In early British World War II when the public was bracing for widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities across the country, the British government created and posted everywhere the now famous and often mimicked phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The Brits had it right, of course. The key things needed during that time was for people to stay busy, continue the everyday work that kept the economy moving and not grow weary and become apathetic or demoralized.
Once you strip away the rush on toilet paper, rescheduling of meetings, the panic of potential budget cuts and the hard to even imagine potential loss of loved ones, the cold hard facts are that in addition to taking the recommended precautions, we all need to carry on.
Here are some things you can do to help move you and your law firm’s business development efforts forward in this troubled time.
- Stay in touch – Clients, prospects and referral sources are worried just like you. Many of us have the same concerns about our jobs and our families. Reach out and offer assistance or a shoulder to cry on. Make sure you call with no agenda, just help. (See Silvia Coulter’s blog “6 Tips on How to Stay Connected and What to Say.”)
- Write – get your people writing. Many in your audience will have extra time to review posts they otherwise would not have read. Establish thought leadership. Offer solutions in the current environment and show your human side.
- Use the phone and the video conference room –Place your emphasis on activities that are usually done over the phone. For example, if you have a telephone coaching program or a monthly internal webinar in place and those projects are working well, reallocate budget to those initiatives. (hint: you may want to book conference room time now –it’s going to get busy fast).
- Work the calendar – Don’t succumb to the inclination to postpone things indefinitely. If you have to reschedule an event or meeting, try to get it on the calendar now, you can always reschedule later if the crisis continues. Keeping business moving forward is key and if you don’t grab dates now, you will be deep into next year before you can execute on your good ideas.
- Make things better –if your big initiative, event or campaign has to be postponed, this is the time to tie up loose ends, make a weak panel stronger or tighten up a mailing list. If you have more time, improve your work product, if only incrementally.
- Focus on free –A reality is that in uncertain times, some of us are going to lose some budget. As we know, when that happens, we are all still on the hook to perform. Brainstorm now about what you can do that won’t cost much. Internal webinars, sending out summaries of topics that would have been discussed on a canceled panel, connecting your lawyers to prospects, creating lists of people to contact are all good ideas.
- Get proactive –Everyone is a bit rudderless right now. Your leadership is going to appreciate the meeting you call to share your plans for this troubled time. Just knowing they have good people supporting them and keeping things moving forward while they consider overall strategy will be a comfort. When leaders are stressed, they are going to need people who identify problems and create solutions, not whining.
- Consider the future –my colleague Steve Bell points out that right now clients have immediate needs and firms will respond accordingly. However, the best firms are thinking now about the strategy six months from now and beyond. Be a part of that more strategic conversation and give input where appropriate.
And remember….Keep Calm and Carry On.