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marketing

Outsourcing image

The How, Which & Why of Outsourcing for Lawyers

1024 698 Jenny Holt, Freelance Writer

Outsourcing image

In the increasingly competitive legal industry, law firms are being pressurised into streamlining processes and reducing costs to increase efficiency and keep their profits viable in the long term. Outsourcing certain tasks is the perfect way to achieve this, improving the productivity of your firm and eliminating wasted time and unnecessary expense. With over 2 million jobs being outsourced from the US each year, this is a growing trend that law firms, like most enterprises, need to take advantage of. But knowing which tasks to outsource and which to keep in-house can be tricky. Here are some of the ones that you can safely outsource to help your business thrive.

“Outsourcing your marketing is simple: you locate a freelancer or marketing company who are experts in marketing for law firms, and you employ them to promote your business. In the long term, this is a far more cost-effective way of handling your visibility, both online and off.”

Marketing

Although the internet is inundated with ‘how-to’ articles on how to market your business, the truth is that in order to drive a truly successful marketing campaign, you need to have either a lot of time or plenty of experience. Most lawyers have neither. Take video marketing, for instance, which now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic online and is swiftly growing in importance and influence: do you have the time, equipment, and expertise to shoot and produce footage to put on your website or promote through social media channels? Outsourcing is simple: you locate a freelancer or marketing company who are experts in marketing for law firms, and you employ them to promote your business. In the long term, this is a far more cost-effective way of handling your visibility, both online and off.

The nuts and bolts

Small firms especially can really benefit from outsourcing the small but time-consuming tasks that can eat into a productive work day. This can be anything from payroll and financing all the way through to food services and mail. These are the tasks which significantly reduce the number of hours we have to spend on the most important and most profit-yielding activities: the ones that, as lawyers, you’re trained and qualified to do.

Legal and administration

There’s also a growing trend for law firms to outsource certain legal and administrative tasks to other firms, either in the US and with lower rates than themselves, or offshore to India or elsewhere. There are entire companies dedicated to taking on these assignments, offering firms the ability to provide customers with 24/7 provision, and the financial benefit of focusing on client procurement and service.

sum of its parts

Malta: Fund Distribution Is The Sum Of Its Parts

1024 573 Ken Carmody, Finscoms

sum

Fund distribution plays an enormous role in the success of an investment fund. But what often overlooked elements play an enormous role in successful fund distribution? The answer is fund marketing and fund communications.

Strong marketing and communications strategies create strong distribution. Cut distribution open and it bleeds marketing and communications. Most asset managers refer to fund distribution as fund marketing but it’s vital to differentiate and understand each component.

Fund Marketing
Traditionally, fund prospectuses are seen as the main way to reach the investor by fund managers. And often oblige by sending out large, bland, monotonous and indigestible documents. On average, institutional investors receive 45 prospectuses a quarter and 10% receiving more than 100. Only 15% of these get passed the initial filtering stage. Less than 0.2% are actually successful in attaining investment. Pdf’s are being ripped from emails by many company firewalls and the hassle for the investor to have the pdf released becomes another boundary to penetration. Is it any wonder we are starting to hear slogans such as ‘Death to Pdf 2016!’ and ‘We are pdf deaf!’. In this post AIFMD world using ‘push’ marketing across global markets is an expensive way to attain very low penetration.

To overcome you must adapt. A dynamic fund marketing strategy will steer the fund toward reverse solicitation, inbound rather than push marketing. Spray and pray marketing is not effective. Those achieving the highest rates of penetration now rely on a strong brand and make the most of their marketing assets such as their website and reach prospects through video, webinars and social media. Many funds build a website on the premise that ‘my competitors have one so I got one’. The function of the website must be addressed. It can be a revenue generator, a communications tool, a value add to clients/investors. Asset managers are adopting social media as regulatory groups recognise it as suitable means to communicate. Social media can help create communities, promote without bombarding, become a thought leader or a subject authority.

Fund Communications
A fund is required to put out communications to stakeholders to satisfy fiduciary, regulatory and legal obligations. You don’t have to see this as an administrative drudge; a fund can use these obligations to strengthen your relationship with the investor and other parties. Change communications strategy regarding compliance to an open, transparent and well designed communication to investors. For example, with 54% of investors unhappy with the level of provided transparency compared to 78% of fund managers who believe they provide enough, create competitive advantage by addressing this clear disconnect. Speak the investors’ language, let them see how well the fund is being managed and see the relationship solidify. There is plenty of scope for this:

  • NAV publication
  • Meeting requirements in relation to Key Investor Information Documents (KIIDS) being provided to investors before they invest in a UCITS
  • Publication of semi-annual and annual financial statements
  • Shareholder notifications
  • Notices for Shareholder General Meetings
  • Key performance indicators such as investment performance versus benchmark

The fund’s message must be consistent across all mediums to avoid confusion and keep focus on the core message. The smart fund manager will deliver messages about updates and services through social media, the website, intranets, extranets. It is advisable to communicate regularly and stay in line with the investment philosophy and the strategy of the firm, this helps provide a ‘true to label’ comfort level for the client/investor. At all times funds must ensure that their communications are fully compliant.

Fund Distribution
The asset manager’s distribution strategy should include fund marketing, fund communication, knowledge of distribution channels and regulation.

Knowledge of the distribution channels per targeted jurisdiction is of course vital for building an effective distribution strategy. Each market differs from the next in terms of public offering listing, regulated public distribution, private placement, local distribution networks, regulatory requirements and more. The distribution network is still viewed as complex and somewhat opaque. A fund should make sure to complete full due diligence on the distribution network and on would be distribution partners. It is essential that the transfer agent and distributor used have solid know-your-customer and anti-money laundering procedures. From there the fund needs to grow a strong relationship with the local distributors and agents on a business and operations level.

Complying with local regulatory requirements is an area that needs constant supervision as regulations are constantly changing. Asset managers working with fund lawyers will need to get to grips with regulatory requirements on local agents, eligibility, investor disclosure, registration and continued registration, and marketing.

An adept asset manager will be looking at what the future holds for the industry and will have the fund prepared. For the near future in the asset management sector we can see the following:

  • An almost complete move from the traditional style of marketing to digital marketing. And the ‘Death of PDF’ in 2016.
  • An even greater evolution of fund products to match investor demand
  • The emergence of new distribution channels
  • The wide use of video to engage prospects taking into account the IT savvy nature of the ‘next generation of investors’

In Summary
Fund distribution is not complete without fund marketing and fund communication. These two components are often neglected and can result in the fund making a negative impression unbeknownst to the fund manager. In a congested sector, of over 25,000+ funds, investing in marketing and communication post AIFMD is critical. It is no coincidence that the most successful funds have strong brands and use communication strategy as a competitive advantage. Having a strong brand and identity helps strengthen the trust between investor and the fund. Strong communication strategy strengthens the relationship between the investor and the fund. Thus building a solid platform to increase the reach of fund distribution.

delegate teamwork

How you can be more productive

1024 830 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

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If you want to work more productively you need to recognise what you’re good at and what someone else could do better and more effectively than you.

You might think that you don’t have anyone else to delegate to or you can’t afford to employ someone else but think again. If someone else can do the task quicker and cheaper than you, you shouldn’t be wasting your time doing it.

Your time is far better spent on tasks that are your core skill or that only you can do and that you get paid for.

These days it’s even easier with virtual, flexi-time and part time working.

Delegate the right tasks, at the right time to the right people.

Delegate …

– when you’re not the best person for the job.
– tasks that someone else can do faster, better and more cheaply than you.
– tasks you don’t like doing or aren’t your main skill set.
– routine tasks – enabling you to do more complex or important tasks.
– jobs for which you’re overqualified. If you’re a highly paid legal adviser why would you spend your time answering the phone, doing admin rather than doing your job.
– any tasks for projects for which you need specialist advice – you’ll save time and money if you get someone with the skills to do the job in the first place.

You’ll take longer to do a task when it’s not your area of expertise.

– A book-keeper to keep your accounts up to date.
– A virtual assistant to deal with paperwork, invoicing or emails.
– An admin person to help with filing and data entry.
– IT support to deal with technical issues.
– Web designer to update your website.

Double the output – when you delegate a task – someone else can be working on your workload while you get on with something else.

This doesn’t just apply to the work environment – you might feel you don’t have time to do everything at home but you can delegate and outsource your tasks there too.

– Cleaning and simple household chores.
– Gardening – whether it’s mowing the lawn once a week or a real clear out
– DIY tasks – the one’s you always put off.
– Cooking – stock up the freezer.
– Errands
– Travel and holiday research and bookings

How much time do you spend researching your next holiday, making travel arrangements, comparing prices for insurance or products you want to buy, even trying to find out the latest solutions and fixes for computer or IT problems.

Save time and outsource these tasks. There are companies like Sooqini and PeoplePerHour you can outsource one-off and regular tasks for a lot less than your hourly rate.

no delegate

Know what your time is worth – what’s the hourly rate you charge for your work or that you get paid?

If you don’t know your hourly rate, here’s a quick way to work it out:

How to calculate your hourly rate:

Your Annual salary/income

Weekly rate (Annual salary / no. of working weeks – 47

Hourly rate (Weekly rate / no. of working hours – 35

Your REAL hourly rate

Annual salary/income

Annual holiday (days + 8 Bank Holidays)

Total Working days (260 – holidays)

Average working week (days)

Average working week (hours)

Unbillable hours in a week:
• Admin time (paperwork, emails, accounts)?
• Marketing time (networking, calls, online etc.)?
• Selling products
• Travel time
• Sick days (you/family)

Billable hours in a week
(Client meetings, case work, planning, preparation, follow-up, research etc.)

Annual income / billable hours

Actual hourly rate