Wanted: A leader in your town

dv1492011We recently got a new puppy at our house. Crazy, I know. (We’ve got 9 kids, 5 of whom are still at home, and one dog already!)

As we do with any new venture, we  went into “massive education” mode. Puppy books, DVDs, and classes. I spent hours learning  about puppies. What I discovered is this: the puppy doesn’t know anything about anything and he’s looking for a leader of the household. What the experts say is that either you or that puppy will be the leader of the household.

You decide.

Right Now, Someone in Your Community Is Looking for a Leader

(Book recommendation: Tribes, by Seth Godin.)

I’m not just talking about being a leader in your practice area. There are lots of divorce, DUI, and personal injury “leaders” in your town. You need to be a leader of something different. Maybe you are the safety leader. Maybe, if you are a personal injury lawyer like I am, you take a position not just against the insurance companies (like most personal injury lawyers do) but against other personal injury lawyers whose advertising actually harms the efforts you are making on behalf of your clients. (Hint: do talking frogs and fistfuls of cash in ads really help anyone decide which attorney to hire?)

Now, lets go further. If you are reading this blog you probably have a higher than average interest in marketing. Most small business owners in your community know very little about marketing. They are so busy running their businesses that they don’t have time to learn anything new. Why don’t you lead them?

Today I run a small business mastermind group in Fairfax, Virginia, where I practice. We meet every three months. Who’s there? The graphic artist who owns a local print shop; the mom and pop painting and renovation business down the street; the guy who owns a couple of local print cartridge recycling franchises; the woman who owns a custom software company; and a couple of local real estate gurus.

I am their leader. We talk marketing and advertising. We ask each other (1) what’s working?; (2) what’s not working?; (3) what are you reading?; (4) what can I do for you? Together we ask ourselves: what did I just hear about what’s working in another industry that I might test in the my industry?

I feature their businesses in my law firm newsletter and get them to submit content for me to use. They do the same for me.

No one selected me to take charge of this group–I just decided.

A friend of mine, family law attorney Charlie Hofheimer, runs teleseminars for local marriage counselors. His seminars are not about why they should be referring to him and how great his is. They are about “How You Can Market Your Marriage Counseling Business Better.”

Charlie didn’t wait to be selected to run these teleseminars. He just made a decision.

Seattle attorney Jason Epstein created a “Teens Against Distracted Driving” campaign long before it became popular to do so. Schools in his area fill auditoriums with kids, parents, and teachers to hear him speak. He didn’t wait to be invited to start the campaign. He just decided.

You Can Be a Leader

How cool would it be to have small business leaders in your community know you and trust you?

Right now, you could start a local small business mastermind group. (Read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich if you’ve never heard of the concept of a mastermind group.) Just look around to see who in your community is already doing something smart with their marketing and business building. Invite them in, as a group, for pizza and lunch. Show them how you can help their businesses–not with your legal expertise, but with your business savvy.

Now, who do you believe they will think of first when someone in their circle of influence needs a personal injury attorney?

Why wait?