Small Practice Networking

15/05/2024 00:00:00

The Law Society has produced a networking guide to help you generate referrals, grow revenue and create business opportunities.

In today’s economy, networking is a necessity for business survival. It has proven to be one of the most effective ways to generate referrals, grow revenue and create business opportunities. It is also an extremely valuable tool used to grow careers, expand knowledge, build relationships and credibility and create a supportive group of colleagues who can assist you in achieving your goals.

In particular it is often recommended that sole practitioners or smaller practices seek collaboration opportunities within the legal profession itself and with other independent, relevant external bodies and SME networks.

The Law Society has produced a networking guide to help you achieve this.

What are business networks?

A business or professional network is a group of businesses, often working in different sectors and industries, that collaborate with one another to achieve common objectives, such as information sharing, learning and development, networking, and the expansion of current contacts.

A business network is suitable for professionals from a variety of business functions, sectors and industries, and is especially important for small businesses (which may have limited other means of growing their business in an equally cost effective manner). Joining relevant business networks and membership organisations enables small businesses to interact with like-minded individuals who can be valuable sources of information and support, as well as generating business leads. Networking leads to growth and advancement.

Overall, a network provides a cost-effective way of promoting yourself and your practice. Whether face to face at meetings, events or training days, or through online networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter, business networking will enable your practice to develop mutually beneficial relationships with other contacts.

Benefits of joining a network

The range of services available across the different networks can be of benefit to your practice and can assist you in successfully meeting the growth goals that you have set for your practice in your growth strategy. Many of the challenges associated with running a smaller practice can also be reduced through the services and supports offered.

Examples of the benefits include the following:

  • Opportunity for learning: certain networking or ‘knowledge sharing’ opportunities undoubtedly assist practitioners develop their knowledge and skills in a particular area.

  • Partner for scale: strategic partnerships and collaboration with other legal practices or another professional service firm give rise to the potential to win larger tenders or cases.

  • Reducing isolation: networking can help find potential partners or collaborators for your practice.

  • Collective problem solving: many smaller practices will face similar problems and issues to their peers, and can share ideas on how to overcome them.

  • Financial benefits: practices can achieving cost reductions through sharing resources or even office space.

  • Human resource benefits: effective networks can offer development of skills and abilities, greater access to employees, access to specialists in different sectors, and information sharing.

  • Business referrals and new business opportunities: building a network and developing professional business relationships can also increase the number of clients you source through recommendations or referrals.

Joining a network provides smaller practices with an opportunity to share experiences with SMEs from other industries, as well as listening to their experiences, opinions and views. It could also result in your practice implementing business practices it might not have considered previously. By working together, network members can discuss different methods they have used to address challenges that face their business.

Resources

The networking guide produced by the Law Society will provide you with an understanding of the benefits of joining business networks and the services and supports provided. You will also find information on maximising memberships, as well as potential networks that your practice might consider joining.