Chasers and Magnets

Working in the legal business is hard.

Doing so as an entrepreneur of a service-based consultancy can be even harder.

On the one hand, it involves managing the business, serving clients, developing/promoting the brand, overseeing the team, and handling all the logistics and bureaucracy that make you question why you made such a choice. On the other hand, there’s the strategic factor. Do I want to open international units or not? How about expanding the partnership? How should I invest in the AI field? Should I go for a round of investment or wait? I could fill several blog posts with such questions, not just one.

For most things, I (but I should say we) have clear ideas—at least for now. However, strategy weighs heavily on my mind. It accounts for at least 40% of my professional fatigue. The team can help, of course, but if something goes wrong, we know who will be blamed: not the market, not the clients, not the difficult times, but me.

One of the struggles I face most is what I call the chaser or magnet dilemma.

Chasers are those who search frantically for clients. In the field I’m operating in, it’s pretty simple: you identify all the companies and law firms that have a specific amount of yearly revenues, that have developed or are interested in developing an innovation strategy, and that are heavily working on improving their efficiency. Then, you try to reach them, whether through cold-calling, referrals, or tailor-made strategies.

Magnets, on the other hand, attract clients. Essentially, all their efforts are focused on articulating their mission and delivering the value they’re offering. They know that if they work well, clients, colleagues, and friends—as well as employees—will talk about them. They don’t recruit; they attract.

It’s not an easy choice. Being a chaser is more convenient in the short term, can make investors happier (at least it shows them that you worked hard), and—arguably—it helps from a revenue perspective to guarantee cash flow. But I believe that being magnets can help during uncertain and crisis-like times, because of the strong bond you create with your allies, whether internally or externally. If someone actively searches for you, it means they are genuinely interested in something specific you’re offering, or in the way that you’re offering it. They really believe that you, and only you, can help them solve their issues, or that you can do it better than others.

I guess it’s one or the other, despite most professionals I know in the business would like to be both. To me, it’s like being blonde, redhead, or brunette. Each one can be beautiful, but everybody has a specific type of beauty.

To us, we decided to be magnets. When people ask me what I sell, they expect two answers: services or products, sometimes both. And when I say “I sell values,” they look at me as if I were an alien from Mars. It seems like I missed the first business class on value proposition. However, to me, and considering our mission (a human-centric legal revolution), it makes perfect sense.

We attract those who want to work with us and share our values. Competence is taken for granted, or at least it should be. But sharing the journey with your clients is not.

So, you can be a giant or a small player. A multinational, an institution, or a startup. But as long as you can afford our fees, and we can have a positive impact on society, it’s fine.

In the end, we are working for a better society.

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