Tony Stark is Iron Man: member of the Avengers, one of Earth’s mightiest heroes who fends off threats with equal measures of technology, courage, and style. Lawyers and business owners have something else to take away: Tony Stark is also an expert entrepreneur, innovator, and marketing genius. Learn five tips to make your daily operations as bulletproof as the Iron Man suit!
Who needs a secret identity?
Few of us who watched the first Iron Man movie can forget Tony Stark’s six words at the end of the movie: “The truth is, I’m Iron Man.” Forget about masks or secret identities. Tony Stark made the Iron Man brand all about him, big and out in public.
There’s a great lesson here: Want to stand out? Be big and bold about who you are. Look for opportunities to tell your story. What is it that you, and you alone in your geographical region and practice area, can do? It’s easy to forget that you know a lot more about the ins and outs of your chosen field than your clients. With some creativity, the knowledge you have and work with every day can become a unique value proposition to potential clients who are hungry for information about how the legal process works.
Never stop innovating
Iron Man went toe to toe with some pretty impressive opponents, including ones who could match or surpass him in size, strength, and ability. His strategy for winning wasn’t to do the same thing over and over, hoping to beat his opponents in a high-tech boxing match. Instead, he was constantly thinking outside the box to build new strategies and weapons to take his opponents by surprise.
Many lawyers today are stuck in old ways of doing things, and hope to grow their practice by throwing as much money into advertising and turn-key marketing solutions as they can. The largest practices can afford to do this, but there are many more attorneys without the resources to play that game.
Develop new approaches that fit with your unique selling point. What do you do, or what can you do, that no other attorney in your area does? Are you an educator? Do you give a voice to those in your community who need justice? Have you trained your staff to give excellent service? Remember that simply doing these things isn’t enough. You need to be talking about it to your audience.
JARVIS, lock on target
Part of Iron Man’s genius was using an advanced computer program named Jarvis to do the heavy lifting. Jarvis automated Iron Man’s communication, targeting, flight plans, workshop, and more, leaving Iron Man to focus on what’s most important — doing his job.
You will free yourself up and improve your business by systematizing what your firm does. Systematizing can be hard work at first, but the rewards can be immense. Start by writing down how it is your office does what it does. How should the phones be answered? What kind of content goes into your monthly or quarterly newsletter? What are the job descriptions of your staff positions?
When you or someone on your staff finds a way to improve some aspect of your business, write that down too. Soon you will have a manual for running your firm and when you hire new staff, there will be continuity in how your practice operates. Over time, this will minimize risking your firm’s momentum when staff changes happen, as well as putting in place tools by which you can measure your firm’s success over time.
Get your hands dirty
Iron Man is the cutting edge of technology. He brings some very impressive tools and knowledge into the battlefield and the workshop. Yet Iron Man has never forgotten how to use a simple screwdriver and soldering iron. If he has to, he can manufacture what he needs from scraps and hardware store supplies.
As a manager of your business, don’t get rusty on the fundamentals of what grows your practice. You may have a staff, large or small, responsible for marketing copy, updating your website, running your social media, and interacting with clients on the phone. As you move forward and grow in your career, remember to stay engaged with the basic functions that keep your practice running day to day.
Don’t be boring
Gleaming suits painted like sports cars, witty one-liners, and parties — Iron Man is anything but boring. There’s a great lesson for lawyers: Be interesting.
A lot of what “interesting” means will depend on what kind of client you are trying to attract. It’s important to identify what really gets your clients’ attention — and it’s probably not pictures of gavels and columns. What are your potential clients hungry for? Out of all the firms just a Google search away, what is going to make them get interested in your firm in particular? If you can provide what people are most interested in, they’ll be much more likely to give you their business.