Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger wrote an article… 7 Timeless Business Lessons You Can Learn from Hollywood Screenplays, which gives a great way to think about how to build a law practice. Let’s take a look.

1. Hook – This is the element of a movie and a business that makes it unique. Your USP, your elevator pitch, your remarkable benefit. Without this, the odds for success go way down. Your audience must have a compelling reason to do business with you.

As a lawyer you must be clear as to what differentiates you from others. There are many things I am sure… so find them.

2. Plot – Plot is where the meat of the story takes place. In business, this is where you live your big story. Without a cohesive plot, the movie is a mess, and that’s true for any business as well, online or off.

How do you run your practice? Is it efficient and effective? Is it what your target market wants?

3. Characters – In these days of the micro-business, you’re definitely the bankable star that needs to carry the flick, but the people you employ and contract with are also characters in your business story. Cast them well.

No matter if you are a solo practitioner or have a firm with thousands the people you work with are the heartbeat of your practice. I agree… cast them well!

4. Action – In film, action is what characters do, while dialogue is what they say. In business (especially online), actions speak louder than words when it comes to how you treat your customers and clients. But action in business is more than that — you’ve got to actually implement those big ideas of yours, rather than waiting for someday to come along.

How do you rate your client service? Do your clients know… I mean, really know… that you appreciate their business?

5. Dialogue – While action is key, the dialogue can make or break a film or a business. Thanks to social media, we can now speak and listen to our customers and prospects. Start a real dialogue, listen and respond well, and these “outsiders” become star characters in your story, too.

Do you listen to what is important to your clients’ business and life? Listening and asking questions… creating dialogue will make you a better lawyer to your client… it’s that simple.

6. Genre – In film, genre refers to the general audience classification a particular movie falls into. In business this is comparable to your niche. If a film speaks to the wrong genre, it can fail spectacularly. It’s the same in business if you have a great product but you’re speaking to the wrong audience.

Every lawyer needs to define a niche to market to. That does not mean you will have to eliminate all other work. You can take on whatever work you would like. But when you are marketing you need to IDENTIFY your audience and speak to them directly… on their territory and in their language.

7. Rewrite – The magic in any script (and therefore any movie) is not in the first draft, but in the editing. While in business it can be bad to constantly change directions, it’s often the case that your initial story will need tweaking, based both on feedback and changing circumstances. And sometimes, you’ll need to do a total rewrite to stay competitive. The key to that challenging task is to stay ahead of the curve, and proactively modify your story rather than reactively trying to change course to save the ship.

Legal business development is an ever evolving process… create a strategy… work it… rewrite it… and repeat!