With more and more businesses run from home offices or utilizing a scaled-down staff, it’s more important than ever before to stay on top of things. Part of staying in business through trying times is efficiency. The old saying “work smarter, not harder” has never been more apropos. By investing in ways to make the most of your limited time and resources, you’ll also become a master at stretching your budget. The most successful business ventures are those who know how to make every day and dollar count. If your business has to stay on top of legal work in the face of a year when the field is suffering, a few helpful tips will help you thrive.
2020: The Year Of The Virtual Office
Though many legal professionals and support staff have made a healthy living working from home for years, 2020 is very much the year of the virtual office. Concerns over health and the economy have made this a practical solution for many. In the long-term, the virtual office is both efficient and cost-saving. What’s inconvenient now may very well prove beneficial for your revenue sheet in years to come.
When you have staff working from home, they save on day-to-day expenses such as child care, gasoline, even morning cups of coffee. You save on overhead when the needs of your physical office decrease. Even if you cannot abandon the traditional brick-and-mortar location, fewer people working inside the office means fewer incidentals, office supplies, and other considerations. While social distancing may greatly impact how the world does business, not all of them are negative.
The Freelance Economy
Once viewed solely as a great marketing tool for artists, writers, and programmers, the freelance economy has become a way of life for a world that’s learned to do things a little differently. Almost any job can be outsourced at a reasonable price. Individuals who do those jobs have much more certainty about being paid fairly. This new business model is a throwback to a much older way of doing business, where the only way to survive a challenging economy was to work hard and pound the pavement. In some ways, it creates more opportunities. In others, it creates instability and uncertainty.
Does the freelance gig-based economy benefit small businesses? The short answer is yes. It’s far cheaper to outsource legal transcription services and administrative assistant duties than it is to bring in a full-time employee. With many courts closed or handling only essential matters, legal professionals are going through a tough time. For some, the answer is to try to do as much as possible with a one or two-person operation.
Legal transcription is one area that you simply can’t handle on your own unless you have time and expertise. It’s a job in itself, and finding someone who can do it well for a fair price will help keep your head above water. The freelance economy has made it far easier for those seeking transcription services to find professionals with impressive resumes, sometimes with little more than a video chat.
The support staff will always be a requirement in the world of law. The fact that there are so many qualified applicants at home, waiting to be found, is a solace for businesses determined to stay in the black.
Always Keep An Eye On The Budget
In many ways, running a successful and profitable small business is no different than running a household. When times are good, it’s tempting to pay the bills the second they come in. There’s something that feels good about not having to chase down friends, neighbors, and family members that owe you a small amount of money. Being on top of the financial bubble is liberating. Those who have been around the block a few times will tell you that optimism is good, but pragmatism wins the day.
If you don’t push to collect from those who owe you money when times are good, what are the chances they’ll be lining up to pay you back when you need every penny? If your bill collectors are used to you paying whatever is needed before the due date, it’s going to make it that much harder to explain when you ask for an extension or a payment arrangement.
Carry An Umbrella With You
There will always be a rainy day. It may feel liberating not to watch every single penny that goes in and out of your legal business, but those pennies add up. Unless you have a large company, you probably don’t have the luxury of “Accounts Receivable” and “Accounts Payable.” If you do have an accountant, it takes the weight off your shoulders. However, paying attention to the business end of things is as important as the attention to detail that goes into your legal work.
With a little creativity, the help of the right people, and the ability to change with the state of the world, your endeavors will continue to thrive!