Role and company:Founder and Chairman of LawBite Limited
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):User base has doubled in last 30 days. Some 50 per cent of clients who click on our ads now ask for a quote.
Growth forecast for the next three years:Forecasting profit of £4m within three years
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:Our Manifesto;
- We believe the Law is for everyone;
- We believe everyone has the right to understand the documents they sign;
- We keep SME’s safe and sound at a price they can afford;
- We put value to clients before value to lawyers; and
- We restore trust in the Law.
What’s the big vision for your business?Democratising the Law. We provide simple law for small companies; affordable, online, plain English contracts, easy to use software and editing tools, and a virtual law firm wrapped around the platform.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:We already have interest from the US, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Ireland, and India. English law is a trusted brand in many countries and the lack of affordable, understandable advice for SME’s is a scalable problem. There are 25m SME’s in the EU and 27m in the US alone.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Realising that in a most big companies people say they want change, but really they want everything to stay the same – it’s much easier and feels less risky. That’s why I became an entrepreneur, because it’s your best chance of making a difference.
What makes you mad in business today?People not doing what they say they are going to do. Talk is cheap. I judge people by their behaviour.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?Traditional Law firms will struggle, because their clients will rebel against high fees, slow speeds, and complicated documents that suit the lawyer but not the client. Luckily we are dealing with all those issues right now.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?The lack of access to funds for SME’s is well documented. Banks are a waste of time until they have worked through all their issues from the crash and sorted out their balance sheets. VC’s and many Angels are interested in later stage companies or proven business models. Crowd funding provides an interesting option for SME’s (we raised almost £450k culminating in a round on Crowdcube, which makes us one of the top ten most successful crowd-funding raises in the UK).
How would others describe your leadership style?Relentless, tenacious, and demanding. But I give people responsibility, the right staff thrive on that.
Your biggest personal extravagance?Running my business. It’s personal. All our other personal expenditure is on hold for now.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:There are two ways to more profitability – organic growth and making the most of what you have got. Organic growth is hard to stimulate and depends on what is going on in other countries (eg the Eurozone). However, making the most of what you have is just an attitude of mind. LawBite helps SME’s make the most of themselves, by taking care of business. From good deal-making to good contracts. If small companies (99.9 per cent of UK companies) take care of business, then UK PLC will take care of itself. By Shané Schutte
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