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How much good does it really do to shave overhead?
This is what I wrote for the
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There is a section in The E-Myth Revisited
(which every business owner should read) discussing overhead — that is, the expenses you must incur to keep your business running. The author recalls planning a consulting business to help enterprises shave overhead. His initial research looks promising — Company X could save $1 million a year by using refurbished toner cartridges instead of new! — until he realized that the savings were so small as to be not worth the time it would take to make the changes necessary to save the money.
I think solo and small-firm lawyers may place undue emphasis on this sort of cost savings. Sure, going with an e-fax service
saves money (for me, it was something like $60/month). But look at the big picture. Saving $720 a year is great, but if $720 will make or break your firm, you have got bigger problems. $720 should not be enough to matter.
The same thing works in reverse. Let's say you would like to be able to scan documents, but you just aren't sure you want to spend around $430 on a ScanSnap
. Why the hell not? If $430 will be a hardship for you, your firm is in trouble. What if that were the price of a deposition transcript in a contingent-fee case? If you need it, you spend the money.
All this is to say that I think we (especially when we are just starting our firms) sometimes over-sweat the small stuff. Neither saving $720 with an e-fax nor getting a ScanSnap should be a big decision. Will it improve your practice and increase the level of client service you can provide? If yes, do it. If not, don't worry about it. You are wasting time worrying when you ought to be working.