In the spirit of summer, I elected to postpone my “follow-up” article to the last edition’s article “Do you have a plan? What is your law firm’s Marketing Strategy?” and follow my own advice and use some of my much needed down time to focus my own marketing efforts and this article on – “How to best use your vacation to build your law firm”. I know this sounds like an impossibility, but it actually works!
First, stop dreading your time away from the office. It is crucial to your firm’s development that you leave. It is important for your staff to know that your trust them to run things just like they would if you were there. It is equally important for you to see that they can. In addition, and most importantly, you and your staff need this time off! So, stop dreading it and feeling like things will be delayed or put-off because you are gone or your staff member is on vacation. Use this as a time to grow, learn, tweak, and develop your law firm.
Now that you have actually left the office and are on vacation, when you head out the door to some sandy location, leave your laptop behind and opt for a good old fashioned spiral bound notebook. (I promise that I haven’t lost my mind.) A spiral bound notebook and a good BIC ballpoint pen will be your tools while you’re sitting on the beach watching your kids run and play or sitting by the pool perpetrating a tan. The sun and salt air can’t destroy a notebook, the spiral bound will keep your pages together and it is easily accessible. You also won’t be tempted to check your Blackberry for voice mail or email messages if you’re not turning it on and it stays in your hotel room or beach house.
Now, watch what is going on around you. Are the all the kids on the beach playing with the latest beach toy? Are they calling it by its brand name – “Bocchi”,” Kadema”, or “Cornhole”? Is everyone snacking on “Nabs” (as we so affectionately call them here in the South, also known as “Lance” peanut butter crackers) and drinking a “Coke”? Are they all slathering on “Coppertone” or “Hawaiian Tropic” sunscreen? Are they all listening to music on their “iPods”? Don’t you want that to be the same for your law firm? Don’t you want everyone to think of your law firm when they are asked about a lawyer or when they or their family members need a lawyer? How can you differentiate your law firm from the rest of the pack? Think about what makes these items you are seeing around you household names. It is their branding. So, think about your brand. What message are you putting out to the world about your firm? Is it the same as the rest of your competitors? Now, think about what makes your firm different and unique. Is this what you are saying to the world about your firm? If not, it should be.
Next, relax rest, rejuvenate and refocus. These are all important when you are trying to grow your firm. You need to take time while you are on vacation to do these. We spend the whole winter working. We only stop a few times throughout the holiday season to enjoy our family and friends. But, that is not time for R & R. You need the R & R. It is like training for a marathon, you need the “off” days and the restful sleep at night to rebuild and grow your muscles. The same is true for our brains. Spend some of this time completely relaxing. Don’t think about the firm or any of the issues that go along with owning and running your firm. I promise it will be time very well spent! You and your firm will benefit!
When you return from your vacation, spend some time reading through the notes you took while you were gone. Now, organize them into and outline, prioritize them, and start putting them into action! You will find that some your most successful plans are those that came from your “downtime” on vacation! They will be more creative, more outside of the box and more fun to implement. So, now share them with your staff. They’ll get the same feelings about them that you did while you were on vacation!