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Startup blogger Jason Cohen‘s title for his Jan 17th post refers to even the most successful startups, i.e., those that look like overnight sensations.  So, what does that have to do with lawyers developing business?

No matter how long you’ve been practicing, no matter how successfully you’ve generated business before 2008, everything has changed now; 2008 is the dividing line between the 20-year Seller’s Market and the Buyer’s Market that will rule the legal world for the rest of your career.

That means that everyone pretty much started over in 2008 under a new set of rules that no longer reward simply demonstrating technical skill and making oneself available for hire.  That makes every practicing lawyer a startup, trying to find the optimal market, position, value proposition, strategy, plan, and tactics.

Creating and pursuing a well-thought-out marketing/sales plan means that, long before you see the kind of predictable results you’ll ultimately get, you’ll spend a lot of time trusting your plan despite the chaos that swirls around figuring out the best way to implement it, and the associated surprises, frustrations and setbacks.

In the early stages of your initiative, it can be hard to discern progress. It can feel like you’re always getting started. You may become impatient and try to accelerate things. It won’t matter. However long it takes to figure out is how long it takes.

Then, one day, you realize that you’ve gotten some momentum. You notice that more prospects are approaching you than the other way around. They’re already aware of and aligned with your views on the problem they seek to solve. You recognize that they already want to hire you. You still have to facilitate a disciplined, high-integrity decision process for them, but you’re no longer going uphill.

As Jason concludes his blog post: “It’s always like this, until it isn’t.”

Stay the course.

Mike O’Horo

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