It’s stressful to be in the middle of a global pandemic! Here in Nova Scotia, Canada, we’re still in a State of Emergency in early April 2020. Many businesses are mandated to stay closed for the foreseeable future, and the news media have been reporting all things negative for a few weeks (with nothing positive on the horizon). The truth is, there are good news stories out there. Entrepreneurs and owners of professional practices have reason to be optimistic. The fact that our reality has shifted just means we must adapt to succeed.
Entrepreneurs and business owners have always had to adapt to succeed over the long-term. Major events in the past – although not quite like the COVID-19 pandemic – have caused professionals in all industries to pivot their businesses. It’s a natural process that reminds us there will be another side to this pandemic. We want to be ready for it.
I’ve recently been part of some interesting conversations around the future of professional practice, business, and marketing. I want to help my community understand how businesses can adapt to succeed in the post-COVID-19 economy. That’s why I’m sharing specific ideas around adapting to succeed. I use lawyers as the example in this article. However, you can apply this same thinking to any professional practice in finance, health, and other areas.
Like many professions, law will see interesting developments moving forward. To start, there will be greater digitization of the workplace. More lawyers will start working from home and the justice system may even become more accommodating to digital solutions.
Some practice areas will see a surge of activity in the very near future. With all the lay-offs and shut downs, employment, contracts, and bankruptcy are three such areas. If you’re an employment, contract, or bankruptcy lawyer, it would be smart to put out feelers in your circles of influence right now. Say to people in your community, “Hey, send me your questions and let me see if I can help.”
Furthermore, staying home all day long for weeks on end puts a great deal of stress on relationships, especially those that were challenged to begin with. China is reporting an increase in divorces as it emerges from the pandemic, and we can expect to see something similar in the Western World. Family law will be another busy practice area as we move forward.
Mediation and alternative dispute resolution are other areas that will experience growth. The courts have been closed since the start of the pandemic. With a back-log of court proceedings and major delays to an already slow justice system, many people will opt to resolve their legal issues through alternative methods.
These are just some examples of practice areas that show new potential. If you’re already in these practice areas, you’re well-positioned to thrive in the post-COVID-19 reality. This is your time. Consider what you can do now to attract inquiries and serve these emerging needs. Who is your target market? What is your message? Which media will you use to target and communicate with people? These three considerations represent the market-message-media fundamentals that you should be thinking about.
What if you’re in a practice area that may not thrive quite like the way it did before? How can lawyers in these areas adapt to succeed? Let’s look at the example of personal injury.
Car accidents represent a large amount of legal work in the personal injury field. You didn’t have to believe that artificial intelligence would eventually prevent all car accidents to know that new vehicle technology would evolve the practice of personal injury law. This simply serves as a reminder that we should always be looking ahead and planning for change.
People will still need personal injury lawyers. Car accidents are not going away forever any time soon. Furthermore, new needs may emerge directly from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, many senior’s residences have been ravaged by the corona-virus due to poor policies. Anyone with class action experience would be prudent to investigate these situations.
If you own a law firm that works exclusively in personal injury, how can you position yourself for greater on-going success? How can you adapt to succeed in the long-term? You can continue to grow profits by diversifying into one or more practice areas that offer new potential such as employment, contracts, bankruptcy, and mediation. These areas also offer the advantage of more consistent cash flow. So, how do you do it?
There are three obvious ways forward if you want to adapt to succeed through diversification. The first way forward is to learn a new practice area. The second and probably more desirable option is to acquire a new practice area. As entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s our job to manage risk and reward. If you have the marketing systems in place to attract the inquiries, why not hire good lawyers who are happy to have salaried jobs.
The third diversification option is to establish referral relationships with lawyers and firms in practice areas that show new potential. You don’t have to build out your business to take advantage of new opportunities. Your community of clients, fans, and followers will have different legal needs in the years to come. If you are, or can make yourself, the go-to legal resource for these people, you will have the opportunity to refer them to trusted and reliable professionals – a valuable form of service indeed. Referral fees from your roster of trusted professionals are a great form of passive revenue.
This article has outlined reasons why lawyers and professionals in private practice in general have reason to be optimistic. The pandemic won’t last forever; there will be another side to this. Regardless of your current profession or practice area, you can be well-positioned to serve the needs of a post-COVID-19 reality. You just have to look ahead, plan, and execute.
If you’d like to talk about your specific situation and how you can adapt to succeed in the post-pandemic reality, email Hello@CatherineCrosbie.com or call 902-453-1903 to schedule a complimentary consultation. The purpose of Proven Marketing for Professionals Inc. is to help professionals build their dream practices. We want people to live their own versions of success and design their lives their way. Email Hello@CatherineCrosbie.com or call 902-453-1903 today.
Founder & CEO
Proven Marketing for Professionals Inc.