I am a non-equity partner in a small law firm in Washington D.C. I have been with the firm for 15 years and there is no opportunity to become an equity partner. I am thinking about going out on my own. If there were one first step that I should take what would it be?
Create a business plan - even if only a few pages - for the firm. Your plan will serve as a roadmap for your practice. Your mission should address what services you are selling, where you are selling them, and to whom. Your plan should address your competitive strategy - how you will be different than your competitors. It should also identify your core values. A vision for 5 years out into the future as to where you would like to see the firm and specific goals and objectives should be formulated.
Your plan will give you a good indication as to whether you should start a practice or not.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC