How Leveraging the Power of Community Can Help Strengthen Your Law Firm
by Dave Zumpano with Guy Remond
The first community we all have experience of is our family. My mom had 11 children over 12 years (no twins); think about what it took to raise those children. She was also an entrepreneur who increased the family business 37 fold over 25 years.
I asked her how she did it. She told me she had help, and spent time with other people who thought like her. She told me: “Dave, when you get married you can argue with your significant other about what color to paint the room, but you can’t argue about whether the kids are going to be baptized. You have to have the same values.”
I know what she said is true. Community consists of people who agree on core concepts and ideas.
Guidr, the online legal platform that puts local lawyers at the centre of the service, was born from community. Tech entrepreneur, non-exec and co-founder Guy Remond and I were introduced at a Strategic Coach® (coaching for growth-minded business owners) event in Toronto. My expertise as a lawyer and his knowledge and experience in the tech industry enabled us to create the Guidr platform and start revolutionizing how the legal industry operates.
You can hear my full conversation with Guy on The Legal Community Podcast.
Growing up in such a big family I know the power of community; I wanted to hear Guy’s thoughts.
The power of community
Guy: “I think people realise that they are stronger together. Businesses are beginning to see that the days of hard selling and cold calling are largely behind us. They know that building a community of like-minded people who enjoy their services or work in their sector binds people together. Communities are the modern way of selling to people. Now you sell to people by demonstrating your expertise and providing value.
We have built a successful software engineering company through demonstrated expertise. We did not have a salesperson or an account manager. We didn’t need it. We had a whole bunch of passionate engineers who wanted to shout about what they did and add value to their technical community through group talks, blogs, books, conferences, magazine articles. There are a plethora of ways to build a community.
It’s becoming more prevalent in business to create a community based on the services that you offer and people who are more likely to want that service.”
Guy is exactly right. The new way to sell is through community, and the number one word that comes to my mind is contribution. Sharing is the new selling. When you’re in a community you’re not selling, you’re sharing. People want what you have because you’re in a community of like minded people.
We are busy and overtaxed with information; I think what makes communities even more important is that when you are with a group of people like you, that gives you a sense of downtime.
My mom used to tell me that when it comes to business you have to put your head down, work hard, give people more than they expect, and the rest will happen. I’ve never looked at the value of the work that I do in terms of dollars, but rather how much it would help people. I’d ask what the impact would be on the consumer? Share your goodness, share your ideas. Abundance all starts with the communities we surround ourselves with.
One of the things that motivated me to create Guidr was the number of people who die without a will. People say they’re too busy and don’t have time to come into the office; Guidr helps people to start the process online, and at a time that’s right for them.
Lunch and learn
Legal planning for young families was important, but there was also a need to educate people in a way that was easy for them to access. We thought about how busy people are so we started to offer lunch and learn sessions where people on their lunch break can learn how to use Guidr to do their own will, health care proxy, power of attorney to match their own schedule (and at a discount).
Nothing is more important than protecting the family if a young mother or father dies.The Guidr platform is a way to help build communities, and provide access to things that were typically hard for them to access. This platform enables consumers to communicate directly with lawyers through community wide events or online training. It provides the consumer with value, and the lawyer with a wider audience.
I was keen for Guy to explain how he envisions growing the Guidr community.
Guy: “We are giving local lawyers the ability to access technology that takes a lot of expertise and money to implement. It’s very hard for small firms to be able to pay for this kind of service. We’ve spent 18 months pulling it all together from the ground up so that it’s fit for purpose.
I believe we are building a community of law firms. We’re educating them by passing on our expertise through videos and support so that the community can also help themselves progress.
If one lawyer is struggling they can post on a forum and also ask for input from others. There are all sorts of ways to use technology to democratize the ability to use these types of services to make them accessible and affordable to the whole legal community, including all the local lawyers.”
The beautiful part of Guidr is that the lawyer does not pay a penny upfront; it’s on an as-used basis. There is no cost unless their consumers are actually using it, and then it’s paid for by the revenue generated by their legal services via the platform. It’s a win for the consumer, it’s a win for the lawyer, and it’s a win for the community.
When we get feedback from the community we will be able to continue to build on it. Our organization has six core values: open, curious, aware, collaborative, adaptable, generous. I’m excited to see the Guidr community grow inline with these values.
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