Build your business backwards.

As we work to turn LexThink into a sustainable business enterprise, I’ve been thinking a lot about the lessons that came from our first event.  One of the best discussions centered around the idea that to build your perfect firm, you must first identify your perfect client.  Sean D’Souza must have been a fly on the wall in that conversation, because he hits the nail on the head with this post, which I’m liberally excerpting below:

Which way, you ask?  Why not reach out into the mind of someone you know. What is that person’s name? What do they do in their business? What problem do they have? Can you ask them what problem they have? Can you narrow down what’s stopping their profit? What would take that person (whoever that person is) to the next level?

Think of a fictional Natalie. Or a fictional Bruce.  What is he doing right now? What is she frustrated with? Where does he want his business to go? Why is she unable to take weekends off? All of these issues are gaps.

Find out where you can fix the gaps. Bruce and Natalie have loads of issues. And you can be a specialist in fixing just a few of those issues. What can you fix?

Think backwards. Start with a target audience. Think about them, sitting at their desk at 7pm on Saturday night. What would change their life? How can you change their life?

You’re a specialist. What do you do best? 
Think intently. What we have here is more than just an audio logo or a communication issue. What we need to have is a deep understanding. When we think in specifics, the specifics reveal themselves.

One Response to Build your business backwards.
  1. marianne richmond
    May 21, 2005 | 12:18 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about identifying law firms target audience. Identifying a target audience necessitates as you noted, identifying your own strengths and specialties. From the minute that the law firm phone is answered “law firm”, the confusion begins. As a brand marketer turned professional services provider (and therefore marketer) AND as a client and observer of the behavior of law firms in St. Louis I would like to comment on your post.

    Most of my observations are specific to family law firms in St. Louis although web sites for firms in other cities don’t convince me the situation in St. Louis is unique… but there you have the first problem: What does a “family law firm” really do? How can a firm pick a target audience when they seem to not be able to articulate their services past “family law”..or they say family law: divorce, custody dispute, child support etc. Do they do simple divorce filings or complicated trials? Are they specialists in out of court settlements or are they trial lawyers? OR are they specialists in high conflict divorces and/ or custody disputes that involve business valuations, vocational experts, tax expertise, forensic discovery, and appellate experience.
    Factor in that many family law firms are 1-4 lawyer shops all doing ths same kind of “one size fits all” practice and one can get a further understanding of the problem. A firm could use the designation “family law” and have an attorney who specialized in various kinds and subtypes of family law… and staff and other professionals to support the needs and target that way OR firms or solo lawyers could truly specialize in a definition of the kind of practice they do and target that way. In the case of the solo specialist, he/she should have a short list of trusted specilists that a client whose needs can not be handled by your speciality can be seamlessly referred to…a list that you get referrals from also. This could be addressed at an initial assessment that went beyond the typical name, address, how long have you been separated questions OR even if neceesary further into the case if the case deviated from its expected course. Define your brand, be your brand and a benefit beyond marketing is that your clients will be served in the best manner possible.

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