Q: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A: Berglund Law Office is located in Bloomington, Minnesota. I have been a licensed Minnesota attorney since 1977. I am currently a sole practitioner, and my boutique law practice maintains a focus in several specialized niches including the following:
• Elder Law (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, probate, etc.);
• Family law (i.e., marriage dissolution, etc.).
I also maintain a regulatory consulting practice known as GRACE Consulting, LLC. GRACE Consulting utilizes my extensive background in the medical device industry to provide consulting services in the following areas:
• Regulatory/compliance (i.e., FDA, Health Canada, Quality Assurance);
• Quality Management Systems;
• Product Marketing; and
• Product/Establishment Registration.
Q: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A: RON: I was born and raised in Richfield, Minnesota and attended Richfield High School. I did my undergraduate work at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and the University of Minnesota, majoring in political science. I attended the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1977.
I have been employed in private law practice as well as corporate practice for over 40 years, including stints with a small Edina law firm, National Car Rental, a subsidiary of the Carlson Companies and Sybaritic, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I have also owned and operated several of my own businesses– including Berglund Law Office and Sona Med Spa (Woodbury, Minnesota). I have also worked with a wide variety of individuals and small business owners in the Twin Cities area since 1977.
Q: What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A: RON: My lengthy tenure at Sybaritic, Inc. (Bloomington, Minnesota) as in-house counsel, consultant and product manager switched from “employee” status to “consultant” status in 2010. In 2016 I opened Berglund Law Office in Bloomington, Minnesota and began offering the services listed above at that time. I am dedicating the next decade to serving the 99% of us who do not have million-dollar-plus estates but deserve the same top-notch representation as the wealthy.
My firm is focusing on five key practice areas capitalizing on my extensive legal experience and passion. I particularly enjoy working with seniors to help them with estate planning (including the drafting of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, real estate transfers and other important documents)and elder law services. I have observed that many, if not most, of my friends and acquaintances have never “gotten around to” drafting and executing these critically important documents.
Wills, powers of attorney, TODDS and health care directives are so inexpensive and easy to do that there is no excuse for not taking care of it. I believe that everyone owes it to him/herself—and their families– to get these documents done properly to ensure that assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes and that their families are assured that everything is in order. We work so hard all of our lives that we need to make sure all of this effort has not been expended in vain.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A: 1.) Understand that “the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence”. So many Americans have a dream of owning their own business, but until they “take the plunge” they oftentimes have no idea how difficult it can be to own and operate your own company. The reality is that the vast majority of new businesses don’t even survive for a full year.
2.) Realize that ANY new business requires capital to get started and maintain things for the first several years. So many people try to start businesses without adequate capital that it is no wonder that the success rate is so low.
3.) It is often a great idea to work for someone else for a while and “learn the ropes” before going out on your own. The best learning ground for business is generally the real world.
Q: What would you say are the top three traits needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: 1.) Drive and ambition;
2.) Perseverance; and
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: 1.) How to sell;
2.) The ability to plan and strategize;
3.) Accounting and management.
Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?
A: RON: Coming from a long tenure of working way too many hours, because I now run my own business I can usually control the amount of time I dedicate to building and operating my law practice. On average, I prefer to work an average of about four hours per day. I often work a couple hours per day on the weekends also to allow me more time during the week for my various fitness activities.
Q: To what do you most attribute your success?
A: RON: I attribute my modest success to the following:
1.) Being fortunate enough to attend a very good high school which provided a good foundation for both my education and career;
2.) Achieving admission to a “top 20” law school which helped me secure employment in the legal field for the first decade of my career;
3.) Having the ability to “hang up my own shingle” at the age when many people are retiring and experience a “fresh start” in my mid-sixties.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A: RON: My business plan has been from the outset to keep my overhead low so I can offer my clients below market rates for my services. Most attorneys today have priced themselves out of affordability for the average client. I have presented free educational seminars on estate planning subjects and done a very minimal amount of traditional advertising marketing. My initial attempts to improve my website and enter the world of eMarketing have proved to be a challenge the past year.
Q: Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A: RON: My office is small and my overhead is low so I have not required financing.
Q: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A: RON: In my opinion, the most important factors include offering a product or a service that people want and need and making sure you always do good work so your clients will refer their friends and family to you. I also believe that maintaining your integrity and your professionalism are crucial for long-term success.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A: RON:I am hoping to find a young attorney you join my practice soon so I can mentor him or her and allow me to gradually wind down over the next decade. I am striving to reach a point very soon when I can allow more time for international travel and exploration which are among my greatest passions.
Q: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A: RON: I admire Apple very much, as I have followed its success from the very beginning and read extensively about the founders and “the story”. Among other things, I have always marveled about the way Apple “dumped” Steve Jobs and then begged him to return several years later (which he did). And the reconstituted Apple, of course, quickly climbed from near bankruptcy to becoming one of the world’s most successful companies over the next several decades.