Today’s guest post was written by Stacey Burke, a lawyer who consults on marketing, business development, and law firm efficiency for small to medium sized firms. In Part 1 of this blog post series, she discusses budgeting for your new law firm’s marketing initiatives.You can learn more about her at the end of the post.
If you are a lawyer starting your own law firm, you may be approaching the experience from one of many different places. You may be a recent law school graduate who was unable to land a job with another firm and forced to go out on your own. You may have recently won a big case with your current firm and have decided to use a portion of your fees to start your own firm. You also could simply be someone who wants to be your own boss. Whatever the reason, and no matter what your background, you’ll have to spend both time and financial resources on marketing your new law firm right from the very beginning.
A law firm will need to start out with a certain amount of fixed and necessary overhead. Rent, utilities, health insurance, liability insurance, hardware, software, staff salaries, office supplies, and more will make up your law firm’s basic ongoing monthly expenses. You will need to assess how much capital you have, how much you are able to acquire via investors, loans, and lines of credit, and see what is left after you cover the basic necessities. Once you have all of your known financials in a spreadsheet, look at what you have left and then determine which of the marketing expenditures listed below that you can afford.
Your marketing budget won’t be a fixed number, but according to the Small Business Administration, small businesses making less than $5 million in revenue should spend 7-8% of that revenue on marketing costs. Most law firms won’t spend anywhere near that in their first year, so the SBA’s advice can be tabled until you are gain some momentum with your practice. Although the average law firm reportedly spends 3.4% of its revenue on marketing, that should not impact how you plan for your entity. Setting your marketing budget to equal a certain percentage of your revenue is not the right way to do it, especially at the beginning. Since your law firm is new, you will need to spend more initially because no one knows you exist.
So those are a few things to keep in mind before creating your law firm’s marketing plan. Check back next Tuesday for my next post where I’ll go into greater detail and will cover the top 5 marketing necessities for a new law firm.
Stacey is a 14-year personal injury trial lawyer and the sole owner of Stacey E. Burke, P.C. Based in her hometown of Houston, Texas, Stacey consults on marketing, business development, and law firm efficiency for small to medium sized firms across the country. Stacey E. Burke, P.C. handles projects ranging from database implementation and cleanup to social media marketing and setting up new case intake departments. You can find out more about Stacey at here.