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Guest: Anthony Geraci, the founder and managing shareholder of Geraci LLP, which is a fast-growing law firm in Southern California.
Episode in a Tweet: Learn to think outside the box from a law firm that grew 70% in one year.
Quick Background: Like any other discipline in life, you have to master the basics of business if you want to run a successful company. Have a clear vision. Set your targets and put steps in place to hit them. Measure your progress. Optimize your cash flow. Hire the best people. Keep learning.
But once you have your fundamentals covered, how do you set yourself apart from the competition? How do you broadcast and leverage what’s unique about your company to expand your client base and start ramping up towards BIG?
On today’s show, Anthony Geraci explains how his team started thinking outside the box to change how a law firm traditionally operates and create a radical new approach to marketing. The result of this innovative thinking? An incredible 70% growth in one year.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
Key Insights on Thinking Outside the Box
1. Be the CEO, not the hero.
It’s unusual for a law firm to have a strong, centralized leadership team in place. “Most law firms have a managing shareholder that still practices law, and thinking about strategy is almost an afterthought,” says Anthony. But as he made the decision to transition from being an attorney to being the boss, he faced a familiar challenge for new CEOs: learning how to stop doing everything and trust the management team he put in place.
“I’m the hero. Anything you need just come see me. And I was that guy a couple years ago. The problem with being that person though is everybody needs you. Spending 50 hours a week taking care of problems, there’s no time spent on strategy, there’s no time on culture,” he says.
Once Anthony stopped trying to do everything, he had time to think outside the box about his new CEO-level responsibilities, and growth followed. “Our management team took over a lot of the day-to-day operations with our clients and that allowed me to take a step back, and really focus what I currently focus on now: strategy, vision, and culture for the company. My full-time job now is working on newer projects and moving forward.”
2. D = 70%
If you’re struggling to let go of tasks and responsibilities, Anthony recommends this simple formula.
“D means delegation and that 70% recognizes that people are not going to do 100% of what I could do. Could I do something better and faster? Probably. But, at what expense?”
The expense is the CEO wasting precious executive-level time. If you’re down in the trenches making sales calls and designing better spreadsheets, who’s on the top floor refining the company’s vision, monitoring cash, tending to key relationships, and staying up to date on the state of your industry? These are responsibilities that the CEO should focus on.
Anthony realized that when it comes to delegating, only results matter.
“That remaining 30% really comes down to stylistic parameters. Does it matter that they use a different word than I would? Not really. Is the result the same? Did we get the same result even if it’s worded differently, even if it’s approached differently? If the answer is yes, then keep delegating.”
3. Build your business for tomorrow.
Once Anthony cleared his desk of non-CEO tasks, he had time to think outside the box and develop some innovative marketing strategies for Geraci LLP. First, he created a media company – that’s right, not just a marketing department, but an entire separate company! Why? Because Anthony was thinking about where he wanted his business to be in five years, not just where it was today.
“Based on current law, only lawyers can own law firms,” Anthony explains. “I knew at some point not necessarily today or tomorrow, but maybe three to five years from now, we’re going to want to hire a rock star to take over the entire media division of our company. But I also recognized that to attract great talent you may want to consider offering them equity, which would be impossible in a law firm unless the person is a lawyer.”
4. Broadcast your message where you know you’ll be heard.
Anthony’s media company concentrates on two unique marketing initiatives. The first is a print magazine, Originate Report, that has a website but is also delivered the old-fashioned way: to mailboxes. If you’re thinking, “No one sends mail anymore,” that’s exactly the point! Anthony pictured all those empty spaces in his customers’ and prospects’ daily media routines, and he filled those spaces with his branding and messaging.
Anthony’s second big initiative is a series of conferences that allow his clients and prospects to network with each other and industry professionals. Anthony does charge for admission, and while he says the conferences do turn a slight profit, the biggest benefit is increased business from existing clients. “When we do a big presentation on a new topic, the reaction is often, ‘Oh, these guys really know what they’re talking about. I didn’t know they did this,’” Anthony says. The conferences also broadcast the company name and logo across the country, attracting new business outside of Anthony’s California home base.
Hitting social media, online ad platforms, and email is just covering the bare minimum. How are you going to stand out from the crowd on Facebook and LinkedIn? Have you thought about hosting conferences or summits? Blogging? Mailers? Webinars? Maybe even your own podcast?
5. Create value that your competitors don’t.
All of Anthony’s creative thinking and innovation adds up to one simple but BIG idea:
“The magazine and the conferences have one real reason to exist, and it’s to add value to our clients. The hope is, as clients get bigger, they of course need more and more of our services, and we can provide more services to them,” he says.
That’s the real secret to Anthony’s amazing 70% growth rate. A prospect looking for legal services or access to loan originators can turn to Google. Geraci LLP offers something more than just that base level of service. They engage their clients and prospects in a way that makes them feel like they’re part of a community, and they use the resources that community provides to create value, more business, and BIG growth.
1. Delegate the small stuff, as long as you’re getting the results you want.
2. Facebook isn’t enough. Think outside the box to find potential new channels in your audience’s media routine where your message won’t get lost in the chatter.
3. Offer your customers more than your competitors do, and you’ll end up with more customers.