This is the latest entry in a series from Report on Small Business called Who Owns That. We’ve asked readers to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we track down the owners so they can tell us their stories. Their answers are edited.
Introducing Shane Coblin, co-founder of Legal Linkup, a way to “link up” the best lawyers with the right clients.
1. Let’s start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business, including w hen it was founded, what it does, and where you operate?
My partner, Lawrence Tepperman, and I founded Legal Linkup in 2010. It’s an online service designed to mutually help lawyers connect with new clients and to help clients connect with the lawyer that is right for them. Currently, we have lawyers and clients from across Canada using our service.
2. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and to branch out on your own with this idea?
I’ve always been interested in online businesses and the efficiencies they create. As a lawyer, I saw firsthand how challenging it can be for clients looking for a particular type of lawyer, to quickly find the help they need. Similarly, lawyers are always looking for new clients. There was no simple way, however, to connect the two in an efficient and meaningful manner. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to create a different kind of online service for lawyers – not a standard online directory site, but one that actually matches lawyers and clients in an effective way.
3. Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
We have two types of customers: lawyers and clients. They can both find us online at LegalLinkup.com. Originally, we expected the lawyers to be young, entrepreneurial and tech savvy, looking to grow their practices quickly. However, we have found that we have a wide variety of lawyers ranging from very junior to very senior, and quite a few that aren’t as Internet and tech savvy as we anticipated. Our typical clients are individuals and small to mid-sized businesses looking for help with everything from family law and personal injury to incorporations and small business acquisitions.
4. What are the roles of you and your co-founder in the business? Do you have any employees?
In general, I’m in charge of technology and he is in charge of operations. Although in reality, we share many of the responsibilities.
5. You’ve been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
First, we want to thank your readers for their continued support. It is greatly appreciated. One of the keys to our success is the practical experience that we bring to the table. As a lawyer, I have particular insight into what my peers are looking for, how they acquire new clients, and the difficulties and frustrations they’ve experienced with other services. Understanding this dynamic and constantly adapting our services to meet evolving customer needs, has really been the key to our success.
Do you have a favourite small business you’d like to learn more about? Make suggestions and join the conversation on the Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group, use the comments field, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the series on our Pinterest page.