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Taking Advantage of the Small firm Advantage

Taking Advantage of the Small firm Advantage

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Taking Advantage of the Small firm Advantage

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  1. Taking Advantage of the Small firm Advantage Presented by the Lawyers Assistance Program Facilitated by Robert Bircher and Derek LaCroix,QC

  2. What is the Small Firm Advantage? • In order to distinguish yourself in the marketing world you have to do something better than the competition • You can’t outdo big firms with big budgets by doing things the way they do it-you need to sell what you do better • What are the principal advantages of a solo or small firm?

  3. The Small Firm Advantage 1. Responsiveness and Flexibility: Big firms have a bureaucracy like any large organization, generally nothing happens easily or quickly Small firms are immune from this and can quickly adapt to the clients needs 2. Efficiency: In a big firm, documents and issues are repeatedly massaged by redundant layers of junior associates and partners

  4. The Small Firm Advantage This creates a slow, inefficient, and expensive process-not a problem for them since it makes money- there is a culture of “why use one document when five will do” this creates unnecessary complexity Solos don’t do that – they generally do things the easiest way possible-which for many transactions is all you really need Generally “legal overkill” is not done in small firms

  5. The Small Firm Advantage 3. “Big Fish Effect” In a large firm even a large company is not all that important and is treated accordingly-A small practitioner has no small fish, every client is important 4. Access: Generally in a big firm getting someone who is easy to get a hold of is rare, in a small firm it is easier to be accessible 5. Lower cost for comparable work: Guess who is paying for the high salaries, class “A” space, in house gyms, golf memberships etc.? Could this be ego driven rather than because the quality is better?

  6. The Small Firm Advantage Lower fees are a distinct advantage if you can overcome the phenomenon of “It cost more so it must be worth more” 6.No hidden billing pressures: The endless billing pressure in large firms often results in “bill inflation” or even outright over billing-some would even argue the incessant pressure creates a temptation to deception-no such pressure exists in small firms-it is much easier to be honest

  7. The Small Firm Advantage 7. Client files are not handed over to juniors: Delegation is the norm in large firms, thus clients pay for training or they pay for the “Big Hitter” and actually get a “Pinch Hitter” to do the work In a small firms there are no “Pinch Hitters”

  8. Marketing Game Plan • Many lawyers need to change their attitude about marketing • “Marketing is so basic, it cannot be considered a separate function of the business. It is the whole business, seen from the point of view of the final result-that is, from the customers point of view” • Your marketing plan-What is it? 1. What do you do better than others?

  9. Marketing Game Plan • Who is your market? • How easy are you to do business with? (Basics like returning calls promptly, friendly staff, greet clients with enthusiasm, can clients find you and your firm easily) • See marketing plan on page 13 of appendix-how can you put that into effect in your own practice now?

  10. Effective and Ineffective Marketing for Small Firms • Most lawyers are easy prey for advertising salespeople- at my firm when the yellow pages rep came by every year it was like an eagle pouncing on a bunny rabbit, I would always get talked into more than I wanted or needed • Yellow pages-can be effective for some types of firms-for others it is a massive waste-if you spend $3000 for an ad it must return $6000 just to break even(50% overhead)

  11. What Works-What Doesn’t • Websites-some argue they bring in business-some say they inform people but are unlikely to create much new business • Directories-for most small firms these are generally useless • Newspaper (print ads)-generally useless for small firms • Personal Contact-Clubs, groups and organizations-still the most effective for small firms • Speaking Engagements-Cheap and highly effective

  12. What Works-What Doesn’t • Brochures and Newsletters-generally useless but can be effective if professionally done • Holiday gifts-Generally useless except to thank existing clients • One shot events-generally useless unless part of an overall plan with follow-up • Client Referrals-The cornerstone of all small firm marketing-for tips see Client Care appendix