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Give Your Entrepreneurial Clients The Edge They Need

I describe my practice by telling people that I provide “business and legal solutions to individuals in the creative community.” Indeed, my clients are primarily independent record labels, small print publications, music managers, artists, bloggers, and other small businesses. In other words, like myself, most of my clients are entrepreneurs. Partly because I see my own hard work and struggles mirrored in their businesses, I want to help my clients reach their goals. In the time since I’ve left Big Law to follow the independent route, I’ve discovered a few ideas that have helped me relate to and better understand my clients. In honor of International Entrepreneur Week, here a few tips for offering your entrepreneurial clients the service they need to help them succeed.

Share Your Client’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you’re a small firm or solo practitioner representing entrepreneurs, you probably have more in common with your client than you know. For your own business, you’re probably concerned about expenses, cash flow, and maintaining a steady book of business. If you’re savvy, you are probably eager to utilize new technology to run your business more efficiently if it means saving your time and/or money. And you’re certainly interested in taking the rights steps to insure that your business achieves healthy growth. Your clients share those same interests for their own businesses.

I’d suggest that, in order to provide cutting-edge service to your clients, you spend time really thinking about each individual client and consider how the services you’re providing them relates to their business needs. Understand that the same values that led you to solo practice may have led them to launch their own business. Like you, they probably work long hours and think about their business even when their “off the clock.” Use that insight to anticipate their needs and concerns proactively. At the very least, let them know that you understand the issues they face.

Offer Creative Solutions To Their Problems

Successful entrepreneurs know there is more than one way to solve a problem. Unfortunately, this is an insight that far too many attorneys lack. Indeed, many aspects of legal drafting and the practice of law are very rigid and don’t encourage creativity. Nonetheless, for successful entrepreneurs, creativity is an essential tool in the tool kit. This is as true for your practice as it is for your client’s livelihoods. If you’re able to offer creative, cost-efficient, and/or time-saving solutions to your client’s legal and business problems they’ll appreciate it.

Be Flexible

Individuals running a small business recognize the necessity of being flexible. At a start up, for example, employees have to be flexible about the duties they handle. For many small businesses, job titles are often little more than a formality with only a slight connection to the work an individual actually performs in their day-to-day job. To a lesser degree, the same may be true of your role for your client. Be ready to offer business advice in addition to traditional legal advice (where you’re qualified to do so).

Similarly, you should develop the skills you need to help your clients with any legal needs they may have. For example, my primary focus is entertainment law, but I’ve been honing my skills in all areas that might affect my client’s business. Not only will it lead to happy clients, but it’ll also help you keep your clients.

What other tips can you provide for attorneys representing entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments.

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