Okay. So the economy is tanked and your phone has stopped ringing. How do you improve your business?
How do you get the phones to start ringing again? How do you get your business back to normal? How do you survive the downturn so you can keep helping consumers solve their problems in the future? After all, Consumer Law attorneys depend on consumer clients for their livelihood.
When people find themselves in financial distress, it's common for them to "hunker down" and conserve everything they can. They don't take risks they can avoid. They don't spend money they don't have to. And they get afraid of anything that they even fear can cost them money too.
For many people, that means their fear takes over. That's when they decide to put up with harassment and aggravation that, at any other time, would cause them to get angry and call a lawyer for help. Instead, afraid of unknown legal costs they are afraid they can't handle, they don't ask for help. They put up with it because they feel like they don't have any other choice right now.
Until the economy gets better, "right now" turns into tomorrow. Then, next week. Then next month. Next thing you know, it's next year. And they still aren't sure. That's understandable. But it doesn't help you make payroll.
We've been working on some ideas for you to consider ... things that can help. The first one sounds corny but it is so very true. It is, simply, to have faith.
If you're like many Consumer Law practitioners, you are struggling right now. And so are most of your clients. As hard as times are right now, and they are hard, they will pass. These times will ease up, both for you and all of us. And for our clients too, both current clients and those who have yet to call us for help.
The work that Consumer Law attorneys do, doesn't go away. It goes up and down, but it doesn't go away. New clients will call for help. How do we know? Simple. Because the people who violate the laws never really stop doing what they do. Even when they clean up their act and violate the law less often, or even if not at all, others will take their place.
What changes, in keeping with the economy of the times, is the willingness of consumers to put up with it. When personal economic security is less at risk, then the insult of unfair and deceptive conduct by a merchant is more intensely felt --- and tolerated less.
In short, consumers are more willing to find out what their rights are and less tolerant of the abuse that is heaped upon them.
So as the economy picks up, your business will pick up too. And that is true no matter all the other peripheral issues you are dealing with.
So, in tough times the first thing for a Consumer Law attorney to keep mind is that no matter how hard each day may be, have faith that each day after that will get better. It's not just a corny thing our parents said when we were kids (although they did), it's something that is true.
Now, of course there are some not-so-corny things to be doing ... but that's for next time and the days that follow. We'll talk about that next time.