Law firms face tight budgets and fierce competition in today’s marketplace, and often the resources allocated for business development can feel that pressure, even as it become more critical for law firms to find new sources of business to ensure firms’ survival.
An upcoming series of webinars ahead of the Legal Executive Institute’s 24th Annual Marketing Partner Forum, asks whether law firms can find new business development opportunities by looking in the big, blue ocean. The webinars will examine how to create a strong business development strategy even on a tight budget, and how to use the Blue Ocean Strategy to differentiate your firm from the crowd, and discover new opportunities.
These business development webinars, entitled Creating a Business Development Strategy on a Tight Budget with the Blue Ocean Strategy, will be held Sept. 27 & 29 and will be moderated by Beth Cuzzone, Director of Client Service & Business Development at Goulston & Storrs. Panelists for the webinars include Eric R. Fletcher, Business Development & Marketing at Liskow & Lewis; Frederick J. Esposito, Jr., Executive Director at Rivkin Radler; and Nora Shearer, Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer at Chadbourne & Parke.
Noting that within the average midsize law firm, the budget for business development efforts stands at about 4% of revenue, it becomes vitally important for these firms to get the most out of their development dollars. “We want to examine how to best execute on that budget and how to use those dollars to move your firm to a stronger development strategy,” Cuzzone says.
The Blue Ocean Strategy, which is both a book and a business theory, tells practitioners that there is no real advantage to becoming involved in the overly crowded and hyper-competitive areas of the legal marketplace — in becoming the 27th co-sponsor of a legal conference, for example — and instead urges them to look for new opportunities in the “blue oceans” of new market places. “Blue Ocean says law firms should use their dollars in new places and not spend their time elbowing other competitors over a finite amount of business,” she adds.
The strategy also calls for business development professionals to ask themselves a series of questions that could determine how to best position their firm away from competitors and into new markets. Some of these questions revolve around the firm’s relationship with technology and how its business model, especially in terms of pricing and billing, works with clients. “It’s really trying to get firms to look at some of these areas through a different lens,” Cuzzone notes.
One of the overall goals of these webinars is to dismantle the prevailing theory — evident not only in the legal industry, but in the business world as well — that spending less will automatically result in getting less or receiving poorer quality material or service, Cuzzone says. “We want to show firms, especially midsize firms on tight budgets, that this doesn’t have to be the case, and you can get quality results for less dollars, if those dollars are deployed in the right way.”
Cuzzone also says she hopes attendees of these webinars will come away with a new-found desire to look at their business development budgets in a different light. Attendees should leave the webinars with four or five good questions they can ask themselves to determine where they could best use their budgeted dollars. “I think their answers could present them with a road map to create blue oceans of new opportunities for themselves and their firms.”