Thinking about starting your own peaceful divorce services business? If so, turning that dream into a reality is quite achievable. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 99% of all U.S. businesses are small businesses (less than 500 employees).
Some people have always known they wanted to have their own business, while others have grown into the entrepreneur spirit. Entrepreneurs don’t fit into one mold, but there are certain steps that all successful entrepreneurs need to take.
A good place to start is with some self-assessment. To find out if you are ready to embark on this path, try the assessment tool on Small Business Administration’s website:
If you are ready to move ahead, then identify your reasons for going into business for yourself, and what your goals are. You can start by creating a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement.
Mission Statement – Think about what it is you want to do with your business. What is your purpose in starting this business? Is it to help people going through difficult family circumstances, like divorce? Write down, as specifically as possible, what difference you want to make in the world. The Divorce with Dignity Network states its Mission as: “DWD promotes amicable divorces by helping legal professionals establish their own profitable DWD business so they can assist their clients achieve a fair, cost-effective divorce that meets their needs using affordable collaborative methods.”
Vision Statement – This is where you picture where you want your business to be in five years or so. Imagine you have time-traveled five years into the future. What will success look like to you? Describe it in terms that are meaningful to you – number of clients, what your yearly profit will be, work/life balance, being known as the expert in your field, or perhaps a combination of these. Knowing your “vision” will help you with your strategic planning. As an example, the Vision for the Divorce with Dignity Network is: “To be a successful global network of legal professionals providing amicable divorces.”
Once you’ve created these two statements, you already have the first part of your Business Plan! They will also help you identify your niche market. Knowing who your target clients are allows you to fine-tune your marketing efforts, getting your message to the right people for less cost than mass-marketing. Which segment of family law do you want to specialize in?
Business Plan – This includes objectives, marketing and advertising strategies, financial projections, and more. The Small Business Administration (SBA) http://www.sba.gov/and its resource partner SCORE http://www.score.org/ have templates and articles on writing a business plan.
Find a Mentor – Another step to success is to identify someone who can guide you through the process of starting a business. Seek advice from people who have been successful in your field. Get a sense of what their typical business days are like, and what lessons they have learned along the way. You can take advantage of free mentoring and resources available through small business assistance organizations such as SBA and SCORE (listed above), and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) http://asbdc-us.org/.
Invest in yourself –Take classes, get training, improve your skills – perhaps in your specific field, or on topics of starting, running, and growing a business.
Hone your sales pitch – Making use of your Mission and Vision Statements, come up with a succinct way of telling others about your business. Be sure to make it about who your ideal clients are and what benefits you provide to them. You need to be able to describe what “pain” you are alleviating, or what problem you are solving for them.
Build a strong network – You will need a great team to support you in your new business. Your advisor team could include a lawyer, an accountant, a virtual assistant, a business writer/editor, a marketer, a webmaster, etc. You might also make use of your network on Linked In or Facebook to let people know about your business.
Develop your marketing materials – Every business needs to have informational materials to give to prospective clients – business cards, brochures, flyers, postcards, etc. A well-written and professional looking website can bring clients to you as well.
Earlier we talked about finding your niche within the Family Law field. Have you considered specializing in helping people through non-litigated divorce? As a Divorce with Dignity network provider, you would be supporting people going through this difficult time, helping them to find the right options and services they need.
Divorce with Dignity licensee -Become a DWD license and much of what you need for a successful business is already for you. You will receive training and mentoring on how to structure and operate your business, and assistance in preparing your Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Business Plan. You will receive monthly consultation calls for the first year, a six-week marketing program developed with a certified coach, and a six-week class on local social networking with a certified coach and social media marketing/sales specialist.
The license entitles you to use the Divorce with Dignity trademark and name giving you instant brand recognition. And you will get online exposure through your own web page on the Divorce with Dignity global website. You’ll get a starter pack of printed marketing materials, including business cards, brochures, and client packets.
You can own your own “peaceful” Family Law business, but without all the risks and hassles of starting one up on your own. And as a member of the network of Divorce with Dignity providers, you can get your questions answered and learn best-practice insights to further ensure your success.
These are just some of the benefits of becoming a Divorce with Dignity licensee. To find out more, call Divorce with Dignity at 1-800-459-5556 or contact us.