Whether you want to expand your existing business or are just now considering setting up your new business, it can be a mind- boggling experience. In addition to legal and tax issues, there are many concerns which effect the opening and expansion of a business. That's why we have compiled this list of friendly do's and don'ts for starting and expanding a business.
1. Try not to open a business if you are poorly financed and have no clients/ business.
2. Don't waste money on books you won't use. Clients don't know the difference between your old school casebooks and expensive books. (Enjoy going to library once per week) Read books on marketing and office Management.
3. Don't get yourself into Debt.
4. Don't waste money on Fancy Crane stationary when a quality Laserprinter creates letterhead.
5. DO BUY A PORTABLE COMPUTER. A Macintosh is easier to use and train staff.
6. Try to sublease. Conserve cash outlay. It takes a great deal of time to price every piece of office machinery.
7. Reconcile your own books. Don't get lazy and rely on CPA or secretary. However, seek professional tax help for tax and accounting needs.
8. Try to get paid up front fees for everything.
9. Don't join every club and organization
10. Don't join anything expecting to get clients or business. Join Local clubs you enjoy
11. Try not to make enemies. Enemies last a lifetime
12. No job is guaranteed forever. I began preparing to open my office when I was a first year associate.
13. Don't spend a fortune on office decor. Goldfish are inexpensive and a great conversation piece
14. Say Hello and Introduce Yourself to People
15. Exercise to Reduce Stress and meet new potential clients
16. Once per month review every single open matter. Make sure there is a signed agreement in file. Determine if money is owed. Prepare "to do" list
17. Create Step by Step by Step Procedure Manual- "How to" Training for New & Short Term Staff
18. Charge 18% Interest on unpaid Bills. Otherwise there is no incentive for clients to pay your bills.
19. Use gut reaction in rejecting clients or business you feel will be trouble.
20. Generally people who want free consultations and quotes don't want to pay for services either
21. Buy a Red Ink Stamper "Second Request" with date line for letters not responded to. To avoid retyping the same letter.
22. Buy a spare Hand micro cassette recorder and practice for meetings and speaking engagements in your car.
23. Create social events to benefit charities.
24. Create a newsletter on your own computer and mail to friends and clients.
25. Create Business cards that separates you from other similar business people.
26. Do Positive things for people to remember you.
27 Backup everything on computer and store copies off-site. In Edison a Pipeline Explosion destroyed apartments and people with computer files lost everything. Keep an extra computer back off site for almost inevitable disasters: fire, flood, (Midwest), earthquake (California), explosion (World Trade Center & Edison Durham Woods), hard drive crash (everywhere).
In the ten years we have been practicing law I have developed many ideas and systems to better serve clients. My clients consist primarily of Middle class working people who need a good attorney. I was fortunate early in my career to realize that skills in running an office and handling staff were essential whether I became a partner or opened my own practice. Help your practice by inexpensive improvements in service to clients