If you are looking to take the big leap and start your very own law firm, the Practice Launchpad Series is a great resource. This 10-week “boot camp” was put on by the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP). It is aimed at recent graduates and bar exam takers who are thinking about starting their own firm or for those who are actually in the planning stages. If you missed it there is no need to worry, as all of the sessions were recorded and stored on the MBA’s online, on-demand archive.
Here are some useful takeaways from the series:
1. Your operating plan should be the heart of your overall business plan.
An operating plan is an essential section of any business plan. It should serve as a roadmap for how you will regularly conduct business and the template for how you provide legal services. An effective plan will prevent you and your employees from reinventing the wheel each time you take an action. Having a sensible and reliable plan greatly contributes to an owner’s ability to avert liability for malpractice. Clients will know they are in good hands if you can provide a clear explanation of what exactly you are going to do for them, outlining all of the steps you will take along the way. With your operating plan, if you can choreograph as much as you can ahead of time, you will be on the road to running an efficient, profit-generating machine.
2. Effective marketing connects those who have a need with those who can fulfill that need. To market effectively, you have to put yourself on the radar of those in need.
If you are looking for a certain type of clientele, you need to put yourself in their headspace. Ask yourself questions like: what is it that my ideal client is looking for, and where are they likely to look? In advertising your service, it’s important to make sure the message that you convey is less about you and more about how your firm can meet the prospective client’s specific needs. Some great ways to get your service on the periphery of the consumer are the following: having a website, maintaining social media accounts, blogging, taking advantage of search engine optimization tactics, and becoming involved in the community.
3. Networking means more than just showing up to the event. It’s easy to go to the big yearly event, have a couple of cocktails and shake a few hands. Nevertheless, meaningful and fruitful networking only occurs if you put forth some effort. Before going to an event, try to have an elevator pitch for the inevitable question: “What do you do?” Ask yourself what makes your firm unique and be sure to convey your passion for it. Once you make a connection, it’s critical that you foster that relationship by staying in touch.
Stay tuned for the MBA to have follow-up programs and promotions for the Practice Launch Pad Series. In addition to the topics covered above, the series covers the following topics: Business Planning; Business Financing; Operations Management; Technology; Marketing & Networking; Community Involvement; and Growing your Expertise.