Those lawyers contemplating establishing their own practice, or those who already have – will no doubt be thinking about – likely as a matter of urgency – how to build a client base sufficient to survive in the first instance – and thrive after the initial period of establishing the new firm.
The term growth hacking has been traditionally used in the context of startups – and it means, essentially — acquiring as many customers or clients possible – in as short of period of time — with as little cost as possible.
I use this term because I’m going to explain succinctly how lawyers can – in a short time span and with little cost – build a new boutique legal practice – as if it was a startup (which it effectively is). Hence, the use of the term. Too, I’m writing about law firms that are commercial in nature, serving a client base of predominantly companies. And oftentimes, companies operating in international markets.
Focus on time and cost-efficient core-BD initiatives to secure revenue more quickly
With that said, here are the basic steps I’d suggest you follow to growth hack your boutique law firm and quickly achieve sufficient revenue to survive and later thrive:
- Identify core practice groups and align them with commercial objectives of clients – describing them in the context of how they help achieve the commercial objectives of clients.
- Identify ideal potential referral sources of work – whether lawyers, consulting firms, investment banks or other professional services firms – and reach out to them with an aim of connecting with practitioners specialized in the same areas and serving the same clients you would serve. This outreach effort should be proactive in nature aimed at securing referrals from these relationships – where each referral partner identifies unique, actionable commercial opportunities for each other – and makes introductions from their existing client base or contacts. Email and phone/Skype/WhatsApp/Zoom, etc in lieu of in person meetings as you build firm revenue.
- Establish a law blog and blog daily – becoming a window into your market – on commercial opportunities and dangers your ideal potential clients will face in your market. Seek to become a must read for anyone doing business or seeking to do business in your market. Get as specific as possible about the intersection of commercial objectives and specific commercial sectors – identifying localized opportunities and dangers and how your can help clients achieve their objectives and ameliorate their risks.
- Identify ideal potential clients in your market and reach out via email to their general counsel and/or their CEO and introduce yourself – identifying yourself and your presence in your market – and offering to be a resource for them in your market should they require it – specifically in reference to how they might enter the market, make acquisitions in your market, secure government contracts or capitalize on other commercial opportunities there. Where possible, identify actionable commercial opportunities in your market specific to each company, and mention those when you make initial contact. Capital Markets Lawyers: Lead with potential acquisitions. Litigators: Lead with liability audits. Governments Contracts Lawyers: Lead with potential procurement opportunities, etc., etc.
- Focus on email, phone, and video conferencing with the above – not in-person or general networking opportunities. Remember, the focus is growth – so think about securing new sources of revenue in the quickest time frame possible. That means leaving behind anything which is not an optimum use of your business development time.
- Establish the basic social media presence required – a website and blog, LinkedIn personal and company profiles, Twitter account (primarily for networking and distributing your content to key audiences – here, research hashtags specific to sector or practice (government contracts: #govcon, Corporate and Commercial: #privateequity, the foreign investment community can be reached using #fdi, which stands for foreign direct investment, etc etc). Build Twitter lists of referral sources and potential clients and reach out to everyone on those lists. Hire a professional capable of search-engine optimizing your online presence. But everything else, except for perhaps some of the research – do yourself.
Growth Hacking will accelerate your realization of revenue
A new boutique law practice isn’t easy to build, and no matter what – it will take time. The steps above, however, will help you to get in front of decision makers and referral sources – and build revenue — in the least amount of time.
Notice what I didn’t mention – networking groups, golf, social events, etc. These are general, non-specific, non-research-based networking events which will not help you achieve quick revenue. Once your firm revenue is established – these initiatives are fine to do.
If you do as I’ve outlined above – repetitively, every day – you are likely to achieve revenue much faster – by emulating the startup world and growth hacking your new boutique law firm.
If you would like to learn how to growth hack a new boutique law firm -– contact me via the form below to arrange a time for a discussion about how I might help you to learn this via one-on-one coaching.