Leticia Mooney is the CEO of Brutal Pixie. Leticia is a serial entrepreneur, author, and passionate audience advocate, with 15+ years experience in publishing on and offline. She’d be happy on a desert island with nothing but yoghurt to eat, Manowar to listen to, and Clive James to read. Leticia’s leadership skills, problem‐solving ability, and matrix‐thinking make her a clear, articulate, and forthright strategist.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Leticia recently to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.
You can find the full Q&A below.
What do you see as some of the major challenges for small law firms and sole practitioners?
We see law firms largely in a corporate strategy and marketing capacity more than in any others. In this regard, the two major challenges for small law firms and sole practitioners (that we see) is trying to do everything that they feel they need to be doing for marketing, without understanding the strategic underpinnings. The second one is absence of corporate strategy, and a lack of understanding of business model development and iteration.
In your business, do you regularly see what you would describe as ‘fatal flaws’ for small law firms? What are they?
The first is thinking that "strategy" is something that you do when you already have a large business.
The second is scattering ideas to the wind, and bringing on multiple vendors for marketing - and then not knowing who has access to what information, or which platform, or what they're doing for you. That's a really serious flaw for two reasons: (1) it can (and does) result in extremely poor information security - which is something I can talk about with a case study; and (2) you'll bleed cash if you aren't savvy about what is going where and why.
What are 3 tips you would suggest to a sole practitioner wanting to grow their business?
Great question. The first is spend time understanding precisely who it is that you desperately want to work with. Who is it? How old are they? Where do they hang out (in real life)? How would you find them to ask them questions?
The second is understand where you're going and why? The simplest way to do this is to create a Hedgehog Concept (read Jim Collins's book Good to great) and define the one thing about which you're deeply passionate; the one thing that drives your profit-engine over the long-term; and the one thing that you are best in the world at.
The third is then to get the key metrics in place that will help you measure whether or not you're successful. If you're doing something for the first time, experimental metrics will serve you where regular metrics won't.
(A sneaky fourth is to read absolutely everything by Strategyzer, including this testing methodology.)
Your presentation will touch on improving communication with clients. Can you briefly discuss some key recommendations for lawyers?
I guess the key point is that to improve anything, you need to understand where you are. If you don't measure the effectiveness of your communications, you can't improve anything! So, getting serious about data is a big deal and that's something I'll talk about.
The second key point is that writing like a legal textbook alienates people. Depending on your market, you might need to go as far as Simple English in your documents, as opposed to Plain English. Because of confirmation bias, we assume that everyone understands things the same way. But what's simple to you is likely still complex to others.
Are there any specific issues that SA lawyers should keep on their radar in 2018?
Lawyers in SA are starting to unfreeze as the market improves here. However, I suggest that it will be short-lived. So, while things are good, and you have a bit more space, get serious about your corporate strategy and what marketing fits into it. Get tracking, start running focused experiments. And, importantly, embed the systems that make them run without effort. If you can do that when things are good, they'll stand the test of time when the market turns again.
You can hear more from Leticia at the Small Firm Practice Day: Secrets to Success seminar, being held on Tuesday 06 March at the Stamford Plaza Adelaide Hotel, Adelaide.