SoSmall Series: This series focuses to cover various technology topics for championing solo, small businesses and professionals in the legal industry.
Some months ago, I met a SoSmall regulatory services business owner who lamented about clients he had lost to others. A regulatory body had advertised a capacity/competency development scheme for his potential clients but limited the scheme to the preferential use of a select group of vendors. He shared that many of these vendors had far less experience than him. He could not understand how some of these vendors had even got selected. In fact, he had protested the scheme with the regulatory body. Not surprisingly, his objections did not get him the outcome he wanted: to be one of the selected vendors.
He wanted me to raise similar concerns. I told him I doubted such concerns from me would lead to a different outcome for him. I suggested to him that perhaps there may be a different way forward. How about partnering with one of those selected vendors or potentially a vendor that had a better chance at being shortlisted? In these ways, he could still continue to serve the clients he desired through this partner.
In an unrelated development, another SoSmall lawyer contacted me about a private, competitive bid he had lost to another lawyer. Informally, he had learnt that he initially won the bid. However, the client reached out to the other lawyer with a range of quotes received. Not surprisingly, the other lawyer made a decision to undercut the range; that meant he eventually lost the work. He had thought about confronting the client about it. I asked him how this would help the client or him. There may be some justification for why a client may have done that. For example, the client was returning a favour to the other lawyer. He then wrote to the client to thank them for the opportunity. Graciously, he also commended the past work of the lawyer that had secured the bid. Both the client and the competitor lawyer would eventually go on to send him other work.
Often, when things don’t turn out the way we want, there is a temptation to blame circumstances beyond our control. I believe there is more value in finding the opportunities in situations that don’t work out for us. While there is a cost associated with every competitive or client loss, there is also much to be said about building collaborative relationships with competitors and clients.
In my nascent SoSmall journey, I have often been a beneficiary of these collaborative cultures of competitors and clients. I know a SoSmall accountant that has built a collaborative community around his work. He has a regular pool of professionals to whom he cross-refers work, including me. Likewise, he is also a beneficiary of other work that these professionals send to him.
The future of SoSmall is in the collaborative relationships we build for ourselves around ourselves.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.