Ensuring a Long Life for Your Business

February 25, 2011 | By More

At age 68, Rodney L. Walker advises young businesses to do what he is doing: change with the times.

Before he served 21 years as a judge, Rodney L. Walker set up his first business – a law office – with two electric typewriters. His son Barry was 13, and there were no cell phones or fax machines.

Now retired, Judge Walker is returning to the practice of law. But this time things are different. With a new partner, his son Barry, Judge Walker is relying heavily on the Internet for support. To start, they turned to LegalZoom’s online documents service to incorporate their new business.

“When you become a judge, you find things that work, and things don’t work. That’s what happens in the law,” says Judge Walker.

“The stuff that works and has stood the test of time, why would you want to change that?  Why go back and reinvent the wheel?”

That common sense concern for consumers – those who need legal help – is at the heart of Judge Walker’s approach to both his old job, and his new venture.  He knows about the importance of business plans, of budgeting and sticking to projections, and of smart borrowing.

But over his long career, Judge Walker developed his own brand of old-fashioned wisdom, and he offers valuable tips that should help anyone succeed in business:

Answer the phone on the first ring. Keep the doors open and be there every day. Reliability is a very big deal.

Accommodate the needs of your clients by providing as wide a range of services as possible. Be responsive. Maintain a high level of interest.

Don’t wait for business to find you, go find the business. Advertise and get your name out there. Join service clubs and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Take the time necessary to keep your family and your employees happy. And take care of your own health. “When they were little I was a fireman, I went to law school at night. The job became all encompassing. My firm grew and I took on more responsibility. At one point I looked around, and my kids were grown,” says Judge Walker. “A major regret is that I didn’t spend more time with the kids when they were growing up. Now I can.”

Be versatile. That consumer-centric advice is based on decades of responding to the needs of all types of consumers looking for legal help. “Because of my varied background, I had just about every assignment that one could have while I was on the bench,” says Judge Walker.

Adapt with the times and let technology make your job easier. Using LegalZoom to set up the father-son business makes sense, says Judge Walker. “We think this product will work for us. It’s a great product. It gets us jump-started.

“And it probably won’t be the last time we turn to LegalZoom. We will probably use the product again so we can get our clients a decent service for a good price. We won’t make any money on it, but it will develop a lot of good will, and do good for our clients.”

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Category: Business Tips & Resources

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