The attorneys I coach have one common problem. They don't have enough hours in the day to do everything they need to do. Most are working long hours and that "To do" list keeps growing not shrinking. So it is no wonder that when I suggest that they find time to market their practice they think I am just plain daffy!
If you are working in a successful law firm with plenty of business, why bother to market yourself? When clients are flowing in it is hard to imagine that it will ever stop!
During the past few years here in Boston there have been law firms that closed down because they were no longer profitable, law firms that merged with other law firms, and lawyers who were asked to leave their firm because they weren't covering their overhead. What used to feel like a stable environment now feels very unstable. What can an individual lawyer do?
Nothing is constant in the work world today. Everything changes very quickly. To be really nibble attorneys need to be flexible so that they can make a move when circumstances change and their job is threatened.
If you are absorbed in your work, it is sometimes difficult to even notice that the environment is changing. Michael Gerber in his book The E Myth Revisited talks about the three roles a business owner must take: entrepreneur, manager and technician.
The entrepreneur sets the strategy of the business and has the vision, the manager watches over the processes of the business and the technician does the work of the business. If you work in a firm, you have been hired to do the work of the technician (the legal matters you are working on). There are others who look at strategy and manage the work.
I've suggested before that everyone manage his/her own career as though it were a business. Have the attitude of what Daniel Pink calls a "free agent". Not only do you need a career strategy but you need to manage that strategy and your work as a technician. This is really a balancing act - difficult but not impossible.
For starters in order to be ready for whatever comes up, having a good solid book of business (client relationships that you own) can help you no matter what happens in your firm or in the environment. Good relationships mean that the clients will move with you to another firm or your own practice.
Ok so how do you find the time to create and maintain those relationships? It doesn't have to take a huge amount of time. Make a list of the clients and potential clients that you enjoy working with and who are or would make good clients for you.
Telephone calls, notes, breakfasts, or lunches are all good ways to stay in touch. Marketing can be fun not a burden so find your own way. It can also be done quickly between tasks or at a meal that you would be having anyway.
1. Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
2. Read Free Agent Nation by Daniel Pink.
3. Read Ten Ways to Market Your Business Doing What You Love To Do http://www.asparker.com/ppts0305.html
4. Read Ten Ways to Develop A Free Agent Attitude http://www.asparker.com/ppts0103.html
5. Make a lunch date with one of the clients or potential clients on your list. Enjoy the connection!!
About Alvah Parker
Alvah Parker is a Career Coach and Practice Advisor as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker's Value Program© enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. Her clients are managers, business owners, sole practioners, attorneys and people in transition. Alvah is found on the web at http://www.asparker.com. She may also be reached at 781-598-0388.