The two most important questions for any small business owner are:
- What are the best opportunities for improvement or growth?
- What are the big threats to my business?
According to the National Association of Small Business’s recent Economic Report, here are some of the top threats. Which is to say these are the reasons why small businesses don’t make it.
- No market need: 42 percent;
- Ran out of cash: 29 percent;
- Not the right team: 23 percent;
- Got outcompeted: 19 percent;
- Pricing / Cost issues: 18 percent;
- User un-friendly product: 17 percent;
- Poor marketing: 14 percent;
- Ignore customers: 14 percent
Most of these apply to lawyers in obvious ways, but some of the problems are less obvious.
For example, “no market need.” This means the PROSPECTIVE CLIENT doesn’t see the need, in which case marketing is even more difficult.
An intellectual property lawyer may know that every small business needs trademark protection, but a lot of small business owners might not believe that.
An estate planning lawyer may know that people need to create a plan for their assets to be effectively distributed upon death. But most people put off creating their wills.
Obviously, ignoring your clients is a bad move. But lawyers do it all the time, and some get into ethical problems as a result.
Paying close attention to your clients is an extra burden when you’re busy, and maybe that’s why some clients get to the point of feeling slighted.
Lawyers who create efficiencies in their practices can market better, pay more attention to their clients, and work together better with colleagues and staff.
The opportunities for small businesses are mostly in the realm of creating efficiencies.
But not small, incremental ones. Rather it’s about creating radical, massive efficiencies.
Legal Zoom created radical efficiencies and look at what happened in the legal market.
Lawyers who complain about Legal Zoom are wasting their time. The 800 lb gorilla won the battle for monetizing low-cost legal forms.
Same with Uber and the whole ride-sharing phenomenon that caught cab drivers off guard.
So this may seem obvious, but not enough people are taking full stock of this fact…
The big opportunities for radical efficiency all center around the use of technology.
So, how are you doing in this realm?
Do you find technology easy to leverage, or do you mostly find yourself struggling?
If you’re struggling I can tell you why. It’s because you’re not using it in a sensible, strategic way.
Too many lawyers use technology haphazardly, which is why they struggle.
It will help leverage some big opportunities to make your firm radically efficient, and easier to manage.
(not just so you stay in business, but so that you can earn more without working harder, and so you can relax more and take more time off).
Oh, and if you want to make faster progress with improving your firm, then check this out.