Growing a successful business is difficult in any market. However some businesses are easier to start than others. Starting a law practice doesn’t require particularly high start up costs compared to a manufacturing business, for example, but does require very specialized knowledge and experience gathered over a number of years.
So when you do decide to start your business, and particularly when you start to attract your first clients, you’ll have to work incredibly hard to keep them happy and build up your practice. This is particularly true when you have no track record, and need these clients for referrals and for testimonials.
Before you spend a dollar on office space or marketing, you need a plan. Law is a business unique to itself of course, but just like any business, if you’re interested in maximizing your chances of success, and particularly interested in growing as quickly as possible, you’ll need to have a fully detailed business and marketing plan.
And even if you’re not looking for any investment, this approach to planning slows down your decision making and allows you to consider your business, along with the opportunities and pitfalls, from every angle.
Most businesses fail in the first three years, and many even quicker than that. One reason for this is simply that most business owners aren’t experienced and proficient at sales and marketing. And sales and marketing are what creates customers for your business.
Of course, you need to deliver a very high quality service to your clients so that they continue to give you business, and also ideally refer other businesses to you. Without repeat business, you don’t really have a business as you’ll be forever trying to find new customers.
So ignoring for now all the other skills you’ll need to have some sort of handle on when running a business (accounting, project management, and technical skills), one way or another you’ll need to develop proven marketing systems for ongoing lead generation, and proficient sales techniques to convert leads into clients.
For example, like many law firms, Garcia Law (which is an elder abuse attorney) started small, but has grown over the years, but made sure to put a firm foundation in place, before really pressing forward with that growth.
First of all of course, you need a financial buffer to survive the first few months until your legal practice generates income. And once leads do start coming in, and once you start converting those leads into customers, then your business begins to gain traction and ideally starts covering its costs and even paying you a salary. And then in particular when clients become repeat clients, and the volume of work you receive from those clients grows, things can really start to take off.
So then good problems start to present themselves. For example, having too much work where you either need to turn it away (not ideal), or you have to give serious thought to recruiting new staff, without over-extending yourself financially. As your work volume, and head count, grows, your revenue and profits should continue to grow accordingly. And in a few short years, you could own a thriving business.