The Law Offices of Justin Stivers March 2019

Justin B.Stivers T H E L AW O F F I C E S O F A P R O B AT E F I R M


March 2019

The Downside to the Changing of the Seasons

Year-Round Practices to Combat Seasonal Slumps

If you’re involved in business, chances are good that you've hit a lull before. Whether you’re trying to mow lawns in the winter or trying to sell a home at the end of the summer, there are certain times of the year when your customers will be less open to doing business. Commerce has peaks and valleys. The good news is that nobody is immune. Even in businesses that deal with the year-round certainties in life — plumbing, gasoline, clothing, etc. — there are going to be off-seasons when your sales decrease. Although you might not think it, probate law is no exception. By carefully planning for our influx of clients, we’re able to combat these fluctuations. We implement quick-thinking marketing techniques that effectively stipend our income so it lasts throughout any downtime. When you’re just getting started with your business, it can be easy to panic when you realize you’re about to hit — or already have hit — a serious dry spell. It’s important to look to the future and prepare for the tough times while things are going well. If you don’t have the luxury of forethought and unexpectedly find yourself in a lurch without any preparation, it’s still okay. Panic should be the last thing on your mind. Take time to incentivize your programs. Put marketing techniques into place that will ensure better cash flow in both the short- and long-term future. Your marketing techniques can take many forms. In the short term, look into launching campaigns that help your customers appreciate the value of the deal you’re offering them. A half-priced snowblower looks pretty good around

the time tax refunds start coming in. Deals never go out of season; it’s just about planning them strategically. At our firm, we experience a drop in business around the winter holidays. While, unfortunately, people pass away all year, families and potential beneficiaries tend to shy away from retaining a probate lawyer when there are more pressing issues at hand during their time of grief. After they try to go through the probate process by themselves or they are faced with a sudden financial impact, they typically realize they need a professional. In order to combat that, we plan specific marketing strategies months in advance of the anticipated “slow season” so we don't see a drastic dip in new clients and revenue. On average, our probates last about 5–6 months and we are generally paid in two intervals: at the beginning and at the end. With that in mind, we try and ramp up marketing around May and June so that we will have a steady stream of income when those cases end around November or

December. We know that January and February tend to be busier, so while we may not take as many new cases in November or December, the marketing we did in May and June will pay off just in time for the holidays, with business picking back up at the first of the year. It is all about planning. A typical “season” can be a long time, and as business owners, we frankly can’t afford to sit around and accept very much loss. By marketing with the future in mind, and keeping transactions on the back burner to get us through the lulls, we not only remain afloat but also thrive year-round. Protecting your business against downtimes means laying it on heavy at other points in the year, and this is all made possible by dispersing your resources accordingly to fit that need.

_Justin B. Stivers


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Are You Qualifying Your Prospects? 3 Questions to Ensure You Obtain the Right Clients

Spring is here, and watching flowers sneak up through the soil in your front yard may remind you to consider growth of a different kind — the growth of your business. Regardless of whether you soared over your revenue goals the previous quarter or you took these last few months to recover from failed marketing efforts and missed opportunities, spring provides a great opportunity for overall growth. Still, it’s hard to know where you should focus your energy. To aid your efforts, here are four factors to consider for strategic business growth. 4 Factors That Might Be Affecting Your Business’s Growth This Season SPRING HAS SPRUNG Similar to nature’s processes during springtime, business growth begins far below the surface through good leadership. Your employees’ perception of you and your company’s mission is what determines their motivation to work hard. Take a step back to evaluate your leadership tactics and determine if they match your ideal business model. Often, replacing poor leaders with stronger ones makes all the difference in a company’s success. Business growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Just as leadership from your management team should be a major focus, your employees need a standard but solid foundation of knowledge in order to cultivate their own growth in the company. This spring, consider revamping your training programs by moving to online platforms that customize learning paths for each new employee based on previous employees’ feedback. 2. EMPLOYEE TRAINING 1. LEADERSHIP

The shotgun lead generation approach is both ineffective and inefficient. For years, businesses put the power of decision-making in the hands of the consumer. Companies chased after any opportunity to put their name in front of a lead, hoping their skills would lead to a conversion. It wasn’t until recently that marketing and lead generation trends flipped the tables. Rather than an organization spraying out strategies across every feasible medium, new tactics implement a more targeted approach to get the right clients. Here are three questions you can ask to qualify your prospects. Rather than taking any client they can get, a smart business owner focuses their attention toward the leads they want. It’s important to focus on candidates in a specific demographic. Doing business with those who match your requirements will result in happier clients and better relationships. HOW MUCH TIME ARE YOU WILLING TO SPEND ON A LEAD? Once you understand the type of client you’re looking for, the next step is to designate how much time you’re willing to spend fostering a connection. Just because someone fits what you’re looking for doesn’t mean they are worth the time investment. Some of your ideal prospects will demand excessive time from your team, making the cost of client acquisition even higher. Set a maximum amount of time you’re willing to dedicate to a lead, and as you get closer to that threshold, ask yourself if it’s worth continuing that relationship. You may attract the right lead, and you might be able to convert that lead efficiently, but that doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your company. Above all else, a client needs to match your core values. Your team is a direct reflection of your company, but so are your clients. By qualifying your prospects effectively, you’ll increase client retention, improve client satisfaction, and create rave followers. Rather than trying to find leads under any rock you can turn over, ask these three questions about each prospect, and you’ll find more success in business. WHAT DOES YOUR IDEAL PROSPECT LOOK LIKE? DOES THE PROSPECT ALIGN WITH YOUR VALUES?


While it is important to increase brand awareness and expand your customer base, it is essential to also increase sales potential with your existing customers. Look for opportunities to grow your profits with the customers you already have through add-on sales, customer loyalty programs, and referral business.


When you adopt policies of social responsibility, you affect your community — and therefore your customers — in a positive way. Take the month of March, for example, which is National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month. You can get your business involved in various organizations geared toward raising awareness. Through sponsoring events and donating money, you can increase your client base while simultaneously helping others.


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Get the Most out of Your Digital Home Assistant

More and more people are welcoming in the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into their spaces. Everyone knows they make great Bluetooth speakers and can tell you the weather forecast, but they’re also capable of so much more. Digital assistants can do a variety of tasks depending on how much you want them to do for you. For example, if you want your digital assistant to be heavily involved in your daily life, you can use the Echo or the Home as the core of your “connected home.” You can connect numerous compatible devices to these assistants, including other Bluetooth or networked speakers, lights, thermostats, coffee makers, refrigerators, and even microwaves. Of course, therein lies the challenge — you must have compatible devices to make a connected home efficient. And let’s be honest: Many of us aren’t going to buy a connected fridge or Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs just to get the most out of our digital assistants.

What you can do, however, is make use of what you already have. Here are some ways to put your digital assistants to work without committing to a connected home. Both the Echo and the Home make excellent communication hubs. In the home, they can be used as a local intercom system. Do you have a few Echo Dots or Google Home Minis? If you do, you’re set. You can communicate in any room where another device is present. Your digital assistant can also make outgoing calls. As long as the device has access to your contacts (or the person you’re trying to contact has an Echo or Home), you can easily make the connection. Want to send a text message? No problem! You can dictate a text to anyone in your smartphone’s contact list and send it without ever touching your phone. Aside from communications, the assistants can handle calendars, appointments, emails, and more. You can ask for information relevant to you, like “When is my flight again?” Google Home can recognize your voice, or the voice of anyone in the house, and respond accordingly. There’s no worry that anyone’s calendar or appointments will be mixed up with yours. If you want to learn more, search for tutorials online. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to what these digital assistants can do for you.


HAVE A Laugh

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Inside This Edition


Seasonal Lulls in Your Business


Strategic Growth This Spring

3 Ways to Qualify Your Prospects


Are You Getting the Most out of Your Digital Home Assistant?

Have a Laugh


Longevity in Your Company’s Practices

How to Make Sure Your Business Is Evergreen Don’t Let Your Productivity Dip From ‘Unforeseen’ Changes


The typewriter, the horse and buggy, dueling to the death for the honor of your lover — some practices just get phased out, often for good reason. Humans are constantly coming up with ways to make our lives as easy as possible. But, as with all progress, that means the old ways are abandoned in lieu of a new fad, and this can happen overnight. Don’t let this happen to your brand. Don’t let “unforeseen” changes in the marketplace sweep your product into the proverbial garbage can. While some things are simply unavoidable, there are certainly some pre-emptive measures a businessperson can take to ensure their innovations stay evergreen. Keeping your product relevant for years to come starts with research. At the beginning of your venture, make sure to look into trademarking, even for trademarks overseas. Nothing can derail your brand faster than having to change a product name after working so hard to gain traction. After you think you’ve found the right name, make sure that appropriate domain names are readily available before making your final decision. STARTING OUT

When planning for your business, you need to consider whether or not there is a market for it in the future — or in the present, for that matter. Conduct research to determine if new technology could emerge that would render your product ineffective. It’s also important to study proposed laws that could potentially compromise your operations. For example, Washington joined about a dozen states earlier this year that require paid sick leave to be awarded to employees. Since it didn’t make headlines, you wouldn’t know unless you made it a mission to be informed. Not complying with laws like these, whether out of defiance or ignorance, could result in penalties and fines. To truly make your business evergreen, you need to be thinking and planning far ahead. Any amount of time spent researching the future of your field is not time wasted. If you don’t plan for inevitable change, your business may fail before it even takes off.


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