Marketing Small Business, Collaborative Style

By Joryn Jenkins

Have you ever “reimagined” your small business? If not before, did lockdown isolation start you pondering? Help you to see possibilities that otherwise evaded your perception while you were too busy to pay them any attention? Did you seize the opportunity during quarantine to earn an additional certification, another credential, an extra degree? Did you take an introductory training in collaborative divorce?

So how have you reimagined your small business? Let’s start with “Why are you a small business?”

Small businesses provide opportunities for self-starters, entrepreneurs who want a more meaningful career than a job with a big corporation. They want to have a more immediate effect, impacting neighbors and friends, clients and customers who are closer to home. A small business keeps the money closer to home, as well, enabling us, as owners and operators, to support our own communities, keeping our own neighborhoods thriving.

As local business owners, we often donate our time and talents for the betterment of our communities because we can so easily witness the impact of those contributions and because we ourselves can reap the benefits.

Our clients and customers utilize our small business services because they value the more personalized services that we can provide.

But there are other reasons as well. So how is your small business unique?

My legal acumen was always my best strength, so I garnered a reputation for being Tampa’s “lawyer’s lawyer.” Then, as I took case after case to trial, I also became known as “one of those aggressive female trial attorneys.” For years, I traded on these two talents. And I marketed them, in part, by donating time teaching workshops to lawyers who would, at some point, either need my services themselves or refer me to their friends and clients.

But it wasn’t until I became collaborative that I realized the distinctiveness that my ability to empathize provided me. Not many lawyers can, much less want to boast that they empathize with their clients. But my clients want to be heard and understood, and they want a lawyer who can help them be heard and understood by their spouse, the other parent of their children. I can do that.

That is now my unique value proposition.

Now, is that truly unique? Is there no one else who does that? Of course not. But it differentiates Open Palm Law enough from other Tampa family law firms that it is a valuable aspect of the services we offer. It is the single benefit we provide that solves an OPL’s client’s most common problem, the need for understanding and recognition. This is how I take away my client’s pain.

How do you? If you don’t already know, how do you figure it out?

Consider asking the folks with whom you work most often on your collaborative teams. Or, if you have yet to retain your first collaborative matter, ask five of your more recent clients. “What’s the one trait that separates me from my competition? Why did you choose me?”

It might help for you to list five characteristics that you believe apply to your services. Then ask your clients to choose the one that truly distinguishes you from your competitors. For example, are you known for being creative? Do you use humor in serving your clients? Do you motivate the folks you work with to get the results your clients need?

Then share that value proposition in all of your messaging. Across the board. In your tagline. On your Facebook and Linked-in pages. In your blogs, tweets, and posts. And enjoy your reimagined standing in your community.
For more on how to market your professional practice, reach out to me at or find me at Your Collaborative Marketing Coach, because your marketing is my marketing!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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