Sometimes you have the best of intentions. You get to the office bright and early, you're ready to put in a full day's work on your cases, and then an emergency case walks in the door and your day is booked, your weekend is booked and your Monday morning is booked...
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Over a shared lunch at the office (which happens once a week), I was discussing some of the challenges that the other small business owners in the office have run into and their solutions (if they found one). The most common one when starting out? Getting out of the house.
These business owners all shared their passions for their businesses and the lengths they would go to continue to grow their business. Reflecting back, they all shared the common trait when they first started: working out of their home. It provides a familiar, comfortable place to do your phone calls, check your email, create your business plan, take a nap with your cat (if needed) and whatever else the world throws at your new business.
At some point, though, it’s time to get out of the house and explore the world, meet some people, get involved and market your business. That realization led many of them to our large office and its variety of opportunities for small businesses to grow and network. Your business can only grow so far from your couch.
What they all found is that having an office, a place away from home, a place to be social, to meet new people and to have higher level discussions than what the cat wants for dinner really helped their businesses grow. They don’t need to sit down at the office from 8:00 – 6:00, staring at a computer screen and waiting for the end of the day to arrive, but rather, can explore their creativity.
While you can use your table to start and run your business, don’t get tied to your couch and wait for the world to come to you. There are lots of options to get out of the house and go find that next great client.
By the way, you don’t have to take my word for this. There are probably 1,000,000+ blogs about this (and almost all of them have been sent to me over the years I think)…
Monday, February 15, 2016
Friday, February 5, 2016
It feels like I lived this week in two different worlds - a technology conference world and a litigation world. Both of them get the adrenaline going, but in very different ways.
Attending LegalTech and the events that go with it is much less stressful than the hearings that took up the rest of my time this week, but it still takes up plenty of brain space and operations. Part of me wishes there was an "On/Off" button to just switch between the two modes of operation.
But alas, there is no such button, so I'm finally able to sit down on a Friday morning and clear my head and get ready for next week (and the Super Bowl this weekend).
The paperwork and preparation that goes into hearings is a long slog of a process, with all of the hearings being in state courts that do not have the capacity for electronic submission of evidence or other basic technology that is readily available. So instead, we have to make copies of mounds of papers, only to reach a settlement minutes before the hearing is supposed to start, with everyone now scrambling to get all of their revisions completed to submit to the Court.
It would be much easier to just pull up the settlement document on a laptop or tablet, make the changes and then wirelessly print it to one of the printers in the courtroom. I feel like I give this same speech to clients every time we go through this and it's just a pipe dream that someday will come to realization.
Enjoy your weekend and the inevitable Super Bowl parties that will crowd our weekend calendars...
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
It's probably cliche at this point, with hundreds (if not thousands) of articles written on all of the small businesses setting up their meetings at the local coffee shop and essentially using it as their office. Near both of my offices, you can observe this phenomenon on any given morning.
If you poke your head into Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, you'll likely find a longer line of people getting their coffee for the morning. But at those stores, the people are grabbing and heading out to the trains, buses and other ways to get to work. The wi-fi can be inconsistent, the space too noisy and the ambience just far too hectic.
Travel a block away to a true, local coffee shop, and you'll find a quieter scene. One filled with tables of people having meaningful discussions about the future of their apps, the local PTA discussing the next fundraiser, or just some old friends catching up. The Internet connection is more robust, the ambience quieter, the coffee a little stronger, the food offerings a bit tastier and the overall mood is a bit more optimistic.
When things do get crowded, you can end up sharing a table with someone who you've never meet before, who may have a totally different approach to business than you've ever considered. Sitting with Matt a few days ago, he explained to me how his investment business focused on small and local businesses and was always on the lookout for new opportunities. When the discussion turned to what I do, he immediately became interested in some of the small businesses I represent, especially those who could use some additional funding to get through the cold winter months.
With that lovely robust Internet, Matt and I are able to look over some financial figures for his business immediately and make some possible connections for him to continue to invest and help grow our local businesses. Matt and I will likely bump into each other again sooner rather than later.
Monday, February 1, 2016
The first week of February each year brings the annual LegalTech show in New York. Even when I worked for someone else, I always tried to make sure to get to a day or two of the show to see what's going on. The reality is that most of the tech and vendors are aimed at a very different market than I serve or represent. Aspirationally, it would be great to need most of the services being displayed, but the reality is that it normally takes a few years for some of these tech innovations to filter down to smaller law firms and their clients.
I ran into a technology journalist friend of mine the other day and we began talking about some of the new tech toys that are going to be on display at LegalTech, which, of course, just made him laugh. Most of the technology that we as lawyers get excited about, the rest of the world has tried, kicked the tires, revised, adapted or otherwise advanced will beyond our excitement.
These past few weeks have seen an interesting rise and (possible) crash of a new social network called Peach. It got a big write up in the New York Times and all of a sudden it seemed like everyone wanted to be on it. But then, it seems, a funny thing happened. As my journalist friend pointed out to me, a lot of the features or things that supposedly distinguished Peach, were confusing to consumers. So while Peach shot up to the top 100 apps, just a few weeks later, it's struggling to keep pace. As my friend pointed out, trying to take on social networking sites, especially Facebook, has been a pretty tough slog for a variety of companies (even Google and its Google+).
So it's off to LegalTech tomorrow to see what's the next big thing in legal technology...