Posted by: johnocunningham | April 7, 2015

Best Blogs of March: Business Development Tips

This is my 28th post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

For the month of March 2015, I have chosen to highlight some posts from different blogs on the topic of business development.

First, I am calling attention to a nice summary by Craig Brown of the “Least Effective Ways to Bring New Business Into Your Law Firm” posted on the Law Vision INSIGHTS blog.

I like the idea of summarizing the common mistakes in business development because lots of those mistakes are sort of default behaviors for busy lawyers who see marketing and business development as a little something you do without much forethought when you have “extra” time. Just by doing the opposite of what is reflexive and bad, lawyers can greatly improve their client development – sort of a George Costanza “do the opposite” of what is instinctive approach.

Second, I would like to call attention to a nice post entitled “Identify a Problem: Offer a Solution” by Cordell Parvin on his blog.

In my own experience as a General Counsel, I never declined to meet with a total stranger who informed me that he had a solution for a problem that commonly plagued my industry or specifically plagued my business. I was always impressed when someone took the time to figure out what the problems in my world likely were, and even brought me a ready-made solution.

My favorite example of this involves a lawyer who identified how my multi-state company could save millions of dollars per year by opting out of the workers compensation in two states with rapidly rising comp costs that allowed opt-outs. We opted out, forced questionable plaintiffs with questionable doctors to sue us, and purchased a very reasonably priced “catastrophic” layer of insurance coverage for those cases of genuine harm with significant damages. In the first few years after we opted out, we saved the millions of dollars projected (and then some) and I was not only happy to pay a legal bill in the tens of thousands of dollars related to the opt-out, I also referred my counsel to others who could benefit from his services.

Third, I am calling attention to a blog post on “Pricing Power” at Adam Smith, Esq. because, as the post demonstrates, firms that pay attention to “right-pricing” for the market can make more clients happy while earning more dollars.

In the honorable mention category, I would like to share two other posts on unrelated topics.

In “Five Tips for a Successful Photo Shoot” on the Clockwork Design Group blog, you can find some great simple, practical pointers for getting better photos for your website, blog, paid advertisements, brochures or other publications. I think this is particularly valuable to law firms because so many have photo-art that demonstrates insufficient attention to detail and objectives. See, for example, my post entitled, “Why Do Most Super Lawyers Look Super Dull?

Finally, I want to share a link to a string of posts by Steven J. Harper, author of the “Belly of the Beast.” Harper was a big-firm partner for years, and has written some compelling material about what it is like to practice “inside the belly of the beast.” But this year, his posts have focused on something much more personal and gripping – his own battle with pancreatic cancer. He describes what it is like to be a cancer patient in the “system” and makes some interesting observations on the similarities between the problems affecting legal practice and medical practice, which are leaving clients and patients feeling like products in a mechanized assembly line.

Hats off to all of the posters who shared something worth reading in March.

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