Recently broken away to start your own law firm? Congratulations – and good luck. As any entrepreneur can tell you, you’ve got a hard road ahead, but being your boss is the kind of feeling that few people are willing to give up once they’ve tried it.
Right now, you’re probably excited, but apprehensive. I’ll bet you’re bursting with passion and energy and the desire to carve out your own path in the industry, but at the same time, you’re worried. How will you actually compete against the established players? How will you convince clients to put their faith in you? How will you survive your first year and start to grow?
Am I on the right track?
The thing is, as daunting as it might seem to be up against established firms, you’re actually in a pretty good position to offer clients a pretty unique, attractive, compelling deal. Why? Because new technologies – particularly cloud technologies – mean that you don’t have to adopt the slow, tired, labour-intensive processes that most law firms are stuck with.
Basing your business in the cloud means that you can have remote access to all documents, apps and communication methods wherever you are, making you agile, responsive and vastly more productive. It means that you can circumvent the need for costly infrastructure, using an easily manageable and scalable subscription model that eases the pressure on your cashflow.
It means you not only support your clients better, improving communication and collaboration between your team members and theirs, but you pass the savings onto them too, offering a level of transparency and a quality of service that few firms can compete with – and certainly not at the price point you’ll be able to offer, while still turning a healthy profit.
Most law firms are knee-deep in their old, clunky ways of doing things. They haven’t even begun to embrace the technologies that could streamline their workloads, speed up their response times, cut their running costs and overhaul their customer service. They’re like oil tankers: big, solid, dependable – but unwieldy.
Whereas you? You’re can be more like a sleek, fast-moving yacht. You might not (yet) have earned the same gravitas, but you can weather the storms, you can adapt your course – and you have a dynamic, streamlined, exciting appeal.
The key thing to remember is this: compete in the areas you can excel at. You can’t offer shiny offices, fancy lunches, or 100 years of history to your name. What you can offer are the things that, increasingly, clients really want in their law firm: faster turnaround of work, easier and quicker ways to communicate, transparent pricing, a more collaborative approach that keeps them in the loop and feeling empowered.
You can offer high-end technological solutions that keep their data safe and allow you to work together on a document in real time in different locations. That allow you to access documents off site, so that you can make time spent in meetings or in their offices as productive as they can possibly be. That strip out duplicated effort and automate tasks like backups, freeing up as much time as possible for billable work.
In today’s world, these are the things that will really set you aside from the competition. The things that will help you win, and retain, the top clients. And, by starting out the right way, you’ll be able to do these things more efficiently, and more cost-effectively, than your more famous rivals could ever hope to achieve.