Follow these tips to keep productivity high and save your firm from the dreaded dog days of summer.
Like many other business owners, lawyers often have a love/hate relationship with the summer season. The warmer weather and longer days are good for the soul, but can also be bad for the bottom line.
These slow times can have devastating effects on solo and small law firms because you run your own show. You’re responsible for it all, from the actual practice of law, to marketing and answering the phone.
But none of that matters if you are not bringing in any new clients. Which can be especially difficult during the dog days of summer. So to help, here are some creative strategies for preparing and preventing that summer business slump.
1. Plan Ahead
Analyze the seasonality of your business over the last several years and plan for the slowdown.
Is it during Summer? Midwinter? Spring break? Every lawyer and firm has seasonality. Can you bank some profits from your busy season to carry you through the lull? With strategic planning, you can reduce the impact of a seasonal slump.
2. Use Freelance Lawyers or Virtual Assistants
With the right freelance lawyer or virtual assistant, your firm can quickly and easily expand or contract depending on demand. For example, maybe when your slow season hits, you can give put your relationship with a freelance lawyer on pause, until business starts to pick up again.
Another option might be to hire a student law clerk. A law clerk could also mostly work remotely with the same benefits as a virtual assistant. Plus, it will also be much easier to find a law student from a local law school. Having a law clerk could also be a great way to vet and train a future associate.
3. Plan for the End of the Year
A seasonal lull presents the ideal opportunity for company-wide planning. Take a long look at where you came from, where you are now, and the goals you want to reach as the year closes. Once these goals are established, start to plan how you will pull the team together and set milestones toward achieving them.
4. Send Gifts
Giftology is the art of using gifts and thoughtful gestures to reacquaint yourself with clients, increase referrals and maximize client retention. A slow season is an excellent opportunity to build or renew client relationships. Identify clients you want to reconnect with and share a thoughtful gift with them.
Another technique involves sending them a handwritten note, referring to something personal they mentioned before, like a kid or vacation they had mentioned. Little gestures such as this will increase the likelihood of them referring new business to you.
5. Get Reviews from Old Clients
If you haven’t already, reach out to old clients and get their opinion and review of how they think the relationship went with you as their lawyer.
One of the best ways to showcase your benefits, as well as build trust with new visitors, is through testimonials (also referred to as case-studies). If done correctly, testimonials can help to convince new leads that you are the solution they have been searching for.
6. Summer Sale
Everyone loves a sale! To stimulate sales and build interest, reach out to contacts and old clients via social media, email campaigns and website updates featuring a discount on your hourly rate or bundled legal services. If done correctly, you’ll generate a buzz and boost cash flow.
7. Invest in Your Own Well-Being
Summer is a great time to reflect and spend time relaxing or with family. If you know business will be slow, schedule vacations accordingly. Take advantage of the downtime to review your personal goals, identify what is working and what isn’t. Make adjustments and prepare to get back on track for the busy season, because it will be here before you know it!