Setting up as a sole practitioner is one of the most exciting career moves a solicitor can undertake. Neil Chatterjee of Mojo Marketing looks at some of the issues in setting up on your own. Previously, you may have been put off by the cost of Personal Indemnity Insurance or maybe you had strong loyalties to your firm. Either way, you now see things differently, you have a vision, you want the freedom to manage your own practice and let’s not forget, reap the rewards.
For whatever reason, you’ve finally made a positive decision and taken the plunge to go it alone as a sole practitioner.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to apply for your SRA number, get some quotes in regarding your insurance and do some research on case management systems. Then there’s some practical issues to deal with such as where are you going to practice from, have you got all the office equipment that you’ll need, not to mention everyday business software and telephone details. The list may seem endless, but when I talk to sole practitioners about their experiences of setting up, they all say that it was worth it and the best career decision they ever made.
Of course, sorting out the practical stuff is one thing, but how are you going to get your business known. Hopefully, you’ll be bringing a few clients with you, but it is also important to develop your client base in order to grow your business. You’ll have probably come from a multi-partner firm where most of the marketing was done for you or, as in a lot of cases especially in smaller firms, marketing activities were not considered a priority.
I always advise clients to start off by describing their services in terms of benefits and matching them up with their target market. Essentially, if you can better match the two together then you’ll be in a stronger position to communicate accurately your unique selling points to the most appropriate audience. It will also get you thinking about how you want to present your practice in terms of your logo, printed materials and importantly your website.
As far as your website is concerned, it is no longer adequate to have a static website listing your services alongside some pretty pictures. Though good design is essential, ultimately your website must be flexible enough to be an effective marketing tool for your business. Familiarising yourself with ‘keyword analysis’ and ‘search engine optimisation’ can be daunting and time consuming, but you will need to give this serious consideration as to whether you do this yourself or bring in a professional.
Like it or not, The Legal Services Act has changed things and the implications remains a serious issue for solicitors. Marketing your firm is now more important than ever and as the sole principal of your business, it is now up to you to define and implement your marketing activities.
If you’d like to speak to a marketing professional that has actual experience of working in the legal sector and in particular marketing for solicitors, then please contact Neil Chatterjee at Mojo Marketing.
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