Your Mediation Practice: Wishful thinking or Sustainable Business?

I’m a big believer in the power of our own dreams.  If you read Mensch at all you know that already.  Being passionate about your work, the people, the future can’t be underestimated, I think.  Believing has gotten me through some pretty hairy moments when people thought I was crazy, a maverick or both.  And what I believe most is that all the answers you, or I, need are already waiting for us.  We just have to find them.

Where are Our Role Models?

One of the best places to look are in case studies.  Case studies are shining examples of success where the business owner has an ‘a ha’ moment and prevails against the odds to make business strides.  I find that reading studies sparks my imagination and creativity.  It’s also pretty reassuring to know I’m not the only person struggling to reach my market, or develop goals, or create breakthrough thinking.  I highly recommend that you start looking for businesses that can help you grow by example.

For example, I read at least three business magazines ( Entrepreneur, Inc and Fortune Small Business) regularly because they are a wealth of good examples I can use.  To be clear, aside from me a few times, most of these periodicals don’t feature mediation or alternative dispute resolution professionals.  However, that’s fine.  They are filled with other service-oriented businesses.  Why re-invent the wheel when I can get the updated version someone else perfected?   This  this type of research  helped me deal with one of the most typical new mediator problems- more time than clients, otherwise known as excess capacity.

New mediators have a ton of ‘excess capacity’.  What could you do with it? Well,  I learned that Wachussetts ski area began night skiing as a way to increase their revenues by using excess capacity (mountain available but no skiers). A  bell rang in my head.  Why couldn’t mediators gain exposure and experience with their excess capacity?  Sure, a ski resort is vastly different than a mediation practice, but the bottom line is that there are lessons to learn if you look for them.

Be a Role Model

So, I’m inviting you, dear reader, to share any mediation practice case studies you might have- good or not so good.  I believe a large part of what keeps mediators from running a successful business is that fact we lack good examples to emulate.  Maybe, that’s because we think we have to keep everything private.

News flash- what happens in mediation is private.  Running an ADR business is not confidential.  Let’s start sharing what we know so we can all succeed.  OK?


Dina Beach Lynch

Dina Beach Lynch is a Workplace Mediator and Conflict Coach who supports professional practice groups. MORE >

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