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Jan Copley
Certified Practice Advisor
Atticus, Inc.

530 South Lake Avenue, Suite 250
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 696-3145
(626) 421-6747 (fax)

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Uses and Abuses of Social Media – Part One

June 29, 2011

Filed under: Social Media — @ 9:00 am

I find I am blogging a lot about Social Media. That’s because it’s new, it’s weird, and it’s important. Whether we like it or not, Social Media is here now, and it’s an important tool for marketing your business. So, we may as well learn to use it well.

They like me! Last fall, I attended a conference about a Social Media campaign in which a business owner had asked that a certain number of people “like” the business on Facebook by the end of the day. The business owner more than exceeded the goal by noon! However, when I asked if the campaign had resulted in more revenue for the business, the presenter said she didn’t know. Well, if the Facebook campaign didn’t produce new revenue, was it really worth the effort?

Being liked is not what you want. That’s the point behind an article, “Use Social Media to Be Relevant — Not Liked” in last week’s Pasadena Star-News. Just getting yourself “liked” by mass quantities of people, or by amassing an infinite number of Twitter followers, is not the point. The goal is to participate in a conversation so people listen to you and you become relevant to them. Only then will they consider doing business with you. And isn’t that the idea behind all our marketing efforts? Just as with all other forms of marketing, we need to be relevant and to direct our Social Media efforts so we reach the people we want to do business with!

Please let me know how this helps you!

We All Want to Be Appreciated

June 22, 2011

Filed under: Practice Management — @ 1:52 pm

I’ve previously written about the importance of saying thank you to referral sources, clients, and your significant other. I also mentioned the importance of thanking your team members.

Say thank you to the people who work for you. I coach my clients to say thank you to their team. Since I wrote the blog article, a couple of my clients have reported back the big difference a simple thank-you made. One client got a hug when she gave her team member a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure because her team member had gone out of her way to get something done. Another client reports that his assistant’s attitude has gone from vaguely negative to very positive because he took the time to acknowledge that she was working hard and doing a good job. How valuable is that to a business?

Some thank-you tips. It turns out other people agree with me: Solo Practice University recently published an article, “Small Efforts Can Make a Big Difference” on its website. The article is useful because it gives us some tips on how to thank a team member:

    • Do it promptly

    • Be specific

    • Be genuine

    • Acknowledge ordinary, as well as extraordinary achievements

My guess is that if you learn to thank your people on a regular basis, you’ll see a positive difference in your practice.

Please let me know how this helps you!

Say Aaaah … It’s Time for Your Business Checkup!

June 17, 2011

Filed under: Growing Your Business,Practice Management,Processes — @ 1:08 pm

Let me ask you a question: now that we’re getting to the halfway point for 2011, how has your business performed so far this year? Has your performance been better than last year? Worse? Or have you been too busy to find out? Or are you afraid to look?

Take your temperature. It’s easy to become so busy working in your business — getting client work out and paying the bills — you forget to look at the big picture to see how you are really doing. According to the Los Angeles Times, it makes sense to use the calendar to remind you that it’s time for a mid-year checkup.

Diagnosis and medication. By doing a mid-year checkup, you can find out what’s working and what is not working in your business. You may find that some aspects of your business are doing just fine (which is nice to know!), while some others are not producing the profit they should. Are there inefficiencies you haven’t noticed? Identifying a problem will enable you to find ways to fix it.

When you do your review, be objective. Base your analysis on facts, not your emotions. Do you have the necessary facts and information to measure your business’s performance? If not, that’s the first problem you should fix!

Don’t forget your marketing checkup.
Mid-year is also a good time to review your marketing strategies. Take a look at where your business has come from over the last six months. It may surprise you! This information can be very useful as you decide on your marketing program for the remainder of the year.

Try this and let me know how it works for you!

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

June 15, 2011

Filed under: Social Media — @ 12:48 pm

My last posting was about using Facebook as a marketing tool for your practice. Today, I ran across “How I Would Use Twitter,” a blog article from Cordell Parvin, another law practice management coach, about whether or not spending time on Twitter is worth it.

The upshot of the article is that if you choose to use Twitter to market your business, you have to be strategic about it. You can’t just tweet. You have to make sure the right message is getting to the right people. And then you have to be consistent about it.

This should not come as a surprise — we have to be strategic about every kind of marketing we do. All of our marketing should be directed toward creating our reputations, reaching people to generate work we love, and having wonderful, appreciative clients. So, like everything else about marketing, Twitter can be a great tool, but only if we make it work for us.

Let me know how this helps you!

Facebook for You and Facebook for Your Business

June 10, 2011

Filed under: Social Media — @ 1:15 pm

This week, I attended a presentation, called “Facebook 102. ” Travis Townsend of TuneUpYourWeb.com led the program. I went because I thought I needed to learn more about Facebook. I was right!

Pages vs. profiles. Among other things, we talked about how to use a Facebook page (that people “like”) for your business, not your Facebook profile (for your “friends”). I was vaguely aware of the differences between a page and a profile. I learned that a lot of the participants already use their Facebook presence as part of their strategic marketing programs, but that if they are using their Facebook profiles for that purpose, they may be violating Facebook rules and running the risk of having their Facebook sites shut down! However, I also learned that if you do it right, using a Facebook page can be an effective tool to market your business.

How much should you tell people? Having a Facebook page is a good way to separate your business from your personal life. However, because our referral sources and our clients work with us, in part, because they know, like and trust us, you shouldn’t totally block out personal information on your business page. Travis, in his blog posting, “ Balancing Personal and Business Facebook Use,” recommends you devote up to 20% of the content on your Facebook page to personal updates about you.

I had two takeaways from the presentation: (1) don’t ever stop learning about new ways to market, and (2) it’s time for me to get on the bus and set up a Facebook page for my business.

Please let me know how this helps you!

What Do You Do if People are Upset with You Online?

June 8, 2011

Filed under: Practice Management,Technology — @ 1:13 pm

In my last posting, I talked about dealing with upset clients. I suggested a note of apology and some token in support of it. But, what if that person goes online? What do you do?

CNN, in its blog post, “How to Respond to Online Haters”, has a couple of suggestions. First of all, to the extent you can, delete or block the offending posting. If you can’t do that, be careful about how you go on the offensive — remember, the Library of Congress will save what you say on Twitter! Sometimes, the best thing to do is ignore it; if you feel you must reply, be careful.

I think there’s a rule that applies to all e-communication: if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, don’t say it in an email, in your blog, on Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter, Avvo, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, or any other online communication.

Please let me know how this is helpful to you!

What Do You Do if You Have an Unhappy Client?

June 3, 2011

Filed under: Clients — @ 12:52 pm

Try as we might, sometimes we have unhappy clients.

Every business does. The Los Angeles Times has a weekly “Small Business Advice” column in its business section. In the May 30 edition, a reader asked about training employees to handle “flak” from unhappy customers. The advice was good: make sure the employees fully understand the customer’s complaint and acknowledge it. Bosses (and lawyers) should do the same thing.

I found that this was a good way to calm down someone who was upset. I also used a second technique: I would send some token of apology to the client. There’s a new currency in this world: Starbucks gift cards! So, if you have an unhappy client, for whatever reason, send a handwritten note of apology and include a gift card. The client will appreciate the recognition of his or her problem and remember you fondly while he or she sips his or her nonfat extra dry cappuccino. And, it will give you a better chance of maintaining the client relationship.

Please let me know if this tip is helpful to you!

Going on Lockdown

June 1, 2011

Filed under: Book Review,Focus/Time Management — @ 1:51 pm

I saw The Lincoln Lawyer when it was released this March. I enjoyed it (and not just for the Matthew McConaughey eye candy). In fact, I liked the movie enough to buy the book. And, I liked the book enough to go on to read Michael Connelly’s three other Mickey Haller courtroom thrillers.

I didn’t expect to find law practice management advice in the books, but I did. At Atticus, we teach time management and how, if lawyers better control their time, they can get more — and better quality — work done. We talk about having scheduled “Power Hours” during your workweek: time in which you have no interruptions and accomplish a lot.

Well, in The Brass Verdict, Mickey Haller does the same thing, except he calls it “going on lockdown:” “Lockdown was when I closed all the doors and windows, drew the curtains, and killed the phones and went to work on a file and a case with total concentration and absorption. Lockdown for me was the ultimate do not disturb sign hanging on the door.” And, lockdown pays off for Mickey: in The Brass Verdict, lockdown enables him to figure out his winning case strategy.

So, if it works for Mickey Haller, shouldn’t it work for you? Try your own lockdown plan. Schedule a couple hours sometime this week during which you do not take phone calls, you do not check your email, and you do not allow interruptions from your team. Work on the hard stuff. See what happens. You’ll probably find that regularly scheduled lockdowns help you effectively manage your time, your focus and your practice.

Please let me know how this strategy works for you!