How this business succeeds by putting people first

As a business owner, the people in and around your business are your biggest asset and how you value and lift them up is integral to your success. One of our clients Richard Reed Solicitors leads us by example today, here on the blog.

Richard Reed Solicitors employ 34 staff and have been offering legal advice for all aspects of personal and business life, for several decades. Sarah Reid became an owner in the business in 2009 and has led with the firm belief that people are central to a businesses success.

Join Sarah and Stephen as they gain an insight into what it is like to own a business and to navigate the successes and the lessons to be learned along the way.

Meet Sarah Reid, Managing Director of Richard Reed Solicitors

Sarah, tell us about your business, Richard Reed Solicitors

Richard Reed Solicitors are based in Sunderland and we offer legal advice for all aspects of personal and business life, across the North East and have been doing so since just after World War II. 

For businesses we focus on an holistic approach and cover all aspects of setting up and running a company, including buying and selling premises, and employment advice for business owners and employees.

For individuals we offer a range of services that include: family, marriage, property, wills and power of attorney law.

Richard Reed was established over 73 years ago by our namesake who was a well known criminal lawyer in Sunderland. He set up his business just after World War II and it has since expanded to include many other aspects of legal advice and services. Today the only area we do not cover is actually the criminal law we started in.

Central to our business is first and foremost our team. We aim to employ the right people for the right legal areas, meaning that we can offer high end services to our clients. We always strive to maintain our motto, “we are big enough to know, but small enough to care” and this people first approach makes a huge difference.

What is your biggest frustration in your industry? And how do you solve that?

I love that we are able to help people, particularly where the law is complicated to follow, but I do think there is scope for some processes to be made easier for people to manage aspects on their own. I think that’s the biggest frustration people have, is that they feel that they cannot help themselves.

Now, of course there will always be a time where you need legal expertise and that’s exactly what we aim to be here for; to guide and help people through the legalities of their situation.

The biggest frustration I have as a practitioner however, and I come from a family law background, is the adversarial approach some lawyers have, especially in married law. In other words, the last thing clients need are their lawyers arguing over technicalities, when the clients are not just legally going through a break up, but emotionally as well. We also have to remember that these families will still be involved in each other’s lives to some extent even after settlements have been reached and so I believe we should and could be much more collaborative in seeking resolutions and settlements that give the best outcome for everyone involved, not just in the moment, but long-term as well.

If you could go back to the beginning of your business, what would be the one piece of advice you would tell yourself?

When I joined Richard Reed Solicitors and became an owner in 2009, I would say I was naive. I was a lawyer, but not a manager and I didn’t really understand how to own and run a business. I just knew it was something that I wanted to do.

We were in recession back then and it was part of my job to make redundancies unfortunately. It was so hard and I still remember specific conversations today. Heart breaking.

I think, if I were to go back in time, I would tell myself to invest time in understanding what I was getting myself into and understanding it in terms of responsibilities. Crucially, I’d tell myself to learn to be a better leader. 

Tell us about your proudest moment as a business owner

On a personal level, my proudest moment was when I was asked to become a partner. I was just 29 years old. I would second that when ten years later I became MD here at Richard Reed Solicitors. Being tasked with leading a law firm that employs thirty four people is both a proud moment and a challenge I really enjoy.

I think in business terms, I would have to say that I am most proud of our people. Our team has been an amazing support to our clients and to each other in the last year, where they have had to face unprecedented pressures in working from home and the added processes we now have to go through to keep our clients and each other safe. I am tremendously proud of how they have adapted and continued to achieve high quality work. This just highlights why the people you employ are so important to your business success and we see that in the feedback we get.

What would your advice be to someone starting out as a new business owner?

Firstly understand your business and who your client base is. Work out who they are and what they need from you. Marketing is also a huge element of building your business and you have to understand how to leverage your marketing to draw in your target audience. I would always recommend that you take some time to learn these important skills.

Then key to your continued success is, when you can afford to, surround yourself with the people who are going to make your business better. This starts at the recruitment stage by investing time and energy into the sourcing stage and then again once you have the right people on board. You will want to continue to invest in them, to give them the tools they need to perform.

Remember to lead and listen.

A final word

Sarah Reid | Managing Director, Richard Reed Solicitors
Sarah Reid | Managing Director, Richard Reed Solicitors

Sarah Reid is Managing Director of Richard Reed Solicitors, a team of legal experts who advise on the law with their down to earth, friendly approach. Their team will work with you to find a resolution to your legal issue and will ensure the best possible outcome.

You can find Richard Reed Solicitors at https://richardreed.co.uk/

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