Get bigger by thinking smaller


Seth Godin just said what I’ve been telling you for a long time: niche it.

Actually, he put it this way:

“When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.

The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve.”

In other words, target small niche markets and own them.

Godin says that when you focus on “the minimum viable audience,” your message is more powerful and more effective, and as your influence in that market grows, word of mouth about you will spread throughout the market and into others.

In other words, you get bigger by thinking smaller.

Godin says that this is how big companies and brands got that way. “By focusing on just a few and ignoring the non-believers, the uninvolved and the average.”

Focus on your ideal clients and the influencers in your chosen niche markets. Get to know them. Serve them. Let them see your dedication to their market.

Forget about the rest. Let other lawyers fight over the rest, while you get the lion’s share of the best.

Want help choosing your target market? Here you go


What to do when the yogurt hits the fan


Something in Seth Godin’s post today caught my eye. He said, “Most things that go wrong, go wrong slowly.” That’s true, isn’t it? If you’re having challenges in your law practice, they usually take time to develop.

If you’re income is going down, it probably hasn’t happened all of a sudden. It’s probably been happening for months, maybe years. The good news is that because it happens slowly, there’s time to fix it.

When you are experiencing a downward cycle, Seth says the wrong thing to do is rationalize it and ride it out. Or, in the case of declining income, think that cutting costs is the only thing you can do.

The right way to deal with a downward cycle, he says, is learn to recognize it and replace it with an upward cycle. “Understand what triggers [a downward cycle] and then learn to use that trigger to initiate a different cycle,” he says.

So if your income has been declining, instead of waiting for the economy to improve, you have to do something to bring in more income.

But what?

Start by asking yourself some questions:

  • What did I do, or fail to do, that contributed to this situation? How can I change this?
  • What have I done before to turn things around?
  • What are other lawyers doing that’s working?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • What bad habits do I need to eradicate?
  • Who can help me? (Start with categories, i.e., CPA, marketing expert, banker, then look for candidates)
  • What do I need to do more of?
  • What do I need to get better at?

If I were coaching you, among other things, I would tell you to look at where most of your income is coming from now, or has in the past (practice area, referral sources, marketing methods, etc.) and expand this. Leverage your strengths. Do what has worked before.

And focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t do. You can’t change the economy, but you can make some calls.

If you want to learn how to earn more than you ever thought possible even if you’re in a downward cycle, download The Attorney Marketing Formula.


The Harley-Davidson of law practices


Seth Godin pointed out that it is more profitable to be #1 in a small market than number three in a larger market.

I agree.

He says the market leader sets the agenda and attracts the leading customers.

That’s true.

He says that Harley-Davidson isn’t #1 for all motorcycles but they are clearly #1 in their category.

Yes they are. They have a very loyal following and get lots of word of mouth referrals (or maybe that should be “word of ear” referrals).

There is great wisdom in this concept. I followed this in my practice where I targeted a small niche market, I preach it daily in my private consulting, and I write about it extensively in my new course, The Attorney Marketing Formula.

Let others fight over the mass market while you go fishing in a small(er) pond. Marketing is easier, the clients are better, the profits are greater.

As Godin points out, by redefining your focus and the way you serve your clients, you redefine (and come to own) your market.

As attorneys, it’s easy to stroke our chins, nod our heads, and say, “yes, this is truth.” But most attorneys go right back to swimming in the vast “mass market” ocean. Sadly, most attorneys will never come close to being #3, or even #333 in the mass market. But they could easily be #1 in a smaller market.

Yesterday I corresponded with an attorney who told me he is struggling to find a good niche market. I pointed out that in his email, he mentioned that his practice served many same sex couples and that this is a niche market.

By networking with other professionals and businesses owners who target that market, by working deeply in that market, he could become #1 in that market for his practice area.

Then he could afford a fleet of HOGS.