“Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I raise my arm like this.” “Well don’t raise your arm like that then.”
Have you heard this one?
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the outcome to change.”
By that definition, I’ve met a number of insane law firm owners; we probably have a few who are members of PILMMA. Being a PILMMA member doesn’t preclude you from getting Law-Firm-Owner-Insanity.
Just because you have access to knowledge, such as successful marketing or management strategies that work for other law firms, doesn’t mean you will choose to implement them.
You might also call it “Small Business Syndrome”. One business consultant I know tells me how frustrating it can be sometimes, working with small businesses:
“They’ve been doing the same thing for so long, they don’t want to change what they do. The business owner says they want more clients, but won’t do a single thing to actually make it happen. A lot of small businesses get stuck as small businesses because they won’t change anything to grow into a larger business.”
It seems crazy to me. As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, legal marketing has never evolved as rapidly as it is right now, thanks to the Internet and Social Media. We’ve had to change what we do to keep up with our surroundings. So how can a business owner expect to survive today without a website? But there are still website-less businesses out there, run by owners in one of three groups:
- The business owner is ready to retire
- Their business has always thrived without a website, for example by word-of-mouth
- The business owner is insane
There are all sorts of small businesses out there, such as HVAC engineers, plumbers, laundromats and so on, that have been in operation forever and aren’t ready to close up shop. They are owned by people who have been doing the same thing for years; they don’t see why they should get online now. The thought of advertising offends and horrifies them. You may even know one of these people.
If business is really doing OK for them and growth is not one of their priorities, then they’re not really insane. They’re probably heading towards retirement.
But if they want their businesses to grow – and they don’t have a website in 2015 – then they are insane.
Google Algorithm Change Prioritizes Responsive Design
The latest changes to Google’s algorithm will leave insane business owners further behind still.
From April 21st, if your website doesn’t have a responsive design, Google has stated that your site will be penalized in search results. In simple, plain English, if your site isn’t responsive, it won’t appear (or will be severely downgraded) in Google’s search results. If your website doesn’t have responsive design, expect a big drop in traffic – and new cases.
I am not an insane business owner. The website for my law firm has responsive design and so does this blog. The PILMMA.org website was built before responsive design was commonplace and its overdue refresh will hit the web before Google’s deadline. By the time Google’s new algorithm is in effect, this blog will be migrated and combined with the newly refreshed PILMMA.org.
We’ll also have a revamped Members-Only section and an easier way for members and non-members to access resources like webinar recordings.
I’m keeping up with the times. I’m changing before I get penalized.
But there will be other law firm owners, like Alison, who stick with their old website after the change, despite the drop in traffic. They’ll keep doing the same thing, hoping and praying for success, despite a track record that promises anything but success.
Not Just About Responsive Design
However, this isn’t just about making your law firm’s website responsive and keeping up with changes online, it’s about the way you run your law practice.
At PILMMA Mastermind meetings, members open up to their peers about the challenges they face in their practices. Fellow group members will offer advice and suggestions on how to overcome these challenges. Occasionally though, the member will change nothing, get exactly the same result and then report their continued frustrations at the next meeting.
They may be repeating old habits with an issue of staff management or it might concern the performance of their television advertisements. They’ve done it that way for so long they find it difficult to change. In the Mastermind group, we’ll try to show them how just how much their insanity is costing them. And because they’re Mastermind members, they are open to change; it’s just that occasionally even the most forward-thinking lawyer can be a little stubborn.
A law practice owner who wants their firm to grow has to be prepared to change.
Your intake script isn’t converting leads effectively? Change it.
Your Social Media gets no interaction and doesn’t drive traffic to your website? Change it.
Your website isn’t responsive and you’re going to lose a load of traffic? Change it.
To keep doing the same thing, over and over again, knowing full well that it won’t give you the desired results, is the definition of insanity. Occasionally you have to take a risk.
Are you an insane law firm owner?
If your marketing hasn’t changed in years and you’ve seen a steady decline in new cases opened, it isn’t a problem if you’re ready to retire.
If you’re reluctant to change anything then you’re stubborn and hopefully you’ll see sense.
But if you refuse to change then you should go and see your doctor. You may be an insane law firm owner.