While it can be a distinct advantage to earn your master of laws degree, earning that degree alone will not ensure you are successful in your chosen career. As an aspiring tax attorney, choosing wisely from the many tax llm programs available to you today will certainly set you on the right path towards career success, but there are other factors that can also determine how well you fare as a professional in comparison with your peers.
In particular, if you plan to hang out a shingle and set up shop as a small business owner, you will need to obtain a certain set of skills to keep your business operating profitably even as you maintain your licensure and stay up to date on the latest tax law statutes and laws. Learn how to lay a firm foundation as a small business owner to attract and retain new clients, grow your business, network and ensure career success.
What to Do When You Start
After you obtain your tax llm degree, your first task on the road towards establishing a successful small business is to understand that you will likely need to wear many different hats all at the same time in the short term in order to succeed in the long term. Current statistics indicate that more than half of all small business will fail within five years of opening their doors and only one out of every 25 businesses will still be in existence within a decade of opening their doors; these are daunting statistics, indeed. To avoid becoming a statistic yourself, you will need to learn about basic business skills including administration, marketing, sales, networking, accounting, bookkeeping, management, hiring and firing, time management, and other skills as well to ensure your business is operating profitably.
Most small business owners have to shoulder the lion’s share of these tasks on their own until the business becomes profitable enough to hire employees to take on some or all of these tasks on a regular basis. You may be able to get away with hiring a part-time or contract employee to do basic routine tasks such as bookkeeping and payroll, so you can focus your efforts on networking, marketing, and serving the needs of your clients. It is best to go into your new business enterprise with an emergency reserve of cash that includes enough operating capital to sustain you for six to twelve months. While some business owners find this is not possible, the lack of back-up capital is also a primary reason why new businesses that encounter common difficulties and cannot survive long enough to become profitable.
Understanding How to Brand Yourself
You will also need to have a clear grasp of how to market your services to prospective clients. In short – why should they hire you? What do you, as a highly specialized tax attorney, bring to the table that other generalist professionals with confusingly similar titles, such as accountants, cannot offer? If you can afford to set rates that are competitive with other professionals who do not have as much to offer as you do, you stand a good chance of winning clients who will be likely to find a sales pitch of getting “more for their money” very attractive. So you will want to be able to outline clearly for prospective clients all the different services you can offer, including facilitating the sale or purchase of a new business, preparing for tax audits, reducing their annual tax burden, filing tax forms properly and by the due dates to avoid costly penalties, avoiding IRS audits, answering tax questions, representing their firm for legal issues, choosing or changing a business structure, and other common tax and law-related issues. These are all areas where you can save your clients money and time over the long term by becoming a valuable partner to them in the areas of taxation and law.
Don’t Underestimate Being a People Person
Finally, it is critical to remember that your clients will be hiring a person as well as a set of professional services. Maintaining a customer-focused, friendly attitude, cultivating an outgoing and engaging personality, and developing relationships with prospects and current customers can go a long way towards generating satisfied clients and additional word-of-mouth referrals to keep your business growing and profitable. By fully understanding what it will take to make your small business a going concern over the short and long term, you will be well positioned to succeed in achieving your career goals as a tax lawyer.