Spreading the word
It was always of huge importance to me to let everyone know what we were doing. I knew the structure and offering of Cognitive Law wasn’t unique, but it’s not the norm, and I maintain that it’s a bloody good idea. So, once we had our model in place, it was a matter of spreading the word. But that’s not actually as easy as it sounds when you have a shoe-string budget.
Obviously I am a solicitor, not a marketing or PR guru, so I knew I needed help. One of the best things I did was find a business mentor. I truly believe that you don’t know what you don’t know, and I am always happy to learn. I had to, I didn’t have the finance available to blow on a big ad campaign, so I had to get help on how to do it for myself.
It takes a certain amount of trial & error to gain traction, and I can’t recommend Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares’ book “How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” highly enough. It’s really focussed my attention on the best channels to use to market our firm. One thing you certainly learn when you start a new business, is how to maximise your strengths within your budget.
Now that the firm is more established (we just celebrated our 5th birthday), we’re really pulling out all the stops. We’ve got a fantastic Marketing Manager (and yes, she does work flexibly & remotely), who is worth her weight in gold, who dedicates her time to promoting the firm, its consultants and its services. I’ll be honest with you though; this has been harder than I initially envisaged.
Because I was quite gung-ho about making the firm a success, I assumed that lots of other solicitors would share my view about flexible working. But I’ve actually found a large amount of inertia or scepticism in the legal community. Female solicitors are certainly more willing to engage with the concept of working as a self-employed consultant, but I feel quite strongly that flexible working isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a gender issue. We have 4 male solicitors, all of whom love the benefits that being a consultant solicitor brings to their lives.
It quickly became clear that we had to do more than tell everyone what we were doing, we had to show how it could be done. For that reason, we spent a lot of time and effort constructing what I hope is a really helpful “Join us” page on our website. Which goes back to my point about trial & error. We probably missed out on some interest in the firm because we didn’t make it clear how to take the leap into what was seemingly the unknown. But once we realised that we did something about it, and that’s all, you can do as a new/small business owner.
I know it’s not an easy step to take, but as I will embellish in my next blog, it’s well worth it. So, if you do one thing after reading this blog, please take a moment to help us spread the word and share it across your network so that other solicitors can see that there is another way.