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Strategies for Small Business Owners in a Down Economy

In spite of today’s tough economy many small law firms are thriving and doing quite well organizationally and financially. Economic uncertainty does not have to result in small businesses, such as law firms, sitting on the sidelines, passively awaiting another recession. Instead, experts suggest owners focus less on the news and more on how to better serve clients and enhance bottom-line results.

Get a Business Plan

The biggest challenge facing solo owners and partners in small firms is the constant need to develop innovative ways to streamline productivity and improve the firm’s bottom-line, while at the same time, maintaining a proactive leadership role in the firm. This can sometimes be a daunting task for even the most organized and focused leaders.

To help keep things in check many firms are using business plans to focus and direct their organization. Business plans are helping firms gain direction and ultimately improving productivity, profitability and organizational focus. Law firms rely on business plans to help steer the firm so that solo owners and partners can focus on practicing law. Juggling between clients and playing the dual role of practicing attorney and managing attorney is a difficult task and having a plan to help steer the firm has proven helpful for many firms. Having an effective roadmap helps keep the firm running in a straight line towards its goals and helps avoid a crisis management mentality.

Consider Unbundled Legal Services

One strategy for staying solvent in bad economic times is to offer unbundled legal services. Lawyers can use unbundling as part of a marketing strategy for their law firms to differentiate themselves from traditional full-service law firms that stick to the billable hour model. Unbundling facilitates fixed fees and packaged legal services, and can be delivered online using secure methods. These alternatives to traditional delivery of legal services particularly appeal to busy and often money-strapped startups and entrepreneurs.

While the unbundling trend may be more prominent with larger firms for startups and entrepreneurs, it will make its way to down to smaller sized firms and encompass many more areas of law. All lawyers can benefit from learning techniques for unbundling and using technology to deliver services online.

Basic Business Strategies in Tough Economic Waters

There are some basic steps small business owners can take. These strategies include the following ten steps:

Step 1: Stick to what you know and love and stay smart in your business practice area.
Step 2: Make sure you have a business plan.
Step 3: Find the best location -- Check out your competition.
Step 4: Make sure you have adequate funding and lines of credit.
Step 5: Make sure you have the right business insurance.
Step 6: Work extremely hard.
Step 7: Talk to experts -- stay networked in the business community.
Step 8: Monitor and review your clients -- conduct focus interviews or surveys if possible.
Step 9: Keep marketing. Stay competitive.
Step 10: Do additional research.

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