Last month with the country reopening post-pandemic, on the eve of my 57th birthday, I embarked on a bucket-list trip to the Dakotas with Wyoming and Montana tossed in because why not? Compared to the East Coast where I reside, the west is more immense in every respect: big, endless sky, wide-open roads and days that go on forever because the sun never seems to set.
But in addition to expansive natural attributes, turns out that the Dakotas are also home to some of the physically biggest attractions in the world. Like the world’s biggest buffalo monument. World’s only (and hence largest) palace made entirely of corn. World’s largest drug store. World’s largest log chair. I suppose when you’re competing for tourist traffic with Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, buffalo herds and the badlands that branding as the biggest is the best way to stand out.
Which brings me to lessons for solo and small firm lawyers. Why not find a way to brand your firm as the biggest or best or only in the world? You don’t need to wait to scale to the size of an AmLaw 100 firm but instead, define your universe more narrowly. So maybe you can’t be the biggest personal injury firm in the world, but you could say that you’re the only — and hence the biggest — PI firm that serves only female clients. Likewise, you may not ever become the biggest trademark law firm, but you can be the largest black-owned trademark firm in your city. By defining your universe as you wish, you can make yourself the focus.
But thinking big is also important for solos and smalls who often start off with more modest aspirations. Why not aspire to be the most lucrative family law firm in the state based on revenues per lawyer? Or the biggest trademark firm for solo entrepreneurs based on the number of trademarks filed? As Marian Williamson says, your thinking small doesn’t serve the world.
So be bold and make your presence known. Once you proclaim status as the biggest, you’ll grow even more.