Small Business Lessons for Solo Law Firms

It’s intimidating to run a solo or small practice against the Biglaw firm down the street. How can you possibly compete? You do so by taking advantage of the flexibility and personal service that only small firms can give, and by using tools like CosmoLex legal office management software to give you time to give that extra service.

Law isn’t the only industry where small firms are threatened by big ones. Some small businesses complain that Starbucks or Target or Home Depot or Best Buy make it impossible to complete, and yet many other businesses thrive in these markets. How? Some good advice was given recently by Dave Ratner at the eTail West conference in a talk entitled, “How to Beat the Snot out of the Big Guys“. Although his advice was how his small stores compete against Petco, there is good advice for solo lawyers as well. Here are a few key points:

  • Get Personal – Don’t just be a mouthpiece or someone who fills out forms. Sure, you need to retain a certain professional distance but that doesn’t mean you have to be cold or rigid. Show your clients you appreciate them as people, not simply as ATMs that spit money at you.
  • Do What Biglaw Doesn’t – Dave Ratner said about Petco, “We loved them, they’re awful.” Customers would complain that the local Petco was always out of stock of items so Dave made sure his store was never out of stock. See what clients are complaining that Biglaw doesn’t do, and do it.
  • Put Your Stamp on It – Biglaw is faceless. You are not. Personalize everything from your business cards to the invoices spit out by your legal billing program. That doesn’t mean you use a photograph of you and your dog — although if you are in pet law that might not be such a bad idea — but put some sense of your own identity on all your correspondence.
  • It’s Not the Client’s Fault (Even When It Is) – Chastising a client for bad behavior isn’t going to make a good impression, no matter how much the tongue lashing is deserved. You aren’t the client’s mother, teacher or priest so don’t give life lessons.

CosmoLex law office billing program gives you more time to offer personal service to your clients by streamlining your timekeeping and billing. Start a free trial and use CosmoLex with no cost or obligation.

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