Ever get angry with yourself because business progress is so slow?
Let's be honest…
Running a business is hard. I’ve even heard some people call it “the ultimate extreme sport.”
It’s exhilarating, terrifying, exhausting, full of despair, and the odds are stacked against you the day you hang out your shingle. In fact, according to SBA about 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years.
Sounds encouraging, right?
Well let's take a closer look to see if we can find out why so many law firms fail within the first 5 years.
I had a conversation with an attorney the other day. He said he needed more clients but had no idea where to start.
I could tell he was frustrated with his business. After all, he’s been in business for quite a few years now and has relied on word-of-mouth for getting new clients.
So after talking with him for a few more minutes, I said…
“Please don’t take this personally, but why did you go to law school? To become a lawyer, right? And I’m sure you’ll agree that the education you received prepared you to practice law.”
“But what did they teach you in law school about starting, running and growing your own law firm?” I asked.
He said, “You know, they didn’t teach me anything in law school about running a business.”
“Could this be why so many law firms close their doors within the first 5 years?” I asked.
Think about it.
The attorney starts a law firm. He gets to work doing what he knows how to do best -- practicing law. He makes the assumption that being a good attorney means he knows how to build a business.
But it doesn’t work because he spends countless hours working in his business instead of doing what business owners do, which is work on their business. And as a result the business suffers.
The idea that you need to work “on it, and not just in it” comes from EMyth, which stands for “Entrepreneurial Myth”. EMyth provides small business coaching and training.
They say, “Most people who go into business for themselves are not entrepreneurs. They are technicians suffering from entrepreneurial seizures.” That means they are good at doing what they know how to do but know very little about running a business.
Practicing law and running a business requires two different sets of skills.
So what would a business owner do differently?
They’d work on their business. They’d create systems to run their business. They’d hire people to run the systems.
In short, they’d focus on what EMyth calls the Seven Dynamics of Business Development.
As you can see, it takes a lot to run a successful business. However, let’s focus one key area, marketing. Because without marketing (and sales) you can’t sustain and grow your law firm -- or any business for that matter.
In order to grow your law firm, you have to have a marketing system in place so that you can be found by potential clients.
But what does that look like?
In the 1980s, you would have run ads in the yellow pages, on TV and the radio. Networked with people at events, attended trade shows and cultivated referrals.
But the Internet has changed all of that. Nowadays people go online to do their research. They read blog articles and reviews. And referrals take place on social media sites.
By the time someone contacts you, they already have a pretty good idea of who they want to hire.
So what would a marketing system look like in todays world?
It might include:
Your marketing system also defines who does what, when it gets done, and how it gets done. All of these things combined make up your marketing system.
What would a marketing system do for your business? Do you know where to start? Would you like help creating one?
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