Being a client

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo

Aside from law practice, I also run a retail business. It may be an added load to an already busy law practice but, I have to say that it helps a lot, especially when you have businessmen as clients. It makes you understand the mindset of an entrepreneur, why he does the things he does, why he gives in even to an unreasonable demand of say, an employee, because he does not want to be saddled with a lawsuit and just concentrate on running his business and hopefully make money.

There are other learning opportunities as well: you are forced to learn business, to read financial statements, analyze balance sheets, profit and loss, cash flow. Since a retail business is labor-intensive (mine employs more than 30 people), you have a veritable laboratory to test how management principles work, why leadership and people skills are absolutely required in business, and why sometimes, you may have to suffer short term loss for a long term gain, especially when dealing with suppliers and vendors.

But most important to a service provider like me, I get to experience how it is to be on the other side of a professional relationship -- I get to be the client of another professional, an accountant for instance, and I feel how it is to be frustrated because he is not returning my calls, or answering my email.

There was even a time that I woke up to an urgent matter - a tax audit - and I had to rush in consternation because he did not inform me about it beforehand, notwithstanding that the situation should have been foreseen.

It will make you do a self-examination: do you really provide your clients with the service that they deserve? Or, is this the same frustration that you give them in your relationship?