Aila Its Your Business Tips June 2007


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Greg Siskind, Reid Trautz and Stu Reich's program from the 2007 AILA annual conference.

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Aila Its Your Business Tips June 2007

  1. 1. AILA Annual Conference - Orlando June 16,2007 It’s Your Business: Managing Success in a Changing World Presenters: Stuart Reich ▪ Greg Siskind ▪ Reid Trautz
  2. 2. <ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul>It’s Your Business <ul><li>Human Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Management </li></ul><ul><li>Security/Continuity </li></ul>
  3. 3. Understand Your Role <ul><li>Getting Clients </li></ul><ul><li>Doing the Work </li></ul><ul><li>Billing/Office Admin </li></ul><ul><li>Life Outside the Office </li></ul>R
  4. 4. What Kind of Leader Are You? <ul><li>All firms need leadership, but not all “leaders” are leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Assess firm leadership qualities, then work towards improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Self-assessment is always a good place to start </li></ul>R
  5. 5. Embrace Experts <ul><li>Honestly evaluate your firm strengths and weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>What do you do best? </li></ul><ul><li>Hire those who can help bolster your weaknesses; don’t hire another you. </li></ul>S
  6. 6. Files That Talk <ul><li>What do your files say about you? </li></ul><ul><li>Standard: “My clients can come in at anytime and look through their files without their condition or contents embarrassing me.” </li></ul>R
  7. 7. Have a Document Retention Policy V
  8. 8. Document Retention Policy <ul><li>Ethics opinions and good business practices are driving this evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Develop and follow a plan, including agreement with clients how to handle their files </li></ul><ul><li>Read the Lawyer's Guide to Records Management & Retention </li></ul>G
  9. 9. Have a Disaster Plan New Orleans Courthouse after Katrina
  10. 10. Have a Disaster Plan <ul><li>Make a plan (see </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul><ul><li>How will you get operational again? </li></ul><ul><li>What if banks are closed? No power? No water? Partners on vacation? Martial law? </li></ul><ul><li>Communications is usually the #1 problem </li></ul><ul><li>Review annually </li></ul>G
  11. 11. Always be Planning Your Next Vacation R
  12. 12. Always be Planning Your Next Vacation <ul><li>Plan your vacation and enjoy the benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Limit your connection to the office </li></ul><ul><li>Set client expectations, put an “away” message on your e-mail and pull the plug </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t overbook yourself on vacation either – leave the Type A persona at home! </li></ul>R
  13. 13. E-books for Ready Reading <ul><li>Store and hold on PDA </li></ul><ul><li>Reference materials </li></ul><ul><li>Information resources </li></ul><ul><li>Leisure reading </li></ul><ul><li>Codes & statutes </li></ul>G
  14. 14. Answers @ BuyerZone <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Objective information and reviews for products and services for small businesses, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Furniture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>401K </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Payroll Services </li></ul></ul>S
  15. 15. Capture Contacts Quicker <ul><li>Capture contact information from all e-mails and documents in MS Outlook </li></ul><ul><li>Anagram from </li></ul><ul><li>Free trial; $40 to buy </li></ul>R
  16. 16. Have a Professional Website that Reflects Your Firm! (Not this one!) G R
  17. 17. Optimize Your Website <ul><li>Build for Google </li></ul><ul><li>Domain name afforded the most weight </li></ul><ul><li>Then page title, sub-headings, then home page content </li></ul><ul><li>Change itself will rank you higher </li></ul><ul><li>Sites that honestly link to your site. Avoid link farms! </li></ul>G
  18. 18. Optimize Your Website <ul><li>How do you make yourself stand out? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you really get a #1 ranking? </li></ul><ul><li>Beware snake oil sales pitches </li></ul><ul><li>Algorithms change frequently </li></ul><ul><li>Build a content rich, honest site and it will pay off </li></ul>
  19. 19. Scan Your Mail <ul><li>All incoming mail can be captured for ease of management </li></ul><ul><li>Scanned & stored as image files </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute easily to files, recipients, clients </li></ul><ul><li>Retrieve easily remotely </li></ul><ul><li>Hard copies stored in file room only </li></ul><ul><li>Seldom borrowed, less likely to be missing </li></ul>S
  20. 20. Where’s that Document? <ul><li>Never lose another file on your computer with desktop search software </li></ul><ul><li>Google Desktop allows business use </li></ul><ul><li>As does X-1, which experts </li></ul><ul><li>Copernic & Yahoo too! </li></ul>G
  21. 21. Talk to Your Computer <ul><li>Speech to Text is finally here! </li></ul><ul><li>Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to get started </li></ul><ul><li>Greater accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Needs 1 to 2 G RAM </li></ul>
  22. 22. Headsets for the Office Phone <ul><li>Hands free talking in your office </li></ul><ul><li>Wired or Bluetooth enabled headsets </li></ul><ul><li>Save your neck and shoulders </li></ul>R
  23. 23. Email Etiquette <ul><li>Descriptive subject line is a must </li></ul><ul><li>Use personal salutation </li></ul><ul><li>It all counts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spelling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capital Letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NO ALL CAPS (unless you are YELLING) </li></ul></ul>S
  24. 24. Use Your Phone Or PDA as a Travel Alarm <ul><li>A portable alarm clock </li></ul><ul><li>More reliable than the one generally found in a hotel room </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust the time to your local time zone </li></ul><ul><li>Set alarm in advance of your trip for the requisite time prior to your first appointment </li></ul>G
  25. 25. Tablet Computers <ul><li>An electronic note pad </li></ul><ul><li>Touchscreen ease of navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Capture and store images as easily as printing </li></ul><ul><li>Less imposing in meetings </li></ul>R                                                            
  26. 26. Taking Notes on a Tablet <ul><li>Pen-based input </li></ul><ul><li>Character recognition </li></ul><ul><li>Image capture </li></ul><ul><li>More quiet than keyboarding </li></ul><ul><li>Less intrusive interface </li></ul>R
  27. 27. Dictate to Your iPod <ul><li>Use your MP3 player as a dictation machine </li></ul><ul><li>Any player that can record and send files to your computer is a dictation device </li></ul><ul><li>iTalk for the iPod </li></ul><ul><li>Palm Treo and other PDAs come with MP3 and built in microphones </li></ul>R
  28. 28. Protect Your Laptops! <ul><li>#1 target of theft at airports </li></ul><ul><li>IRS has lost 500 in 4 years </li></ul><ul><li>There should be a password required to get on the laptop! </li></ul>R
  29. 29. Beware of Auto-Complete! <ul><li>Did you mean to send to your client Joseph Brown and sent to Joseph White instead? </li></ul><ul><li>Is Joseph White opposing counsel? </li></ul><ul><li>Uh-oh. </li></ul>G
  30. 30. Maximize Reception Value <ul><li>Your receptionist is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manager of First and Lasting Impressions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Director Of Client Experience </li></ul></ul>R
  31. 31. Lawyer as Employer <ul><li>Best source for compliance: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Workplace posters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Salary and benefit guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to state labor offices </li></ul></ul>G
  32. 32. <ul><li>On-line Performance Assessment Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selling Skills </li></ul></ul>Skills Assessments R
  33. 33. Invest in Training: Train, Train, Train <ul><li>Did I mention training? </li></ul><ul><li>To ensure security with respect to confidential document </li></ul><ul><li>To ensure optimal use of software/hardware </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish </li></ul>G
  34. 34. <ul><li>Resources to help you manage your most valuable asset—human capital! </li></ul><ul><li>Covers leave & benefits, job descriptions, outsourcing, and more </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>HR Help on the Web R
  35. 35. <ul><li>Zadro Personal Electronics Disinfection System </li></ul><ul><li>Zaps 99.9% of germs in 10 seconds </li></ul><ul><li>About $80 </li></ul>Keep Your Staff Healthy R
  36. 36. Resist Management by Email <ul><li>Talk to people </li></ul><ul><li>“Management by Walking Around” </li></ul><ul><li>Tone of emails is often misinterpreted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>80% interpret correctly when speaking face to face </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50% interpret correctly over email </li></ul></ul>R
  37. 37. <ul><li>Create email policies for clients and staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid misunderstandings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay safe </li></ul></ul>Use Written Email Policies to Prevent Problems G
  38. 38. Survey Software <ul><li>Everyone loves a survey! </li></ul><ul><li>Use them for… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Client service survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Query regarding changes in practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Great tool for collecting, organizing and ranking information </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>G
  39. 39. Strategic Planning <ul><li>Defining your preferred future? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who am I? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do we want to be? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will we get there? And with whom? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will we know when we get there? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dynamic analysis and dedication to implementation are the keys to success! </li></ul>R
  40. 40. Preparing for Death or Disability <ul><li>What happens if you can’t come to work tomorrow for two months? Forever? </li></ul><ul><li>Create a “When I Die” letter for home and office </li></ul><ul><li>Document your wishes, passwords, insurance, oral understandings with staff, disposition of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Update annually </li></ul>R
  41. 41. Invest in Resources for Death or Disability <ul><li>Insurance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key man </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business continuation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Life policy to buy out estate </li></ul></ul>S
  42. 42. Getting Paid <ul><li>Discuss fees early and often </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t sugarcoat the potential fees </li></ul><ul><li>Use fee agreements </li></ul>S
  43. 43. Stage Your Fee Agreement <ul><li>Provide a timeline of events for each new client </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss and document arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Include timeline for payment of government processing fees too. </li></ul>S
  44. 44. Neither a Borrower Nor Lender Be <ul><li>Evaluate the creditworthiness of each new client </li></ul><ul><li>Before extending credit, find the facts </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the client, ask prior lawyers, or run a credit check </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, we are lawyers, not bankers </li></ul>R
  45. 45. Make a Statement About Your Services <ul><li>Statements should display the value rather than merely the cost of your services </li></ul><ul><li>Clear statements minimize questions </li></ul><ul><li>Test the clarity of your billing </li></ul><ul><li>No surprises </li></ul>R
  46. 46. Get Credit for Market Value <ul><li>Are you providing clients a volume discount? </li></ul><ul><li>Show both the regular and discounted fees on your fee agreement and bills </li></ul><ul><li>Without this, clients can quickly start to undervalue our work. </li></ul>R
  47. 47. Buyer’s Remorse <ul><li>Not just limited to cars and electronics </li></ul><ul><li>Overcome second thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate special attention is the key </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an unexpected “gift” </li></ul>R
  48. 48. Stand Out From the Crowd! S
  49. 49. Get Your Own Domain Name <ul><li>[email_address] is not professional! </li></ul><ul><li>Your own domain name is portable </li></ul><ul><li>It brands you and connotes stability </li></ul><ul><li>Get more than one URL and point all to your website </li></ul>S
  50. 50. Outside-the-Box Business Cards <ul><li>Make your card more memorable: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Texture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Color </li></ul></ul>R
  51. 51. Brand Yourself With Your Signature <ul><li>E-mail signature blocks are mini-ads </li></ul><ul><li>All of your contact info is there </li></ul><ul><li>You appear professional </li></ul><ul><li>You will generate more phone calls and e-mails simply by putting this info in front of a client/prospective client </li></ul>S
  52. 52. Establish a Thank You File <ul><li>Measure your impact </li></ul><ul><li>Keep letters from clients, charities, and community organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Add these comments to your web site </li></ul>R
  53. 53. Issue Your Own Postage Stamp <ul><li>Create personalized stamps </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting marketing tool </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>R
  54. 54. Market to Existing Clients <ul><li>Remind them of your value and availability </li></ul><ul><li>Hold meetings to learn about your clients’ businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Informational Meeting With All Key Advisors </li></ul>S
  55. 55. Network! <ul><li>Build a network with local non-immigration attorneys, local business decision-makers, and community leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just join groups, participate! </li></ul>R
  56. 56. Improve Internet Searches <ul><li>Google is only the beginning—try too! </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget Google News Alerts </li></ul><ul><li>What do you need to find today? </li></ul><ul><li>Check out The Lawyer’s Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet </li></ul>G
  57. 57. FOR MORE INFORMATION <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  58. 58. FOR MORE INFORMATION <ul><li>AILA Practice & </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalism Center </li></ul><ul><li>Management ▪ YLD ▪ Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring ▪ Pro Bono </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>