• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Good people make good business

Good people make good business

By The Law Society Gazette

The concepts of ‘people’ and ‘business’ are not mutually exclusive. Business is people. People work in business and people are clients of business. But simplistically, business is about money. Focusing business on people from the get-go will boost the business.

Starting any business is a daunting task. In law, it can be daunting and quite lonely Unfortunately, there’s little mentorship support for solicitors in the legal profession who branch out on their own.

But in truth, people really want to help. This sort of stubbornness can be a stumbling block for those going on their own – it was certainly one of the biggest challenges I faced, initially.

People priority

While starting and growing a business is made up of many big and small facets, the foundation of it all is your people. The legal profession is in essence, a service industry. We’re dealing day to day with people and their sensitive and often complex issues.

Perhaps the best advice I ever got was from a mentor who told me to surround myself with positive and supportive people. It sounds cheesy, but think about it: You spend much of your life at work with peers and colleagues. And in business, time is precious.

It’s really important to create an environment of supportive people who will seek to help you rise and engender a positive energy of growth. Growth for the business, but also personal growth. Positive energy is an incredibly powerful force and one that’s contagious.

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The business aspects benefit from a supportive team, but this is an industry that provides a service that’s very much about people. We often delve into delicate human issues and an element of care and empathy goes a long way to build a good, trusting client base.

As part of this, it’s important to treat each case that comes in as our own personal case. We’ve seen how this has positively affected our reputation as we continue to grow and attract clients from bigger and older firms, as well as gaining industry recognition.

Strategic striving

In any business, it’s essential to develop a clear strategy and set of values, with a well-articulated outline of the current environment as well as the future direction.

Not only does this need to be communicated to staff, but all employees should be engaged to contribute. The brand should encapsulate the ethos, and the business should live and breathe those principles.

A strategy must have a strong vision, mission, and clear objectives, that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The legal profession in particular has so many areas of expertise, that defining clear areas of specialisation is important.

If a strong strategy is led by an effective leader, you’ve got the basis for positive growth.

A well-communicated strategy will ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction, and bottom-line growth is inevitable.

Technology as a facilitator

Businesses need to create efficiencies through the exploitation of technology, and the pandemic really brought that home and accelerated tech adoption. It makes sense to automate repetitive tasks for greater productivity and reduce the workload of mindless tasks.

As an enabler, technology is a useful tool for communication, both internally within the business, and outward facing, to clients and potential clients. While technology is a great facilitator, it’s only that.

The backbone, a good communication strategy, is key to keeping channels open in every direction, and growing a people-centric approach to business.

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While the law is still heavily paper-based in some respects, technological transformation can happen across the business, as the pandemic taught us. Remote working is an incentive towards better working conditions, but also for client reach. Tools like Zoom have been great for the legal profession, where the cogs of our business are client meetings.

Technology can facilitate a people focus, both for staff and for your client base.

Recruiting an attitude

Growing a team is about picking people who will be a good fit in more ways than just qualifications or intellect. I rarely hire someone based on intellect alone. Knowledge will come; I mainly hire based on attitude, caring and empathic qualities as these are vital to your connection with a client.

As an organisation, you’ll be a more desirable workplace if people are your focus. Not just from what they bring with them, but also from what you as an organisation can offer. If you’re a desirable workplace, you’ll attract a more desirable workforce. It becomes a beautiful ecology (and economy).

Caring for staff’s mental health has a direct impact on the bottom line. Current research (2022) says that mental health issues are costing the UK economy more than £118 billion annually, according to the Mental Health Foundation and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). This is equivalent to around 5% of the UK’s GDP. Around 72% of the cost of this is because of lost productivity of people living with mental health conditions.

The Mental Health Foundation poses a strong economic case in its report for investing in the prevention of mental health conditions. Employees who have good mental health are a boon in any organisation for myriad obvious reasons, and the economic knock-on is clear.

Originally published by The Law Society Gazette