What Smart Lawyers Do to Survive Recessions

Times are tough, especially for a lot of law firms. Their clients, paralyzed by fear because of headlines, stop buying. Yet even in the worst of times, there are law firms not only surviving, but thriving. In every town there is a successful solo or small firm that is thriving. What are these entrepreneurs doing that is so different from those law firms that will fail?

They take charge. Proactive attorneys give themselves permission to design the perfect life, business, and client. They don’t just let life “happen” to them. They don’t just open a firm and hope that the right client finds them. They “design” that perfect client who would be a part of the perfect firm and then go out and create marketing and advertising to attract that perfect client.

  1. They look outside of their own industry for great entrepreneurship ideas. They seek, through questioning and observation, to discover what it is in YOUR business that YOU are doing to make YOU successful and then they ask themselves: how could I use that in MY business? The reject the notion that “Oh, that won’t work because my business is different.”
  2. They don’t run with the crowd. Earl Nightingale, one of the “fathers” of success thinking, once said that if you entered a new line of work and had no mentor, the best thing you could do is to observe what everyone else is doing, and do the opposite. Copying what others in your line of work are doing is the surest way to “average” results. Average companies shrivel up and die in a prolonged recession.
  3. They figure out the answer to this question from their potential client: “Why should I do business with you over all of the other choices that I have in the marketplace, including the choice to do nothing?” The answer to that question becomes their “unique selling proposition” (USP). Developing a true “reason for being” takes work but when discovered, is the key to owning your space in the marketplace.
  4. They know that the attorney  who owns the “herd” owns the marketplace. Recognize that the most valuable asset in your law practice is that list of people who find you interesting and remarkable. You must stay in contact with these people. These people buy repeatedly and refer others to you. Failing to capture the name of everyone who shows an interest in doing business with you and then “talking” in an interesting way to that database of people over and over again, means that it is only by random chance that they will think of you next time.
  5. They take militant control of their time. Smart entrepreneurs, no matter what the business, recognize that time is their only irreplaceable asset. This isn’t time management. This is control of your life. It is recognizing that it is you who is responsible for your family’s financial security, now and in the future. Let someone steal your time and they steal your money and your family’s future.
  6. They recognize the power of association. Napoleon Hill, in Think and Grow Rich, talks about the power of the mastermind. Look, it’s easy to find people who spend their day whining about their lives and the economy. Why hang out with them? Their goal is to bring you down to their level. If you want to be a business champion you must hang out with champions. You are the average of the five people you hang out with most. Why not spend time with people who do things bigger, better, faster, and bolder than you do?
  7. They are immune to criticism. Let’s face it. Trying to “get rich” is often frowned upon as “selfish.” The more money you make, the more others want out of you. Sometimes they try to make you feel “guilty” about your own success. Successful entrepreneurs know that this type of criticism is inevitable and they steadfastly reject it as invalid. They don’t let Eeyore bring them down.

What’s the good news in a recession? In the end, it will thin out your competition. So ask yourself these questions, hang out with winners and relish the journey.

Ben Glass founded Great Legal Marketing to help solo and small firm attorneys marketing their practices in a very competitive marketplace. You can join Great Legal Marketing as a Gold member and receive a two month trial membership.

Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.