Regardless of the industry, the ability to succeed and remain competitive depends upon adaptability. The financial instability and insecurity stemming from the economic downturn provokes business owners to seek and evaluate new directions to ensure profitability and protect against future downturns. Let’s explore a marketing direction and a financial option as examples of adapting to our business environment.
Marketing Directions: Did you know that we live in the "Attention Age"? This era is characterized by instant information, created by and for consumers, shared through the use of internet sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Small and mid-sized businesses are seeking ways to draw attention to their businesses by working in concert with their websites, blogs, and digital e-marketing campaigns to create a strong and positive digital image. Your website and web presence serve as a first impression. A negative reaction can result in a click of the mouse and you potential customer is lost. It is vital, therefore, to understand the impact of social media as a marketing tool and a way to service your customers and clients.
Even the most conservative professionals must admit that this is the current and future business environment. The "information age" has evolved into the "attention age." Businesses are vying for the attention of their consumers through social media. However, as beneficial as social media is, caution must be exercised in the use of the internet’s sites, particularly in blogging. The professional, for example, must be cognizant of any ethical restrictions it may have with respect to advertising. Further, any information provided in the form of a blog should be of a general nature. You do not want to expose yourself to any liability risk for malpractice.
Financial Options: A financial option which offers the opportunity to adapt to the changing business environment and remain competitive is to explore alternative billing methods. To use the law firm example, alternative billing arrangements enable both the law firm and its clients to alleviate the uncertainty and unpredictability of most legal costs. They work together to establish an ongoing relationship to minimize redundancy.
While the billable hour remains a vital and integral part of providing comprehensive legal services to companies, it should only be one of several tools used in conjunction with a customized legal fee structure. The structure is based upon the client’s historic and projected legal needs. Its overall objective is to provide both the business and the law firm with greater ability to budget and manage costs. This model can extend to other professional services as well as small and mid-sized businesses.
Today’s business challenges demand innovative approaches and adaptability to the changing marketing and financial environments. Keeping your business competitive requires acceptance of these challenges and positive action in meeting them.
Ryan A. Marrone, Esq. of counsel at Szaferman Lakind. 609-275-0400, firstname.lastname@example.org.