Saturday, March 30, 2019

Unique Business Models & Regulators

Business innovation and unique business models benefit other businesses and consumers. Nevertheless, there are those who hate new ideas.

Although I personally despise Facebook, nobody can dispute the business has reunited friends who would not have remained in touch but for the company, helped solve crimes, and opened up communication to third world countries. 

Yes, regulators needed to step in to protect certain aspects of users' privacy.  Nevertheless, as always, government folks can't help themselves. I see overstepping and overregulation that will do more harm than good for that company and it's satisfied users.

The victims of bad laws to come will be  Amazon and Uber. These companies are relatively young services that have changed the face of this country. I don't know anyone who hasn't used these services.  But for the innovation of the founders of these companies, we would all be worse off in one way or another. They deserve the billions they have made.

Yet, the government is hell-bent on clamping down on these businesses.
First, a few folks in Queens who have probably never come up with an original business thought in their lives decided to quash a deal after it had been awarded.  What business person in his right mind would ever want to do business in Queens as long as that crew is anywhere in that borough?

Now, the government has set its sights on Uber.  NYC is taking sides between Uber and the taxi services.  As someone who had been passed by taxis in several cities, have suffered through loud phone conversations between drivers and God know who, and smelly cabs, I'm delighted those folks have gotten their walking papers.  Government shouldn't step in to protect them by excessive regulation or by imposing high taxes on Uber riders. The cab business model is antiquated and deserves to be downsized until they change and become more consumer friendly.

I believe my business model is somewhat unique just because a significant number of cases I handle are Landlord-Tenant cases.  This Firm represents small landlords and all tenants.  These cases are 65%-85% of the Firm's business. The high call numbers have increased with Atlanta's increasing population.  My theory is to try to assist as many as possible and expect a 90%-95% appreciation rate through repeat business, referrals, and/or good ratings.  The 5-10% disgruntled class is the cost of doing business and having the unique business model I have.

Indeed, people are willing to wait for me because there aren't too many experienced landlord tenant attorneys who offer low reasonable rates. Additionally, I've been told callers do not get the comfort level they expected when they called other firms or they don't get a return call at all from other lawyers.

My business model was reaffirmed recently when someone called me for a case after a client had "gushed" about me to her on a MARTA ride. 

No, I don't have paralegals or legal assistants. This helps me to know my clients, know their stories, and establish a comfort level and relationship with them.  As a result, a scheduled one hour meeting may turn into a 1-1/2 or 2 hour meeting.

For those who want the plain vanilla attorney, don't call, write, or stop by here.  This Firm has a different business model. If you hire me and don't like it, ask for your money back and leave. There are too many clients who understand what's going on here to change voluntarily.  After 17 years of being in solo practice, I must be doing something right.  As long as allowed by regulators and the government, this model of service will continue.

I had thought about changing the model, but I talk to callers who haven't received any assistance in their plight and I change my mind. These people make too much money for legal aid, but don't make enough to pay a large retainer. These "donut hole" folks who would receive zero assistance, but for me, keep my business model alive and thriving.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Small Businesses Must Challenge Fake and Negative Reviews

I wrote about a similar topic 3-1/2 years ago on this site on September 25, 2015 - Reviewers and Readers Should be Careful.
It discussed a case that occurred as a result of a bad review and the lack of credibility some of the reviewers have when they post.

Now, this is directed toward the targets of those bad reviews.  There are ways to fight against the complainers.

Complain to the Website, but Don't Wait

If you operate a small business, and you become the victim of a fake review, complain to the website but don't wait to take action.  Google and other services  take a long time to respond.
As I have heard other attorneys state, the cures for a fake or bad review are two or more good reviews.  It pushes the bad or fake review down the timeline and decreases the star effect.

Check the History of the Reviewer

You may want to check the history of the reviewer.  Some people love to complain.  They are the perpetually offended types who are never happy.  Readers should also check the history of reviews to see if they give all 5s or all 1s, both are worthless.

Comments in the Industry for the Experience Level of that Company or Individual

Check if similar comments are made in businesses in your industry.  The second step is consistent with the motto, misery loves company.  Indeed, for my area of practice, I receive calls from potential landlord or tenant clients who complain that their current attorney is taking too much time in sending out demand letters or filing their cases.  It is no use for me to represent those callers.  So, I explain, much to the dismay of my pocketbook, that  there is a dearth of experienced tenant lawyers.  Therefore, it is unlikely the timeline will change if they retain me.  Younger, less experienced lawyers may not have that problem.  That explanation normally ends the conversation. 

Respond to the Review.

Also don't forget to respond to the review.  Point out logical inconsistencies and falsehoods.  Be factual, but firm.  If there was a shortfall, admit and move on to what you will do in the future
In addition, if it is a disgruntled or unreasonable  client or customer, avoid that type in the future.  I have an internal "no" list based on my experience with problem clients.  It's not worth the risk dealing with similar types.  Also, for certain industries, raising the rates and refusing to give breaks on pricing and payment schedules may resolve the problem in the future.  I am never shocked when the person who wanted to negotiate fees is the one that causes the most problems during the representation.

Read Good and Bad Reviews with a Grain of Salt. 
Finally, discernible people understand that there are some people who can't be satisfied. For restaurants and other retailers, it is the scam artist who says give me free food or merchandise or I will give you a bad review.  The best way to handle those people is to stand your ground.
Pretty soon, all reviews will be questionable.  One caller reminded me of that a few weeks ago. She was an older woman who said, I can't believe those things because I don't know who writes them. Although her assessment is probably true, businesses should still try to keep their star ratings up within reason.
However, I know of great attorneys who have two or three stars. I know two firms with extremely successful landlord tenant practices in Atlanta with a 1 star.   Indeed, complaints of delays in filing, delays in meetings, other delays, communication deficiencies, and the like are in the negative comments. I guess their opponents love those, but the consumer gets hurt because they are chased away from the best attorneys by  sophomoric people who many wouldn't buy a used car or a piece of candy from on a good day.  However, those are the perpetually offended who must write bad or fake reviews.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Amended Spring & Summer Hours

Spring & Summer Hours

Monday - 1:00pm - 6:00pm

Tuesday - 10:00am - 6:00pm

Wednesday - 10:00am - 6:00pm

Thursday - 10:00am - 6:00pm

Friday - 9:00am - 1:00pm

Saturday & Sunday - Closed

Holidays & Vacation - Closed