"Gross monthly billings have grown to exceed the billings in my L.A. practice and I’m only working four days per week now"
“As an attorney in Los Angeles before I moved to Northern California, I taught courses for SCORE and referred clients to SCORE, so I knew the excellent help that they provide to small businesses,” says Barbara Frantz, partner in the law firm of Allen & Frantz, LLP in Brentwood, California. From 1987 to 1998, Frantz ran her own successful firm in L.A. that provided general counsel services to small businesses. Most of her clients were small computer software and internet related companies with revenues that typically ranged from $1 million to $3 million per year. In 1997, Frantz won the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Advocate Award for the western U.S. region. In addition, she was very active in the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), wrote articles for Entrepreneur magazine, and gave courses and workshops to SCORE clients about business law.
Frantz and her husband often traveled to their vacation home on the Sacramento Delta near Brentwood, California in East Contra Costa County. In 1998 she gave up her practice in L.A. and with her husband permanently relocated to Brentwood.
From 1998 to 2003 Frantz was General Counsel for Vanguard Integrity Professionals, where she was responsible for corporate organization; mergers and acquisitions; employee issues and contract administration. When the owner of Vanguard decided to relocate the business out of the area in 2002, Frantz decided to open her own legal practice in Brentwood rather than move. “I quickly learned that the market for legal services in East Contra Costa County is very different from the market in metropolitan L.A., and you have to market yourself differently,” says Frantz. Having worked with and referred clients to SCORE in the past, she decided to seek SCORE’s help in dealing with this challenge.
In early 2003, Frantz met with a SCORE counselor, Charlie Askanas, to map out a marketing plan. “Besides helping with the marketing plan, Charlie helped me focus my resources and time as well as set priorities, so that I wouldn’t spend a lot of money before it was necessary,” adds Frantz. She met with Askanas monthly over a six month period and began quickly to see positive results. In the three years since opening her Brentwood practice, Frantz says that “gross monthly billings have grown to exceed the billings in my L.A. practice and I’m only working four days per week now.” Her client base is largely developers, construction contractors and small manufacturing companies versus the software and internet clients that she had in L.A. Frantz has been able to achieve another goal also. In the last year she has sustained her monthly billing level while cutting the number of active clients by fifty percent. This allows her to develop closer relationships with her clients and also gain additional free time for family and other interests.
Frantz now has a partner, former Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge, John Allen. The firm employs a paralegal, legal assistant and two additional administrative staff. For three out of the last four years Allen & Frantz, LLP has won the “Best of Brentwood – Attorneys” award for exemplary contributions to the local community.
Frantz sums up her experience with SCORE by saying, “SCORE has been invaluable in helping me to grow a successful business. They have listened to what is important to me about my goals and helped me create a business framework that is consistent with my values.”