Can a small court reporting firm compete with large, national firms, especially with their large sales and marketing budgets?
Some owners of small to mid-sized firms think that national companies are one of the primary reasons their business has decreased.
It’s a common topic of conversation between firm owners and court reporters. Competition has affected the market. Technology has made it easier for out-of-town firms to compete in your local markets.
- The internet can be used for marketing.
- Nationwide networks have been built for scheduling to provide the service.
- Capabilities such as videoconferencing, internet depositions, realtime streaming and the cloud make it more possible to provide reporting services throughout the nation and internationally.
With competition, in general, already being a factor, some companies have decided to become nationwide providers of court reporting services. They have focused on that goal and many have created large companies.
National companies are definitely a competitive factor in the marketplace. They have focused on growth and have become more aggressive with their sales and marketing. Some of them have a sales force with full time sales reps, along with marketing personnel. Some of them are paying lots of money for online ads (such as Google Ads). They have a much bigger sales and marketing budget than most firms. Some are contracting with large insurance companies. The insurance companies then instruct their law firms to hire the reporting firm they’ve contracted with. Even if the law firm would rather hire you, they can’t. Then, you may find the national firm calling you to provide the reporting service that they scheduled.
How do you compete?
- Accept that the national reporting firms are going to do what they’re going to do. It is really out of your control. Instead of focusing on how difficult it is to compete, think more strategically about the situation. Look at what can be learned from them. These companies are typically proactive and are consistently following a sales and marketing strategy. They are budgeting for sales and marketing, putting financial and human resources toward it. This is one of the primary reasons they’re generating the amount of business they are. If you have a small to mid-sized firm, it is important that your firm be proactive and consistent with a good strategy as well.
- Don’t try to compete with these companies with the exact strategies they use. You probably won’t be able to. You don’t have and will probably never have a budget that a large company has. Hiring sales reps and paying for lots of ads may not be a good idea for your firm. Find a marketing strategy that works for your firm, within your resources. It may take better planning than you’ve done in regards to marketing, but it can pay off. Then, proactively and consistently execute that strategy. Look for opportunities to generate business for your firm. Develop more relationships with those who can hire your firm.
Can a small court reporting firm compete with a national one? Yes. It will take some planning, learning and effort. But it can be done.
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If you’d like to speak with us about your specific marketing or business challenges and how you can start addressing them now, let us know here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Nesbitt is a small business consultant and managing partner of Strategic Business Directs. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Google+. He has also been a continuing education instructor for the Stenograph Prince Institute Center for Professional Development (a court reporting school).