April 26, 2010

Investing in the young

We are a very young company but one of our long term business plan is to invest in the youngsters within our company. We did managed to inspire a few of our previous legal assistants (what lawyers who work for other lawyers are called) to open up their own legal firm and it is considered as a loss on our part. We invested in them and after a year or so, told them that we are banking on them to be an associate and then a partner, and then suddenly, due to peer pressure or better offer, they turned to us and said "Encik Khairul and Cik Suhaila, you both have taught me well but like you, I want to strike out on my own, for better or worse". We can't really stop people from being inspired by us. So, we give them our blessing, even had a few arrangements for them to 'care' for a few of our files before we can get a substitute for them.
In other word, we gamble on them and in the past 11 years, we have not really succeed in getting that one person whom we want to say we would gladly take into our fold as a partner and then, one day, leave the firm to them. Wait a minute, you asked, How old are the two of us? Okay, we are not THAT old. We are still below 40 and can even be called (under the Malaysian concept) as youth, ourselves. Then again, when is it too early to plan? It is better to have a goal in mind on retirement and succession plan as people nowadays want to retire as early as 30s in some developed country.

Yes, we are planning our retirement but in a slightly different angle. We know we will never stop being lawyers who are also business owners. We love the profession too much to retire. And I actually never heard of any lawyer who has been in the legal business (owning a legal firm, not being a legal adviser or such other profession people labeled as being lawyers too) ever retires. What we planned is simple. To pass the baton to a young lawyer where he or she manages and oversee the day to day operation of the firm while we concentrate on marketing and being those whose names are on the firm's letterhead.

As such, we have always on the lookout for these young lawyers who will be willing to take our places and be willing to be guided by us on how to make money while enjoying the profession. And yes, get paid for it. I have seen too many medium sized legal firm closing shop as its owner dies and not having a succession plan. And as one of our plan, we are also offering a law degree scholarship to one of our clerks who have been with us for quite some time and has the passion for law as much as any lawyer.

That story will be another posting altogether....

April 15, 2010

Business and tax

This is not the first time I wrote about business and tax and it may not be the last.

When anyone start a business, especially when you start from scratch and have to learn new things every other day, tax is the least of your worry. What you keep thinking of every business day is whether you will make enough money for you to take home to your family and be in business another day when the sun goes up tomorrow.

Which is where most business get stuck when they starts to make money. 

The tax consultant call it 'Tax Planning'. Most business people call it 'Why the heck should I pay the government who never really know how to spend it in the first place and ....(insert all sort of excuse/expletive here)'

Basically, people hate tax. Until they need something from a government body or institution which is funded by tax. Hence the argument in the last paragraph. No one wants to admit that the government is efficient enough to be paid anything. And taking 28% (which is getting lower by the year) of the business people hard earned money is never gonna be easy, especially if there are too many 'secrets' in the government of the day.

Again, bad tax planning is the biggest culprit in your money going to them.

If you think your company, staff and management (which is usually you) deserve to have the benefit of all your hard work, there are so many ways in doing it. Some call it cheating but most businesspeople call it 'knowledge'. Yes, there is a reason when some call knowledge as the most valuable thing you can invest in your life. 

That is why this year my staff will have the best year of their life all fully sponsored by the firm, and one person will even get a full scholarship to further her study. 

Yes, we do love you all but we hate tax more...

April 3, 2010

Why giving treats to the staff is good

There are too many stingy people in the world and lawyers are known to be up there among the other scrooge like bankers. As some lawyers do work for bankers and we do have to chase deadlines like them, we have a pressure cooker situation where everyone in the office always keep their heads down, except for the occasional shout of "I hate that client!" or "I just can't stand that 'insert profession here ranging from banker, developer or court staff'".

So, as we are moving towards a new way to engage our staff nowadays which had include allowing them to use Facebook during work, engaging clients, friends, families with them, and taking them for trips and some excursions, we have so many activities being lined up, either by them or by the firm. You may have read through this blog or noticed at the right side of this blog, the Facebook Fanpage of of our firm and the reason it is there is to promote our firm not just as a working place but as a legal firm which is different than any other legal firm.

As other business owners know as well, treating your staff to various events and treats can help you when it comes to managing your tax. You will get the benefit of tax break as any expenditure you spend on your staff can be deducted. It may not apply to all activity but you can always 'disguised' it as team-building or such other moniker, you think fit.

So, what we did last Wednesday was a trip to the bowling alley where we throw some bowling balls and then we stopped by an archery studios where everyone for the first time tried their hands in a new sport.

We had fun, although the team building part is more of a secondary nature and being able to let the staff enjoy themselves is also important as the work at the office are never really finished.

You can access the pictures here at our Facebook fan page link :

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