Being a business lawyer gives you an advantage in business. Not only do you understand the law, you also understand commerce. I think this is why our clients love working with our team so much. We are a bridge between the two, and help to make business happen.
But there are other things needed when building a business. Here are some of my observations after 5 years of MIL.
It starts with this. Having such a deep belief in what you’re doing that no amount of challenge or criticism can knock you off your path. The world is full of people who will doubt and say no. That doesn’t make them bad necessarily. Who knows what experiences cause them to believe as they believe. Listen respectfully but know that their experience has no bearing on yours. What happened for them doesn’t have to be true for you. Keep your head down and your heart fully engaged.
Boldness v braveness
There is a wonderful saying by Goethe that goes like this: ‘Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now’. I’ve always loved this. Beginning something is exciting. But there is another dimension to business. Because once the first flushes of luck and excitement dissolve, you need staying power. This requires braveness. Holding your nerve and having the spirit to withstand the challenges and the curve balls.
If you believe in an abundant world – which I know can be hard to do sometimes – then you begin to look at competition in a different light. It’s less about what they’re taking from you (market share, first mover advantage and so on). Much more about how they can make you sharper and better. Competitors can be your best teachers. Learn from them what you can with honour, but never forget that you’re running your own race. Creating your own business and no two are ever the same.
Don’t give up
Entrepreneurship can be hard. There is no rule book. No one way of doing things that guarantees success. It’s a constant, iterative process of learning, creating and refining. Of falling and getting up. And it’s being able to do this while the ground beneath you shifts and shakes, because your personal life and the business world are constantly changing. Each day throws up new challenges and tests you in different ways. These challenges can be hard when they arise, and hard as you’re working your way through. But if you tough it out, then on the other side, you are so much richer for it and your business will be too.
Call me a dreamer, but I always believed in giving people time irrespective of their wealth, privilege or status and in treating everyone from every walk of life with the same warmth and respect. The most brilliant mind in the world today could come from the most humble beginnings. That young girl at the checkout, that barista at your local coffee shop. How can we know what genius lives within them. There is a spark somewhere in everyone. If we can, let’s help them to burn brighter and certainly never be the reason they’ve dimmed. The people you surround yourself with as you build your business are woven into your story. Value them, treat them well and your business may give you something you hadn’t planned for when you set out. It may give you a few great new friends. It certainly has for us.
Lastly, take time to celebrate the good moments. A client you never thought you’d win. Kind words from someone on your team. The milestones as they pass. I think I’ll do a better job of this in next the 5 years than I did in the 5 years which have gone by in a blink. Which have exhausted me but also somehow uplifted me too.
Ed and I wholeheartedly believe that business can make the world a better place. And underneath it all, it’s really this sentiment that drives us every day. Whatever business you are building, we wish you our very best with it. And look forward to our paths crossing.
Written Twiggy Harding
Co-founder at My Inhouse Lawyer
One of our values (Growth) is, in many ways, all about cultivating a growth mindset. We are passionate about learning, improving and evolving. We learn from each other, use the best know-how tools in the market and constantly look for ways to simplify. Lawskool is our way of sharing with you. It isn’t intended to be legal advice, rather to enlighten you to make smart business decisions day to day with the benefit of some of our insight. We hope you enjoy the experience. There are some really good ideas and tips coming from some of the best inhouse lawyers. Easy to read and practical. If there’s something you’d like us to write about or some feedback you wish to share, feel free to drop us a note. Equally, if it’s legal advice you’re after, then just give us a call on 0207 939 3959.
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