Do you envisage earning a full time income by working your practice part time and having a life? asks Garth Brown.
These are two very important questions for lawyers.
Life is only so long. Sometimes we forget this in our daily lives, so how can we take action now and work towards living a life that we control, while restoring balance and reducing stress/depression.
Three points from my book – Step by Step Guide to Operating a Successful Conveyancing/Legal Practice – are relevant to law firms of all sizes and legal specialities.
Success does not come over night, but “great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together”, as said by Vincent van Gogh.
1. Existing clients are your best clients to target and develop
How should you do this? By keeping in touch via monthly e-newsletters. They only have to be two or three paragraphs outlining points of interest, depending on your legal specialty. Never talk about yourself – soft marketing keeps your firm top of mind.
I can hear you saying, "I've heard this before" and "I am too busy", or "this is the way I have always done this" and "I am not a marketer!"
Ok, well have someone come in and assist you, set up a database of previous clients and prepare topics to send out and write about.
"Oh, this costs money!" Yes, it does, but this is the best money you will ever spend because there is already a relationship there, a bridge.
Clients are more likely to come to someone with whom they have already dealt. It is so hard to get new clients through the door, so take action now with a client database set up within your law firm.
2. The virtual office
So much stress comes from the overhead to cover rent, wages, phone systems, insurance and capital expenses for a fit out.
The traditional law firm model of bricks and mortar is over, everything is going online. So why not try a virtual office and dramatically reduce overhead and stresses in your life?
All mail and phone calls go to a live operator from a professional city office set up for meetings if needed, and phone calls are re-directed to relevant employees or business owners who operate from home, or wherever, via a laptop.
I can hear you saying "I don’t like change", well I would not be where I am today if I did not change and take action. Don’t be left behind, get help from someone who has been there before.
3. How to build and harness an app
An app really distinguishes your firm from all other firms, as law firm apps are rare in Australia. The US is already moving away from websites and going to apps.
Why not design an app that is client-focused? Design it so it answers clients' most pressing questions through a FAQ or calculators if needed. For example, stamp duty or court filing fees.
Enable functions or abilities to take photos or videos through the app to stream or email to your firm. For example, motor vehicle or workers compensation claims. Or, have a list of contacts of where to turn to for repairs or doctors for workers compensation, and buttons that instantly contact your office via phone or email, or a link to your website, and some information on you as the principal with a picture. See my app: 'Ask Conveyancer'.
The book, or eBook, covers other areas too. For example, communicating with clients, different technologies to use, online video, websites, eBooks, relationship marketing, risk management strategies and tips for dealing with clients and pricing – someone has to be the most expensive, so why not me?
The book suggests key business recommendations to help you, rather than just suggesting what to do. Success comes from doing what others are not doing!
Garth Brown is an award-winning conveyancer and founder of Brown and Brown Conveyancers, based in Sydney. Mr Brown has published conveyancing apps for consumers - ‘Ask Conveyancer’ - and written a series of successful eBooks - ‘Step by Step Guide to Operating a Successful Conveyancing/Legal Practice’. He offers highly professional consultancy services to the industry to assist practitioners ‘how to’ operate their practice more efficiently, profitably and successfully by working less hours and enjoying a satisfying life-work balance.