Finding time to work on the business and not just in the business.
One of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurship is finding time to step away from working in the business to work on the business. Especially as your caseload picks up, it can be tempting to drop everything that’s not related to client work; but, if you want your solo or small practice to grow, you must always be thinking of ways to attract new business.
Many small business experts recommend scheduling specific time for “working on the business” activities. Some recommend taking time out daily (30 minutes or an hour) and others advise scheduling full days every week or every month to work on marketing activities. Find a model that works for you, but make those appointments with yourself and keep them. During that time, set aside all client-related work and focus solely on activities that will help generate future business.
We have compiled a short list of simple marketing ideas to help get you started:
- Schedule one to two coffee meetings a week with contacts who might be potential referral sources for you.
- Attend networking events hosted by your local bar association, chambers of commerce, business journals and other professional groups. While there, it’s ok to ask for others’ business cards, but be sure to follow up promptly with an e-mail or phone call within a few days after the event.
- Set up your practice in a shared office space or co-working environment, such as LawBank, to access a built-in network.
- Maintain a blog and only post information that is relevant to the reader. The point is to show your expertise without turning the blog into a sales pitch for your firm.
- Revamp your website and update its content regularly to increase searchability. Consider working with an SEO expert to help you identify top keywords.
- Use social media. Identify the one or two channels that make the most sense for your business (LinkedIn and Twitter, for example), and commit to posting regularly. Follow people and groups relevant to your practice and engage in conversation with others whenever possible.
- Use direct mail. Printed newsletters, holiday cards, firm announcement postcards and the like will help remind your contacts that you are in business and what you do.
- Read your local business journals to identify current hot business topics and potential clients.
- Write articles for local publications and trade journals or guest blog on a site that complements your practice area.
- Teach a class or speak at an event on a topic that fits well with your area of expertise. Consider community groups as well as professional venues like LawBank, which offer educational programs on a variety of business and legal topics.
- Serve on boards and committees and/or volunteer for organizations that fit your personal interests and passions. Volunteer only if you can commit to providing consistent, quality volunteer service.