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20_0413_COVID-19_26

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This video is brought to you by the California Lawyers Association, a non-profit organization of lawyers throughout California. The video is geared for small professional firms, solo practitioners, and their clients who have questions about how COVID-19 impacts their own business and what financial assistance is available, in this stressful and economically challenging time. Please note that the video is intended to provide general information only, and does not constitute legal advice. The information in this video is based on rules in place as of April 10, 2020. Especially for matters covered here, the rules and procedures change frequently. Be sure to keep yourself updated. I'm Ben Root. I'm a partner in the Nanolaw Group, a small law firm specializing in advising entrepreneurs and small business owners regarding financing, securing investment, early-stage business operation, mergers and acquisitions, and other monetizing events. Before coming to Nano, I spent about twenty-plus years practicing at a larger international firm here in southern California, and another five years as CEO of a technology start-up. Those experiences gave me an interest in how you build a firm moving forward, and it's that what I really want to focus on in this last of several videos related to the COVID-19 loan programs. That is, how you build success with the proceeds from those loan programs. As all of us know from lawyers the only worse thing than being too busy, are those times when you are not busy enough, as my managing partner reminded me consistently when I was at the big firm. It's that we want to be careful to avoid by using loan proceeds in an effective way to help rebuild the business. In doing that, you have to consider your 2020 expectations and how they've been set-back by COVID-19 shutdown. The obvious way is our revenues are off expectations. In many cases our clients may have adapted to the change in their own businesses to reduce needs for on-going services. Sometimes our lead generation processes themselves have been damaged. There are a number of different ways in which our businesses can be injured by this. The question then is: what new or changing practice area could you be servicing, to fill in for some of the holes that are created, when some of the opportunities that we're enjoyed in the past have dried up or changed? I suggest here you may want to look at new laws, or particularly new demographics, that affect your existing specialties and how that may impact new clients, opportunities that you focus on. Here we're talking about how you build back your business by using the loan proceeds, either from the PPP loans or from EIDL loans, as the funding mechanism with which to build the business. Remember that momentum is very hard to regain. We've been slowed down. It's worth taking time, taking a breath, and thinking carefully about what we want to do so that we don't simply repeat some of the things in the past that may or may not have been as effective as we would like. The other thing to remember here is that while we expect to return to normal, we don't know what that new normal is going to be. I can simply tell you that after more than a few years of doing this, that normal rarely means returning to the "status quo ante", so it's important for each of us as practitioners to build for a new vision of what we are doing. There are three elements to this. They're simple to state but hard to do. They're basically imagining a renewed business, what it would look like, how it might be different, then planning, verifying, and adjusting as you start to adapt to the demands of new business. Essentially re-launching your firm, post coronavirus it were new enterprise, in new areas, so that you could build to a new future. They are a number of planning processes and tools that may be effective in helping you do just that. The first thing you want to do is visioning the renewed business, post-crisis. Sometimes a glass of wine helps when doing this. There are some other tools online if you want to have internet help for how to re-imagine extend that vision. It's a worthwhile exercise at this point. Having done that you will be able to set business goals, both short term and medium-term goals, for a new relaunched business, again after the crisis has eased. Once you have those goals you can start fill in what steps are necessary for you to take to reach those goals. I suggest you use a Gantt chart with dependencies, in order to monitor your progress. There is an example of a Gantt chart on the screen, a fairly simple one. It simply lays out a series of things that are done in building a new division or a new part of a business. They show the order in which they are done, and usually, when they have dependencies, they show what matters need to be completed first so that you could stay on top of and manage the process. It's difficult work to manage that work to building or rebuilding your business after the crisis has eased. Finally, I suggest that you develop specific milestones and check-in periods, so that you can manage yourself. It's always easy for us as lawyers and professionals to get heavily involved in our client's work, and then forget we have to work on our business as well. So the development of milestones and check-ins will help you keep focused and make sure the appropriate amount of energy is spent on developing your business going forward, as well as that of your clients. The final thing will be for you to think about metrics that will measure short term and long term success. By defining the metrics at the beginning, you will be able to see how you're proceeding here. It is easier to make necessary adjustments and course corrections that are required in developing all businesses. Steps to looking at a renewed business will be to look at fairly traditional things taught in business school: total addressable market, serviceable addressable market, and the serviceable obtainable market, each a little smaller group. Once you know exactly what your services are that you're looking to either enhance, develop, start again, or whatever it is, you could start to look at the addressable market and bring it down to a focus of who can you service, and how can you obtain those clients. Once you can do that, you'll know how to focus your energy. I suggest that it is important too you to look at who are the decision-makers at this time. We get busy practicing over a period of years, our clients and practically for new clients, things are handed off to new decision-makers, and reaching those men and women will be critical for you developing your business. You need to make yourself available and you need to ask for the business. Most lawyers have no difficulty doing the second part of that, but we do have to make sure we take time out from doing the work to make yourself available to others. You might also look at engaging somebody who is fully familiar with 21st-century models and techniques for business development. This could be somebody right out of business school, or a communication department. To fill up the eight weeks, you've got to get new payroll out and make sure your full-time equivalents are fine for your PPP loan. It will bring some new ways to look at reaching to the markets so that you can make sure messages you develop are in fact reaching decision-makers you want to. Finally, in this section I would suggest you set up an accountability partner, somebody that you could work with, that you have to check-in with, and explain what you have done. It helps to have somebody that knows a little about your business, but that's not absolutely critical. What is critical is that you have someone that you have told about what you are going to do who will hold you accountable when deadlines slip and things don't get done. That is facilitated in part by having good budgeting for use of PPP loan funds and EIDL loan funds so that you know how you are going to spend those in terms of re-developing your business. With that information, both you and your accountability partner can keep you on track. There are several areas to review. These will be no surprise. You want to be updated your website's messaging and style. You want to position yourself as an expert in the field that you are looking to expand. You want to make yourself more visible perhaps by doing blog posts or working on LinkedIn. You want to make sure that your social media program is up to date, that you are not stuck on Facebook, while everybody else is off on a new platform. Particularly that you make time to work on your business in addition to working in your business. My suggestion to you is you should be spending about 15-20 percent of your time working on development of the business as opposed to simply working for clients. If you do that, you will be able to do the four items that I think are critical "to do's": Make a budget and be sure to stay on that budget. Establish your success metrics so that you can measure what you are doing. Implement new programs, but test everything. You should be using AB versions of client letters or meetings or other sorts of things. Which things work better? What words were most effective? Then measure and adjust, as you go forward. Rarely do people get it right the first time. Make sure that you trust in your judgment and follow, but verify what you are doing. If you do that there are a couple of takeaways that are important here. You will be able to deploy working capital in an effective way. When you deploy working capital well, it means less work for you and better results. The working capital is available from the Payroll Protection Program loans and the EIDL loans. It is about as inexpensive and effectively leveraged as it gets. So I suggest that you work with these loan funds. Maximize the loans that you can get and put them together effectively in your business. I think you'll find that you will be well-positioned to build back into a future that is bright and effective in developing your business. That's said, please remember that the information presented here is not legal advice. It is based on the rules in effect as of April 10, 2020. Especially for matters covered here, those rules and procedures change frequently. Be sure to keep yourself updated. Thank you for watching this video and thank you especially for doing your part to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Posted by: arellanob420 on Apr 18, 2020

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