Not a week goes by when a new advocate tells me he or she plans to establish their new advocacy practice as a non-profit organization.
“Why do you think you want to establish your practice as a non-profit?” I ask.
“Because then I won’t have to ask patients for money,” is the nonsensical response.
“Then where will your money come from?” I continue. “How will you sustain your business?”
“That’s why I called (or wrote to) you!”
Say you need to find a lawyer to help you draw up your contracts for your new advocacy practice. Which experience would you choose?
Experience #1: You do a search and you arrive at Attorney Option #1’s website. You see friendly, professional faces. You see testimonials from happy clients. You see descriptions of services, one of which is “Legal Support for Small Businesses”… Wow! Perfect! But you search and search and don’t see a phone number. In fact, the links on the website don’t indicate where you can go to find contact information at all. You finally arrive at a page with a contact form you can fill out.
Experience #2: Your search also comes up with Attorney Option #2’s website. It’s not pretty. In fact it even looks a little dated. You do see that this attorney also supports small businesses. And – large and clear on that homepage – you see this attorney’s phone number. There is also a link to “Contact Us” right at the top of the page which takes you to a map to her office and a contact form.
So which one, to you, is the better experience?
Last week, my neighbor sent an email to a group of almost 50 people. She asked us to donate to a specific charity in honor of a neighbor who had died because she thought it would be a nice thing to do. She wanted them all to send their checks, made out to her. She would cash them and send one large donation.
There are so many things wrong with her method! As well-meaning as she was, she now has people angry with her for several reasons. NOT because she was trying to spread generosity, but because the way she did it was so questionable.
I realized it was a good topic for our TIPS because you never want to make a similar mistake! Both her message and the mechanics were problematic. So let’s take a look.
You have a website. You are listed in multiple directories. Your Facebook page and Twitter feeds stay active. You spoke to the Rotary Club and your local Chamber of Commerce. You send an email newsletter once a month to your list of subscribers. And you blog your little fingers off every other week.
A good estimate of your marketing time spent might be 20 hours a month. A good estimate of your marketing costs might be an average of $200 a month.
It’s worth every penny and every minute because you stay busy with new and existing clients…. right?
Maybe not! How do you know?
Not long ago, an email arrived from an advocate with a flyer attached. Her email contained one line, “I wanted you to see it. All thoughts appreciated.”
Then, a few days later, I received a voice mail message from someone else, “Call me back. 555-456-7890”
In both cases I was reminded of my ex-husband….