Take This Idea: Commerical Mediators Wheel & Deal with Entrepreneurs
Finding the right niche is critical to your success as a mediator. While most folks can identify a broad niche, say family or workplace, it's those who dig a bit deeper that find the gold.
Reading NY Report while in bed this morning I saw a great article on Buy/Sell Agreements. Entrepreneurship is fraught with conflicts, and one of the stickiest is when owners want or need to sell. Great, I thought- this article will make excellent content for Mediation Mensch.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I noticed that the author's name- Richard Lutringer- a member of ADRPracticebuilder.com! Richard Lutringer is counsel at the New York City office of Chicago-based Schiff Hardin LLP, a full-service law firm. His primary areas of concentration are corporate transactions and mediation.
Here's what Richard has to say about this opportunity:
- Alternative Ways to Resolve a Buy-Sell Dispute
Litigation and, recently, arbitration, the traditional means of dispute settlement, are expensive, time-consuming and unpredictable. More and more businesses and their attorneys are choosing to use a third-party mediator to assist them in resolving contentious issues in one or two days, leaving good relationships and bank accounts intact. Mediators, usually paid on an hourly or daily basis, are trained in negotiation and dispute-settlement skills and have no stake in the outcome. Lists of experienced commercial mediators are available through many state and federal courts as well as such organizations as JAMS (jamsadr.com) and the American Arbitration Association (www.adr.org).
What does this mean to you?
For all those workplace and commercial mediators who are chasing corporate clients, this means you may want to look at the small business market instead. Serving newly formed and established partnerships can be a very lucrative business for mediators.
The variety of disputes that can arise within a partnership are almost unlimited. A mediator could specialize in partnership formation or charters, and assist the entrepreneurs to define and standardize their relationship, responsibilities and decision-making abilities. Once, I worked with partners in a three person law firm who had formed on a handshake and then got stymied when one partner decided not to practice law any longer. If they'd taken the time at the beginning, the end of their partnership would've been much smoother and less costly.
You could specialize in buy/sell agreements as Richard suggests. Valuation is a very emotional issue. It would be important to have a third party to help process hard feelings and make a space for good judgment to prevail.
How do you find clients?
The old fashioned way: research. Happily there are some new technology tools to make this process easier. Turn to Hoovers.com or OneSource.com to get a big picture of what companies meet your target market criteria, then use business social networking sites like LinkedIn to make connections.
Then do a Google alert for your small group to understand what the company is doing or needs now. It won't guarantee that you'll get the business but you'll be much better position with a warm introduction and a sense of the company's current needs.
Many thanks to Richard Lutringer for leading the way...
Try. Fail. Learn . Grow! Dina
PS The Workplace Learning Circle, which will discuss these types of opportunities, launches on Monday, Dec. 10th. Visit my website for more details.