Retreat 2019 to sign up for a practice management or BD profile check in at 2 hours for the price of 1! At the end of the session you will get 10 tips on how you can improve your practice. More details will be shared on the flyer at the Retreat.


Hannah Trotter

Hannah Trotter

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi there! I’m Hannah and I am a law student currently in my third year at Queensland University of Technology. I graduated high-school in 2014 completely clueless about who I was, what I wanted and how I intended to get there. To many people’s surprise (including my own) I moved from my family farm on the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane to start my law degree in 2016.

Following my first year I commenced work as the Receptionist at Brisbane Family Law Centre. Having worked with this amazing team for nearly 2 years, I have been given a learning opportunity that goes beyond lectures and tutorials by providing a practical experience of the world of Law. My experience as part of the BFLC team has taught me that a Law career does not have to fit into a traditional box which has ignited a new passion for my studies as well as my future career in the legal profession.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to writing musicals, drinking coffee and playing board games.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!