Cheryl Leitschuh wrote an article with 5 things to help you beat your bigger competitors. The focus of her piece is that you can get work when you are competing against bigger firms. She believes you should focus. (As an aside, she introduces the piece with things that you hear: that solos cannot be as strong or successful as big firms or that solos cannot compete with big firms. While she does say this is nonsense, just repeating these things in a journal like the ABA’s journal, perpetuates these negative stereotypes of small firms and solos.)
Her 5 steps are:
Create a strategic plan Clarity over the skills and talents you bring to clients Focus on a niche Knowing when to say yes and when to say no Execute to create partnerships and values with your clients
I am not a big believer in strategic plans. I just don’t think they work. I think strategic plans are fine for Fortune 500 companies, but as a solo one of your biggest strengths is your ability to be flexible. I think a strategic plan takes away some of your flexibility. But, I do think its important to know when to say NO. There are times when a client may want you to do something that you just cant do. For example, I had a client who wanted me to help him franchise his business. After looking into it, it was obvious that this was beyond what I could do, since it would require a working knowledge of all 50 states laws. It’s a good example of when to say no.
You can compete with bigger firms for clients. Figure out what you do best and market that to the firms. These five steps are a good way to evaluate your ability to get bigger clients.