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You Can’t Be Great at Everything – Consider Outsourcing

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment
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You have a reason your organization is successful and it probably is not your back office or non-critical functions.  But these functions are distracting you from doing what you do best.  Have you considered outsourcing some (using outsiders) to do these important but not critical functions?
Some quotes by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE: “Your backroom is somebody’s elses front room.  Backrooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”  Convert your backroom into someone elses front room and insist on getting the outsourcers best.

Here are my five reasons to outsource some of your functions:

Expertise
Outsourcing lets you acquire specialized expertise to accomplish goals, complete projects and augment your existing resources.  Small projects that require expertise not available with internal staff such as website design, sales training and video production could  probably best be served with an outside resource.  Large projects such as SalesForce CRM implementation or Marketo Marketing Automation implementation involving organizational change are best done with an outside perspective who can focus on it.  Learning new technologies is difficult and technology projects are good candidates for outsourcing to get your team up to speed on the technology from experts.

Cost
Outsourcing is usually less expensive then hiring employees due to cost of hiring, cost of training, salary, employee overhead such as benefits, computer equipment / software, office space, etc. Outsourcing costs are more flexible since they can be added or dropped easily, more so than employees. Variable costs projects are typically easier to get approved than additional headcount.  Cloud computing solutions such as SalesForce CRM and Basecamp Project Management solutions allow an organization to use technology that is not located on their premises which saves on internal IT costs.

Fresh Perspective
Sometimes it is advantageous to obtain an outsider’s perspective on things. Brainstorming with people from outside your organization helps facilitate fresh ideas that may not have come from a group of employees.

Focus
Outsourced resources do not suffer from goal distraction by common day-to-day fire-drills. An outside provider of resources has one responsibility and one priority, which is to complete the project. Focus delivers better results and greater accountability.  Outsourcing allows you to complete task / project goals without disrupting day-to-day operations and personnel.  Outsourcing allows you to focus on your core competencies.

Speed
A competitive advantage is speed.  The faster you release a product or implement a marketing solution could have a big impact in revenue or donations if you are a non-profit.  With outsourcing, you can bring in the necessary additional resources to complete a project or task faster than doing it with existing staff or hiring additional staff.

Possible Tasks that can be Outsourced

  • New hire recruitment
  • IT monitoring
  • Trade show event logistics such as booth shipping
  • Blog writing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Training or employee coaching including sales training
  • Business plan or marketing plan creation
  • HR benefits change

Focus on what you do best and outsource as many non-critical functions as possible.  Outsourcing  gives you flexibility, lowers costs, adds expertise, achieves faster completion and increases focus.  Feel free to provide me your thoughts on outsourcing.

Why a Law Firm Should Have a Blog

October 28, 2016 Leave a comment

blog

This post explains the benefits for a law firm of having a well maintained, dynamic blog.   But maintaining a blog is not easy. Do not have a blog if you are not committed to it. A blog is a useful communication tool and has many benefits.

Requirements for Successful Blog

But first, let’s discuss what you need for a successful blog?  Here are some thoughts:

  • brainstorming and discussions on topics
  • consistent and interesting content from various writers including lawyers and thought leaders in your firm
  • calendar of what content to post and when
  • budget as you will need to hire outside writers or consultants to assist with the blog
  • defined blog order and structure
  • someone devoted to blog management, monitoring, measurement and maintenance
  • editor to review content before final posting
  • buy-in from top of firm down

Make sure you have a plan in place before executing on a blog.  Blog posts have categories which are a way to classify and group blog posts.  Posts can be long or short, including just  a few hundred words in length.

Benefits of a Blog

All organizations are different and thus all blogs are different.  Some are more fun and light while others are more educational and legal.  But here are my thoughts on the benefits of a blog for a law firm:

  1. Prove Your Expertise – The Internet is often the first place people go to in order to learn about anything.  Show what you know. Be a trusted adviser in your legal specialty in your geographical area with blog posts that are helpful and insightful. To position yourself as an expert, keep pace with legal news and issues.   Blogs are a sample of an organization’s thinking and professional work.
  2. Enhances Your Community by Staying in Contact with Clients – A blog can be a key part of your community.  Your existing clients and those that care about your firm will be reading the posts since the posts will provide information about your firm and the services you offer.  Share photos, videos and interesting information about your firm.  The words you use in your blog make your clients feel comfortable to do additional business with your firm. Also, perspective employees can be attracted to your firm.
  3. Provides Content for Promotional Campaigns – Prospective clients will seek out information to better inform their selection of a law firm.  And a blog is an excellent place for this.   A blog keeps your firm top of mind with clients who want to hear from you on a regular basis. Make sure that you mention blog posts in an email newsletters. Publish useful content so there will be a reason for a client to stay a client.   Make sure you do Twitter updates that link to your blog posts and that you share the blog posts on LinkedIn.
  4. Provides Content for Other Marketing Pieces – Blog posts are great to combine to form eBooks which can be used in LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and Call to Actions on Landing Pages.   You can also these pieces for webinars.
  5. Improves Website Traffic and Findability – If your blog is part of your website, new blog posts draws more traffic to the site.  Curious blog visitors will check out other pages on your firm’s website. A blog can have a positive impact on search engine ranking results. Blogs posts are full of keywords.
  6. Attracts Influencers – A blog gives you the ability to attract influencers who can spread the work about your legal services to their network.  Included in this influencer group are lawyers in other law firms (who could recommend others to your firm) or potential clients.
  7. Quick Delivery of Information – A blog answers your client’s concerns and questions in a timely manner in the comment area. A blog provides an opportunity to interact with your target audience, and exchange thoughts, believes, and ideas.  A blog is more dynamic than a website. Frequent great new content shows responsiveness, dedication, commitment and expertise. A dynamic blog raises credibility.   A blog is a great place to highlight firm news in an easy to understand wording. Share information beyond a press release. A blog can easily and quickly communicate with an audience (usually much easier than a website) and allows sharing of information about your firm.
  8. Strengthens Your Brand – A blog provides an opportunity to how your firm will be perceived  by others. Consistent branding leads to client loyalty.  Make sure your blog look is consistent with your other marketing activities (website, newsletter, etc.).

Your firm is unique and provides a valuable service.  A blog gets your message out there.  It is a great way for people to know your firm, its service offerings and its expertise.  A blog will assist in controlling the message to your audience.  Be consistent and have a regular conversation with readers.  Many firms have acquired firms through their blog.  If you don’t have a blog, please consider starting one.

Share me your thought on benefits of a blog for law firms.

 

 

Chamber of Commerce’s Have Tremendous Opportunity with Social Media

July 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Some of you might know this already, but I am a big fan of Chamber of Commerces.  I was an Ambassador for a Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and later, I volunteered at a Chamber and did their social media for them.  I learned a lot there and enjoyed the friendships I gained working with the Chamber.  We were quite successful in communicating information to Chamber members and others in the area.

Chamber

But I think that more can be done as a Chamber has a tremendous opportunity with social media including:

1) Strengthen digital presence – A Chamber can use social media to gain members  and followers.  This can be done by following others, retweeting others information and using the followers of other tweeters.  the Chamber should try to create a buzz to gain more fans and followers.  The more folks that see a Chamber’s posts the more likihood that the will become a Chamber member.

2) Create a portal – A Chamber has the opportunity to be the portal of information about an area for anyone that lives, works or shops in that area.  This portal would contain information about businesses, sports, fine arts, schools, city, nonprofits, etc. that are related to the area.  For it to be this, the Chamber must communicate out all information that concerns the area, not just information about Chamber members.  Information comes from many sources including : other Twitters, local newspapers, visitor bureaus, government agencies (such as the City the Chamber is located in), school districts, sport teams, fine art institutions, local area associations and groups, etc.   Twitter is excellent for immediate information.  FaceBook can be used as a portal for items that are visual.  A Chamber’s website can be used for upcoming events including its own.

3) Attract new members –  Social media gives the membership director a tremendous tool in attracting new members.   The membership director can show the potential Chamber member that the Chamber cares about them and can advertise for them with the social media capabilities of the Chamber.   Showing a potential member that they have already tweeted about them is a great psychological advantage in signing them up.

4) Get back lost members –  There must be a reason a Chamber member did not renew their membership, most likely that they did not see the value in it.  But if they see that the Chamber will be their voice in social media since they are too small to do it themselves they might decide to join again.

5) Promote area and businesses in area – The better an area does the better the Chamber will do.  If the social media efforts of the Chamber brings more people into the area to spend their dollars shopping, eating, attending sporting events, or attending fine art events then that is tax dollars that will be used to improve the area.  An improved area will allow businesses to stay viable and attract new sales.  That is what the Chamber needs as well.

6) Social media philosophy of giving – A key philosophy of social media is that you need to give before you get back.  Social media payback is not immediate.  Social media is used to create long lasting relationships.  Also social media is not just about sending out information about yourself.  Most of what is sent out using social media should be informational and non-salesy.  People want to be informed and not sold to.  If a Chamber only promotes Chamber members then that would not reflect the true activities and goings on of the area.  The Chamber should mention in its social media posts all the charities and non-profits in the Chamber area including their fund raising activities.

Many Chambers are old school and need to adjust.  Being a member of a Chamber is a relationship.  Social media is about engagement and relationships.  A Chamber is more effective with the more engaged its members are.  Chambers must foster this engagement with social media playing a large part in this. Chambers are a place for members to share and exchange information as well as to build relationships that will benefit the person and their business.  Social media helps with this sharing of information.  I feel that members could recognize that the value of Chamber membership by their ability to interact with other successful individuals; in building meaningful relationships that can provide critical insights for the challenges they are facing.  And social media can play a big part of the success of the Chamber and its members.  Let me know what you think.

 

IRL – In Real Life – Don’t Forget Face to Face Networking

7K0A0438Many people are great using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to communicate with others.  But often forgotten is the old fashion way of networking, Face to Face, or connecting offline (i.e. events).  Online networking is great at connecting but in real life (IRL) connecting is best for solidifying relationships.  Combine your online connecting with your face to face connecting.

These IRL events could include the following:

  • Chamber networking events
  • LinkedIn local group events
  • Twitter local tweet ups
  • Alumni Groups (School, Fraternity, Previous Companies)
  • One on One meetings (meetings at coffee houses or lunches)
  • Association meetings

It is important now more than ever to get out and meet other people.  Relationships and who you know is still how things happen such as job opportunities, sales opportunities, vendor selection, etc.   Get  out there, socialize and get to know people.

Lets discuss finding the IRL events:

  • Be open to all possibilities. Accept every invitation you get and angle for invitations you’re not presently getting. Make it a habit to say “Yes” to invitations. And accept them with pleasure. You never know what event will be the one to land that job or land that big sales opportunity or meet that person that will be your friend for life.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.  Don’t only go to certain types of events.  If you do that then you will only meet the same people or same type of people.  Meeting diverse people is important.
  • Find events that attract people you would like to get to know.  Try an event and decide if it is one that you want to attend again.  Don’t waste your time and money if the event is not for you.
  • Read the free weeklies that publish event calendars.  Read the journals in your industry.  These journals will mention events that are in your area.  These are great places to meet and establish relationships of others in your industry.
  • I am a big fan of  the local Chamber of Commerce.  Chambers have events that you do not have to be a member of to attend.  These events are great places to meet business owners that are interested in expanding their business.   And sometimes the Chamber website has a calendar of events in the area.  If they do, then check it for possible events to attend.
  • Get involved in professional, alumni and/or social clubs.  If you went to a local college I am sure there are regular alumni meetings.
  • Use the internet to find local events.
  • Spread out your events.  Remember family time and personal time is important so don’t over do the networking events but make sure that you allocated some time for them.  Maybe 1 night a week is the proper frequency.

OK, now you are going to events and meeting people in real life.  What should you do at these events?  Here are some tips:

  • Be remember-able.  Make sure that you have something unique to say so that people you meet will remember you.  Practice you 1 minute elevator pitch so that when people ask you what you do or want, you have a quick, clear, memorable answer.
  • Be attentive to whoever  you are talking to at these events.  Show that you’re listening by making eye contact, devoting your full attention, nodding your understanding, asking questions and commenting with your ideas.
  • Make sure you have business cards to hand out and get business cards from those you meet.  The purpose of meeting people is to establish a relationship with them.  If you don’t know how to make contact with them afterwards then you have wasted your effort.
  • If during your conversation with someone you determine that you want to continue the relationship with, make sure you ask for the next step.  Ask the person if you can meet later or if you can forward some information to them.
  • Have fun.  Put on a happy face.  People like to be around fun and happy people.  They will remember you and want to continue the relationship if you are a happy individual.

After events make sure that you follow up.  Send emails to people that you met the day before.  Next day follow up is key.  Sometimes it is asking for a meeting such as one to one at a local coffee shop.  Sometimes it is just a thanks for talking.  Sometimes it is sending them information that they might need.  Sometimes it is a LinkedIn connection request.

Put these IRL networking tips into practice the next time you attend a meeting or event, and don’t be surprised if you will quickly add to your network of contacts.  Feel free to comment back on your IRL networking suggestions.

Who is Your Community? You Better Find Out!!

Not everything is about lead generation in marketing.  Forming, maintaining and strengthening the organization’s community could be just as important.  A community is more than just a presence on the various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You need to know who your community is.  How do you create a community if you don’t know who it is for and who are the members?  If you don’t know then you should.  How do you communicate with your community and engage with them if the community members are unclear to you?  Have you ever discussed and written down who is in the community and the purpose for the community?  This post will discuss community and provide tips to enhance your community.

Are the following part of your community?  Should they be?

  • Customers
  • Employees and their Families
  • Partners such as Resellers and Vendors
  • Influencers such as Blog Writers, Media and Consultants
  • Local Geographic Area Individuals

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Some tips:

  1. Be focused – Have a goal and feel for the community.  Document it.
  2. Be there – Have a Community Manager that is responsive to the community.
  3. Be cohesive – When your organizations engages with the community make sure that it is consistent (branding and messaging).
  4. Pay attention – Listen to the community on what it thinks, wants and does.  Do not dictate to the community.
  5. Build trust – It takes a long time to build trust and it can be lost very quickly.
  6. Be where it makes sense – Be on the social networks that your community members are on and be consistent with your posting.
  7. Provide internal support for the Community Manager – Provide the tools necessary for the Community Manager to do their job and let the Community Manager be an advocate for the community members.
  8. Let the community develop its own personality and engage with each other – The community members should  feel a sense of empowerment. Communities cannot be ordered into existence, no matter how much they might need help getting there.  Your organization should build relationships with community members but more importantly get them to interact with each other.
  9. Measure – As long as the number of active followers is growing with the number of overall followers, you’re probably on the right path.  Another good measurement to look at is how visible your community site is.
  10. Fun=Win – A community is usually strong and growing if its members are having fun and getting what they want out of the community.  Try to make the community site fun and try to make sure that attendees to your user conference have fun.

Usually an organization (law firm, B2B tech company or non-profit) with a strong community is a successful organization.  Make sure that you focus on your community and you know its purpose and who its members are.  Hope these tips were beneficial.  Please send me your community thoughts.

 

My 3 Words for 2011 – Focus, Streamline, Active

January 9, 2011 2 comments

The first week of a new year is always exciting and optimistic.  This year, I’ve picked three words that came to me  when I read What Matters Now, a series of short essays each on a different word.  It’s a free ebook conceived by Seth Godin and edited by Ishita Gupta.
My 3 words for 2011 are Focus, Streamline and Active.

FocusFOCUS – I’m busy at home and work.  I’m bombarded by emails and information from social media.  There are many things I can be doing but I need to FOCUS on what is important.  Health and Family need to be a primary concern for me in 2011.

STREAMLINE – Once I’ve focused on what’s important I need to be very efficient and STREAMLINED on the tasks relevant to those items.  I need to select tools and learn how to use those tools so that I can accomplish my key items quickly and efficiently.

ACTIVE – To get stuff done I need to be ACTIVE and “Just Do It” or “Ship It”.  I need to have energy so eating right, getting the necessary sleep and working out are very important.

I will try to keep these 3 words in mind throughout the year.

What are your three words for 2011?

 

Categories: Personal, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , ,

If You Want Me to Tweet Your Words, Make It Easy for Me and Give Me What I Need

April 7, 2010 Leave a comment

If You Want Me to Tweet Your Words, Make It Easy for Me and Give Me What I Need: Here are some guidelines for anyone… http://wp.me/py9s3-4u

Categories: Uncategorized