Once you’re licensed to practice law, you have multiple career paths available. You can work as an attorney at a large, established law firm, where you may eventually work your way to partner status. You can choose a much smaller firm, where you may also be promoted to partner someday. Or you could instead choose the entrepreneurial path, opening your own firm and work your way toward building a client base and adding employees.

Even if you’ve worked at a law firm for years, though, you should be able to leverage that experience into running your own. There are just a few essentials you’ll need to get started.

Online Presence

At one time, if you needed a local service provider, you either asked friends for a referral or you picked up the phone book. Today’s customers overwhelmingly go online to track down a local service provider, with Google putting estimates as high as 97 percent. You need a strong online presence, complete with an informative website, reviews, and social media profiles.

Intake System

As those requests for meetings start coming in, you’ll need a way to capture and manage it all. Invest in a good customer relationship management (CRM) solution for your law firm and start collecting information on every incoming prospect. You can use this data to send marketing messages and learn more about your target market.

Informative Website

When someone comes to your website, what information is readily available? Even the most visually-appealing homepage is useless if potential clients can’t immediately figure out what services you provide and how you can help them. Invest time into researching successful websites, paying close attention to how they communicate the services they offer up front.

Feedback-Gathering Solution

Feedback is essential for ensuring your law firm meets the needs of its clients. Invest in solutions that help you capture feedback for internal use. Also try to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave reviews on sites like Google and Yelp. If a client sends a complimentary follow-up email, ask for permission to share that commentary on a testimonials page on your site. Reviews from happy clients can go a long way in boosting confidence in those considering your services.

Building any type of business comes with challenges, but with the right foundation in place, you can grow a successful law firm. Use the connections you’ve made during your time in practice to get the word out about your new firm and begin generating referrals. Soon you’ll find that leads are rolling in.