Sat, 21 November 2015
We welcome Dana C Palmer, Esq. back on the Law Business Podcast.
To listen to our previous interview with him, please check out episode 012.
The reason we called Dana back the show is because recently he took six (yes, 6!) weeks off of work with emergency access only, and while he was away, his law firm continued to function normally.
We were curious about how he achieved this level of freedom, and what preparations were necessary for his law firm to function without him being in the office.
Dana was more than generous in sharing every detail about the process he went through to achieve his goals.
Taking six weeks off cannot be done without motivated team members. Dana talks about how he finds the right employees, and how he keeps them motivated.
As a real CEO, Dana works a lot on building his business, but spends progressively less time doing actual legal work. To buy his time back and to be able to focus on higher level issues, he kept hiring new team members to replace himself.
Listening to Dana’s experiences really clarifies what “working on your law firm” means in practice.
Direct download: LBP-E021-Dana_Palmer.mp3
-- posted at: 7:40pm EDT
Tue, 10 November 2015
Consumers now use an average of 10.4 resources before making a buying decision. Pre-shopping is occurring more and more frequently, and this is true in the legal industry. If you want to be found online, you need to be visible.
Inbound marketing is a methodology where you attract potential clients to your business with blogs, white papers and social media.
Once you convert visitors into leads, you begin to interact with them as they are making a decision about which law firm to hire. As you nurture your leads, you close the clients who are the best fit for your firm.
You continue to delight them with excellent content and service, all while establish an ongoing relationship that helps build your law firm’s brand. Essentially, the inbound methodology helps consumers go from search to buying, and then to promoters of your brand.
Liz also discusses three common marketing mistakes that attorneys make:
• They don’t consider their target market
• They are unwilling to test campaigns
• There is a disconnect between marketing and sales
Liz’s website: http://hershpr.com/
Liz’s inbound marketing blog: http://blog.hershpr.com/
Direct download: LBP-E020-Liz_Hirsh.mp3
-- posted at: 12:46pm EDT
Fri, 7 August 2015
This week we welcome Chris Hildebrand, Esq. of Hildebrand Law, PC and President of the Local Lawyer Guide and Tighe Wilhelmy, VP of Operations & Business Development of Local Lawyer Guide.
Chris’s law firm is a Scottsdale, Arizona divorce, family law and estate planning firm. He and the attorneys working for him created a client-focused practice built on cooperative and trusting relationships with their clients. They are recipients of numerous awards, recognitions and Five Star reviews.
If building a successful, fast growing, multi-location law firm wouldn’t be enough, Chris has built another business, Local Lawyer Guide that is a place to find local lawyers, law firms and legal information using the largest legal video search engine. This service is dedicated to aiding lawyers in connecting with the public in a new, open, personal and more effective manner than traditional channels of advertising.
While everybody agrees that in today’s world video is a must in all professional service firm marketing, and can have a huge impact in being found by ideal clients, most law firms still under-utilize or neglect it altogether.
Chris gave us an insight how video and search engine optimization was a game-changer in marketing his own law firm, while Tighe shared with us how Local Lawyer Guide works and helps small and large law firms across the nation connect with their ideal clients.
Learn more at www.LocalLawyerGuide.com and create a profile for your law firm today!
Contact Chris at Chris@locallawyerguide.com and Tighe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out www.HildebrandLaw.com to see how Chris distinguishes himself and his firm in the marketplace with high quality videos and the way he utilizes them in a professional, classy and attractive way!
Direct download: LBP-E019-Search_Watch_Hire.mp3
-- posted at: 5:33pm EDT
Fri, 24 July 2015
Today’s question is: Is tax planning more than knowing how much quarterly estimates I have to pay?
We received this question from a small law firm owner, who was a fellow attendee of a Rainmaker Retreat with Stephen Fairley and the Rainmaker Institute.
We talk a lot about proactive and strategic tax planning here at Better Numbers for Lawyers, so the short answer to this question is: ABSOLUTELY! Tax planning is much more than knowing how much quarterly estimates you have to pay.
And let me start the longer version of the answer with this: it’s absolutely not my new friend’s fault that he did not know that.
It wasn’t his fault that his tax accountant never let him know that they are only doing tax compliance for him, and not serving as his tax planners and tax coaches as well.
Because you know, you can always find good people who can put the right numbers in the right boxes on April 14th, but that does not necessarily means that they also tell you know about tax planning opportunities available to your unique situation.
So the first question is: When was the last time your tax accountant came to you and said: Here is an idea that I think will save you money?
If the answer is never, then unfortunately you outgrew your current tax accountant or CPA.
Did you now that by conservative estimates US taxpayers overpay their taxes by 160 billion per year? This is the largest expense of a business every year, yet so many of us don’t give it a second thought.
Please do yourself a favor and find yourself a tax coach who will analyze your unique personal and business tax picture, will ask you some questions and then present you with a written tax plan with recommendations of which tax strategies apply to you at this time. And let’s not leave out the 2 most important aspects of a tax plan: an estimate of how much you’ll save by putting in place these tax strategies, and an implementation plan, which if it’s done correctly it should absolutely not take up a lot of your own valuable time.
So when I say tax strategies, I mean 100% legitimate and IRS approved strategies. We‘re not talking about offshore investments or shady practices here. Fortunately there are plenty of IRS approved strategies that we can use and still sleep well at night. So make sure your tax coach or tax planner is certified and a recognized expert in this field. You, as a lawyer, provide your clients your best, so why not work with the best expert when it comes to your own family and business?
So what if somebody already has a CPA they like working with?
Sure. Some of the law firm owners we work with have their own tax accountant and they go back to them to have the strategic tax plan implemented. Some quickly realize the power of being proactive and the peace of mind that comes with working with a CPA who is interested in seeing you not just once a year at tax time, but keeping in touch with you every month of the year.
As you can imagine, this is a totally different kind of relationship. It’s a more intimate relationship when we technically prepare a projected tax return for our clients each quarter, so you we never get a surprise at taxtime.
Borbala, can you give us a real life example?
I can think of this great client we have, who we became good friends with. His practice grew from $50,000 profit in one year to literally a couple of dollars short of $200,000 the next year. He was in our bootcamp first and then we became his CPAs and CFO’s mid-year.
Of course we immediately did a tax projection for him and told him that the little over $100 quarterly estimate vouchers his former accountant gave him will by no means cover the taxes on the quadrupled profit. Also, as we still had time, we presented to him and ultimately implement some tax strategies that year that immediately saved him $5,700 at tax time. Which by the way more than paid for this bootcamp and tax plan.
Then the following year we implemented some more tax strategies that will save him more than $15,000 every single year. Just imagine your spouse’s or your kids’ face when you tell them that you can take an extra nice vacation every year instead of sending that money to the IRS. Or you can finally pay off your credit cards or run an extra marketing campaign that will bring you more business in the long run.
So we get a tax plan. How long is it good for?
Of course as good as a tax plan is, it has to be continually updated as your business grows and your family situation changes, and the tax laws can also change. There are different tax saving opportunities for different stages of every business and personal family situation. For example there is a widely used strategy we only recommend after you have about $50-60k profit per year. There is another strategy that comes handy if you have a lot of out of pocket medical expenses, like kids’ braces that can run up to $8-10 grand or even doctor prescribed weekly chiropractor or massage sessions or a private weight loss coach. And I’m not talking about a getting a simple HSA or FSA here.
So please do yourself, your family and your business a favor and find a proper tax coach or tax planner so you don’t pay more taxes than you have to. Over a couple of decades the difference could be great vacation memories with your family, or driving your dream car or a significantly bigger retirement nest egg.
If that sounds like something you want to explore, take us up on our offer to give you a free mini tax-plan and tell you how much of your tax bill every year could stay in your own pocket.
Please call 216-333-3413 or check us out at BetterNumbersForLawyers.com.
If you have a question for us, please email to Questions@LawBusinessPodcast.com
Thank you for listening, talk to you soon!
Direct download: LBP-E018-Tax_Strategies.mp3
-- posted at: 6:15pm EDT
Fri, 24 July 2015
Are tax problems holding you back?
Welcome to this episode of the Law Business Podcast. I’m your host Borbala Banto in the studio with Laz.
So Laz, what is today’s question?
Today’s question is: I started my law firm five years ago, but I haven’t filed any business tax returns. How do I resolve this issue so I can move forward?
Thank you for trusting us with this question. Trust me when I tell you that you are not alone in this Nobody wants to talk about these issues.
We are CPAs, we work with law firm owners from 17 states and accept clients from all 50. Based on our experience 5 to 10 percent of attorneys have the same problem as you do.
That is why we created this 100% confidentiality and judgement free zone. We are not here to judge you, but to take this weight off your shoulders.
Not filing your tax returns is more serious than not paying your taxes. If you owe the IRS and don’t work out a payment plan, they might levy your bank accounts, but if you don’t file the returns you could lose your bar license, driver’s license, or even go to jail.
It is not uncommon that we resolve our client’s IRS issues and take care of unfiled tax returns in 6 to 8 weeks.
After the past is not holding you back from growing your business, now it is the time to plan ahead. Bookkeeping, internal control, tax planning. We will talk about these in upcoming episodes.
If you are a lawyer and you do not have an accountant, or if you outgrew your current accountant, let us show you the concierge way: learn more about our services at BetterNumbersForLawyers.com
If you have a question for us, send us an email Questions@LawBusinessPodcast.com
Direct download: LBP-E017-Tax_Problems.mp3
-- posted at: 3:04pm EDT
Mon, 29 June 2015
In the past only larger firms could afford to open multiple offices. Why more and more small law firms take the risk and open a second office?
The main reason behind opening a second office is to increase the market size.
The cost of opening a second office is much lower than it used to be for two main reasons: Technology and dynamic office arrangements.
Technology allows for easy document sharing, a long term office lease is no longer neccessary because of on-demand office spaces.
Direct download: LBP-E016-Multiple_Locations.mp3
-- posted at: 10:22am EDT
Tue, 23 June 2015
When you support your community, in return your community will support your business.
Jorge Luis Pla is one of the two founding partners of RaslanPla & Company, LLC in Cleveland, OH. His firm has earned the reputation of being skilled negotiators and tenacious advocates of their clients’ rights.
Jorge believes in the importance of education, hard work, valuing family and the community. He regularly gives back by offering pro bono work and by participating in various functions in the community.
Business Advice: Working on the development of the business is just as important as delivering quality legal work.
Direct download: LBP-E015-Jorge_Pla.mp3
-- posted at: 1:27pm EDT
Tue, 9 June 2015
What does a law firm and a rock band have in common?
This might sound like the beginning of a nerdy joke, but this time it is the beginning of a success story.
Besides running a successful law firm, John is the lead singer and bass player of a blues rock band called BayStreet.
A few years ago John decided to let his personality come through his business and renamed it to Rock Solid Business Law, PLLC.
Giving personality to a business might seem like a risky move, but John can attest to the benefits of his decision. He attracts clients who he enjoys working with and who also like him in return. Building long term relationships this way is much easier.
John is passionate about helping people, so he decided to take a holistic approach and to offer estate planning services in addition to real estate and business law.
In addition to being passionate about helping people, John is also a savvy business owner. He is a firm believer in paying attention to the numbers and understanding where the dollars come from and how they are spent.
John’s business advice:
•Market and advertise your services to keep new clients coming through the door.
•Get a good handle on what your money situation is and regularly review your numbers.
Direct download: LBP-E014-John_Miller.mp3
-- posted at: 6:01pm EDT
Mon, 18 May 2015
Tony Robbins once said that “It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.”
James Whalen is a federal criminal defense attorney who truly believes in the power of consistency in managing and building his boutique law firm. Creating productive policies and consistently applying them played a major role in transforming his law practice into a law business.
What sets the Whalen Law Firm apart from the competition? James is truly passionate about helping his clients. He strives to deliver value to his clients in all phases of the engagement. This is why the firm’s tagline is “Personal attention, aggressive defense.”
The first mindset shift that James went through was to view his practice as a business. This is not an easy change, but necessary to develop a long term vision and strategy for the firm.
To take control of the direction of his firm, James started with the financial aspect and implemented a detailed budget. Measuring and comparing his actual achievements to his set goals gave James a chance to spot problems quicker and correct them faster.
The only person you need to compete with is yourself. But how can you do that if you don’t even measure your progress? Getting more comfortable analyzing financial information gave James an edge to make better and profitable decisions.
Having a fulfilling personal life is often sacrificed among small business owners. James is able to maintain his work-life balance by consistently managing his calendar and setting limits to himself.
A piece of business advice from James: “There is plenty of work out there, don’t give in to the scarcity mentality. Do what you love to do, and do it well consistently.”
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D Wattles
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Direct download: LBP-E013-James_Whalen.mp3
-- posted at: 11:36am EDT
Fri, 24 April 2015
Dana C Palmer is the founder and CEO of Dana Palmer Law Group P.L.L.C.. He and his firm focus exclusively on helping people get a Soft Divorce® – because divorce doesn’t have to be so hard®.
Dana has built his business on the foundation of focusing on problem resolution and customer satisfaction. His firm does not have billing requirements, but customer satisfaction requirements.
But how can a law firm be profitable if its main focus is on satisfaction? Spoiler alert: Happy and satisfied clients are more than willing to trade their problems for money!
Dana went to law school not with the intent of becoming an attorney, but as the completion of his business training. He wanted to know what the lawyers knew so he can be more successful as a business person.
Being part of business coaching programs and constantly reading business and mindset books no doubt contributed to Dana’s success. His firm already passed the $1,000,000 gross revenue/year milestone with even higher goals in sight.
“Shifting your mindset” is an overused term in the business community, but to build a successful business you really have to act as the CEO of your firm and not just as a practicing attorney.
In practical terms, a CEO makes decisions about the systems and procedures which are the foundation of a business, and to be able to act as a CEO you really need to have a different mindset.
When it comes to marketing, many attorneys will tell you that a law firm is usually built on referrals. But this doesn’t mean that you can sit back and just wait for clients to show up at your doorstep. Dana believes that you can teach and incentivize your clients to refer you more work. Some call this “tuning on the referral machine”. You are not necessarily left at the mercy of clients to send you work, but you can actively improve your referral rate through incentives, and often just by asking.
In addition to encouraging referrals, Dana actively spreads his idea of Soft Divorce® through radio shows and TV appearances.
Even though Dana does not impose billing requirements on his associates, running a successful firm does require closely managing the financial aspect of the business. Dana looks at cash flow reports almost daily, reviews net income and profitability indicators frequently and compares them to his set goals, just as a CEO of a large corporation would.
• Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In – by Roger Fisher, William L Ury and Bruce Patton
• Think and Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill
• With Winning in Mind – by Lanny Bassham
Direct download: LBP-E012-Dana_Palmer.mp3
-- posted at: 3:42pm EDT
Mon, 9 February 2015
Cristin is a family law attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. She built a successful law business around her core philosophy of helping people. The help she is passionate about providing is not limited to only giving the best possible representation in court, but also helping clients become fulfilled and successful in their new lives after divorce.
Coming from a family of doctors, Cristin grew up with a desire to help people. She chose family law as her way of expressing herself and giving back. The main reason she was able to build such a successful business is that she feels satisfied and fulfilled by it.
Having a motivated team is another key ingredient in building a successful business. Although Cristin’s employees have diverse personalities, they all share the same value system and are passionate about helping people. Getting her team focused is much easier because they share the same goals.
Being a great lawyers doesn’t automatically make one a successful business owner. Cristin wasn’t afraid to ask for help, and started working with a business coach shortly after going solo. Having someone giving feedback and holding her accountable kept her grounded and focused.
Maintaining the focus on the business is a constant balancing act to Cristin. Even though running a law firm might not come naturally to her, she certainly does a great job at it. She sets the bar high for herself and constantly measures and reevaluates how she and the business perform.
Playing hard is just as important to Cristin as working hard. She regularly works out, does martial arts and yoga. All these activities help her live in the present and stay focused.
Business tip: Accept that you cannot do it all by yourself. Ask for help and constantly improve yourself.
Cristin’s website: http://CristinLoweLaw.com
Direct download: LBP-E011-Cristin_Lowe.mp3
-- posted at: 11:34am EDT
Thu, 29 January 2015
Tim is a white collar criminal defense attorney in New Jersey. He is the guy you call when the IRS or FBI comes knocking on your door at 6 in the morning, because he can make them go away…
After moving from Minnesota to New Jersey about 5 years ago, Tim practically rebuilt his business from the ground up. In this interview he shares the story of transforming his law practice into a law business.
When it comes to choosing clients, Tim is an advocate of a focused niche. Even though many small and solo practitioners are afraid to choose a focused target market, Tim argues that doing so will pay off in dividends in the long run. A niche is not only a marketing technique, but also helps to build efficiency in the business and converts otherwise competing lawyers into referral partners.
Building a business can hardly be done in a vacuum, this is why Tim has reached out to law business coaches and joined networking groups of likeminded solo law business owners. In this interview he talks about the benefits he received from being in such networking groups.
Getting clarity about financial management has also played a big role in building his business. Creating a budget and tracking financial metrics helped Tim shift his focus from the day-to-day tasks towards longer term goals.
Having an active lifestyle and family time are also important to Tim. He does not claim to have “the secret” to work-life balance, but he certainly puts life ahead of work. He believes it is not only good health wise, but mentally as well.
Business tip: Do not be afraid to narrow your niche, in the long run it will pay off in dividends. Any given area of legal practice is right for finding some kind of niche.
Recommended tools: Clio and QuickBooks Online.
Direct download: LBP-E010-Tim_Anderson.mp3
-- posted at: 7:27pm EDT
Tue, 20 January 2015
In the previous episode of the Law Business Podcast, Abid shard with us why he decided to leave his marketing and web development positions at technology companies, and start his own law business.
In this episode, we continue to talk about managing many aspects of running a law business, including leveraging technology to keep overhead low, finances and budgeting.
Abid is very intentional about creating value. Everything he does and spends money on has to add value to his clients. By focusing on client satisfaction and implementing a real time billing system, he is able to collect close to 100% of his bills.
During the conversation we found out that Abid is also a music producer. Towards the end of the episode you can listen to one of his tunes. You can find his music on http://nebuale.com
Abid is a frequent speaker, including continuing legal education (CLE) for bar associations and a guest lecturer for classes. If you want to contact him about technology consulting for your law firm, please contact him thorough his website http://hussainlaw.com
Direct download: LBP-E009-Abid_Hussain_Part2.mp3
-- posted at: 11:43am EDT
Tue, 20 January 2015
Before practicing as an attorney, Abid held marketing and web development positions at technology and software companies, including small startups and giants such as Texas Instruments.
Even though the culture in high-tech companies is motivating and energizing, the big corporate structure also comes with many dysfunctions. Abid didn’t want to be so far removed from his customers, so he made the decision to start his own business and be in direct contact with clients.
He decided to go solo about four years ago with the intention of building a business. Leveraging the latest technology tools he was able to be cash flow positive in the very first month of starting the business.
Having a high-tech and marketing background, Abid didn’t only build a cloud based practice for himself, but also provides technology consulting to law firms and attorneys. For tech consulting you can contact him through his website: http://hussainlaw.com
Direct download: LBP-E008-Abid_Hussain_Part1.mp3
-- posted at: 11:34am EDT