5 Simple Ways to Grow Your Firm
The end of December often causes us to make or renew promises to stop bad habits, lose weight, spend more time with family, or otherwise be better. But as you make New Year’s resolutions for your personal life, don’t forget you may need to make changes in your business life as well. For most solo or small firms, growth is usually the greatest priority. Here are a few simple steps you can take to grow your firm in 2019 and beyond.
1. Grow Your Firm by Creating (or Updating) Your Website
While the old-fashioned referral is still the most popular way for clients to find lawyers, the landscape is rapidly changing. More and more clients are using the internet to find representation. Nevertheless, experts report that nearly 40 percent of small firms do not have a website.
If you still see no need to build a website, perhaps these statistics will persuade you. According to software firm Capterra, seventy-four percent of people visit a firm’s website with the intent to retain counsel. And they do. Capterra reports that seventy percent of law firms said that their websites helped them generate new business. Simply put, any firm without a website is doomed to lose clients and their revenue.
If you think simply having a website is enough, think again. Your site should be updated regularly. It should also provide basic information such as your firm’s e-mail address and phone number. It should be optimized for mobile use. But content is the most important factor. According to marketing experts, clients are most interested in knowing your years of experience, your rates, and your success rate in similar cases. If your website lacks this information, it may be overdue for an update. Revising your site will help you grow your firm in the new year.
2. Grow Your Firm by Getting Social
Social media is no longer a fad. It is part of our daily lives. It is also increasingly part of the business world. According to Capterra, by 2020, video will comprise over 80 percent of all online media. Therefore, firms that want to grow should begin making videos and posting them to social sites.
Social media has other uses as well. Capterra reports that the average potential client spends roughly 16 minutes reviewing a firm’s social media before making contact. Nearly half of clients find a firm’s website through its LinkedIn account. In fact, last year, more than half of firms surveyed reported that social media had helped them obtain clients. Clearly, social media is an easy method to grow your firm.
3. Grow Your Firm by Getting Help . . . and Using it
CLIO’s 2018 Legal Trends Report indicates that if the average lawyer works an eight-hour day, she will bill just 2.6 hours. Of course, the lawyer isn’t sitting in her office twiddling her thumbs. Rather, she is managing her practice. However, her time would be better spent earning money.
To maximize your billables, consider delegating as much as possible. While this may seem daunting for solo or small firm attorneys, it is not impossible. Hiring an administrative assistant or billing supervisor may cost money, but it will also help you make more money in the long term. Don’t forget that some help may be free: Many law schools allow students to intern for course credit at no cost to you. Exploring such creative options is another way to preserve your precious time.
4. Grow Your Firm by Cleaning Your Firm
One of the best ways to save time is by keeping a clean desk and a clean office. Take a moment to consider the time you’ve wasted looking for papers, files, e-mails, or other things that you need. That time could be better spent billing clients.
This piece of advice is simple enough to implement. Create a cleaning schedule for the firm and stick to it. Designate a person for each task. (If you’re a solo, get your family and friends to help.) Keeping your office clean will not only keep you organized, it will make a good impression on clients.
5. Grow Your Firm by Networking
As stated, referrals are still the most popular way for clients to find lawyers. While your former clients are a great help here, your legal peers are also a useful resource. Potential clients often ask lawyers that they’ve worked with before to recommend lawyers for new matters. Or, a lawyer may not be able to take a case due to a conflict of interest or other reasons. At any rate, consider good relationships with your peers an important part of your firm’s marketing strategy.
There are any number of ways to meet and interact with your legal community. Becoming active in your law school’s alumni association is one way to expand your network. Joining your state or local bar association can also help you find new attorneys.
African American attorneys have other options as well. Black bar associations host many networking events each year. You should also join The African American Attorney Network. The Network was created to help African American lawyers find other attorneys of color. The Network has hosted networking events in cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, and Atlanta. Follow The Network for information about our events in the New Year!