By: Jeremy M. Evans, @JeremyMEvansESQ
Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®
In his capacity as an Guest Contributor for Front Office Sports, Attorney Jeremy Evans with California Sports Lawyer®, has written an article about ways to be an excellent sports and entertainment attorney.
In previous articles with Front Office Sports, we discussed “The Top Five Ways to Connect with People without Expectations," then, the ways to build your brand and career in "Finding Your Way," and finally the importance of learning from those who have come before us in "From Volunteer to the Front Office: Hard Work and Opportunity Determines Success."
More recently, we discussed the “Three Things You Must Know to be an Excellent Sports and Entertainment Attorney.”
In this article, we will discuss the “Three Ways to Grow your Business Brand and Clientele.” Here we go:
1. GROW & MAINTAIN A TERRIFIC REPUTATION IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND BEYOND
Your reputation is everything in business and life. It will follow and precede you wherever you find yourself. That is why it is so important to maintain your reputation in a genuine and positive manner. If you are a student, just getting started, or thinking about getting started, you may be thinking that building a business brand and your reputation does not apply. This kind of thinking could not be further from the truth.
Your reputation begins the second you become recognized as a responsible human being who can make decisions in business and life. Growing up, often family and friends referred to me as the class clown and it would not be surprising to see me sitting in a classroom corner with a dunce cap. Over the years, through experiences and wisdom, your personality and actions do and should change. You grow as a person and that is positive as long as you are constantly learning. An experience is never truly bad unless you fail to learn something from it. Class clown is not my title anymore, but comedy left an impression on me as the key ingredient of timing in comedy became a skill to be used effectively and genuinely.
Practically, you grow your reputation through your actions. Through your actions, your involvement, consistency, responsiveness, and ability to deliver on your promises and promptness, your reputation will be created and established. A terrific reputation will provide you with more opportunities to repeat good actions, thoughtful community involvement, better responsiveness, and delivery on your promises and promptness. Through these new-found opportunities, you will have the chance to grow your business brand and clientele.
2. ESTABLISH A CONSISTENT & RESPECTABLE PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is the follow-up to in-person contact. You see, nothing will take the place of meeting people and establishing genuine relationships with business partners, colleagues, and clients in person. Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are but platforms in electronic form to extend your reputation and to remind your connections of what you do and why you are passionate about it.
Social media should never be any of the following things: (1) a place to speak bad about someone else (actually as my late grandmother would say, “If you cannot say anything good, do not say anything at all”), (2) sharing information that is too personal, without factual basis, or that is too based in a direct sales pitch. Notice how the above things are the first things people complain about when they either do not have social media accounts or when thinking about closing their accounts (or blocking/unfollowing certain individuals). It is funny how the rules of in person contact got lost in cyberspace and the internet world. The Golden Rule and not speaking about religion and politics at the dinner table apply to social media as well.
Of course everyone makes mistakes and that is human. As Alexander Pope wrote in An Essay on Criticism, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” The point here is that you create a reputation in person, follow-up via social media, and do it consistently.
Practically, show consistency when using social media like you would in person. Form a schedule, e.g., Monday through Friday, between peak hours (generally 7:00-9:00 a.m.), share an article on a topic that is of interest of to you and about your area of business. If you want to learn more about peak times to share, here is a great article on optimal times depending on the medium used by Rachel Gillett with FastCompany.com.
Make sure when sharing information to keep your personal and business accounts separate. For example, do not share a picture from a family vacation via your business account(s). However, remember that some social media platforms allow you to share information in multiple places at once, which saves you time and effort. Of course, writing your own content is both an exercise in learning and becoming an expert in a subject matter that can be shared with others. In the end, focus on sharing ideas, then as a secondary matter, moments, if done with taste and tact.
3. BE RESPONSIVE & AVAILABLE
In the legal world, a common complaint against attorneys is the lack of communication and responsiveness. This is a sad fact considering that attorneys attend law school to learn how to communicate better, while learning and speaking a new language, e.g., the law. However, the simple rules of life translate to business.
How do you feel when someone ignores you? Terrible and helpless, confused and upset, are some reasonable emotional responses. In your life and business, make the effort and deliver on being the person who is responsibly responsive.
Practically, being responsibly responsive is in the same ballpark as being responsibly available. Somewhat preaching to the choir here, you must adjust genuinely how and where you respond. Sometimes a badly worded email is better left unsent. Sometimes a phone call is better returned than answered. In the same thought, your time is your money so use it wisely. You cannot devote your talents to everything or you will soon find yourself tired and deprived of happiness.
In thinking about your next steps, remember the "Three Ways to Grow your Business Brand and Clientele." To recap: grow and maintain a terrific and genuine relationship with your community and beyond, then build upon that reputation through social media, and finally be responsibly responsive and available. There are few guarantees in this life, especially when building your business and personal brand and clientele, so follow up the above with some thankfulness and the repeat button.
This article originally appeared on the Front Office Sports website (August 10, 2016).
About the author: Jeremy M. Evans is the Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing sports and entertainment professionals in contract drafting, negotiations, licensing, and career growth. He provides legal advice and general counsel services for businesses, which includes development, contract drafting, review, negotiations, protection, and compliance. He is the Director of the Center for Sports Law & Policy at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Sports Law. Evans is an award-winning attorney and community leader. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com or via his website: www.CSLlegal.com.
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