Elevator Pitch: Brief It

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jeremy Tompkins from Brief It.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Brief It is an online marketplace connecting businesses and individuals with the right lawyer. Brief It makes finding the right lawyer easier and more affordable, offering a simple three-step process. Clients post a brief, compare proposals from a variety of lawyers and then select a lawyer based on what's important to them. Clients are assisted in their decision making process through access to reviews from past clients, making it easy to identify high performing lawyers.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Legal isn't always top of mind, so we are working on a content strategy to educate businesses through easily digestible articles (the hope is that this bring about small wins adding up to success for businesses). We are also looking to establish partnerships with other businesses with similar audiences.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

The challenge generally is convincing people that they actually need legal advice before they have a legal issue. For many, spending money on legal advice upfront is not a priority. The approach to legal advice is usually reactive rather than proactive, it's not seen as necessary until it is too late and a dispute or other issues have arisen. So, rather than spending say $3000 on getting the appropriate structures, agreements and protections in place from the start, they end up spending much more fighting to protect their rights and their business at a later date.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

Unlike other sites, we don't refer the client to one lawyer. We think that the client deserves choice and is in the best position to determine which lawyer is right for them. We give the client the facts they need to make that decision. Each brief is open to our community of lawyers and the client makes the final decision based on what's important to them. Brief It also has a team of experts with legal and procurement experience, offering clients an analysis of their service needs.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Dropbox. We placed a lot of emphasis on designing our web application so that clients can easily compare and digest the important details. Dropbox was a great tool during the design process for our designer to share design files and collaborate with the Brief It team, who were often based in different locations.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

You can't be everything to everybody. We've put this into play by deciding that we are not going to be a site for free legal advice and not going after that market. That's not a sustainable business model in our view. We are however a competitive marketplace delivering transparency on legal fees and the tools to manage and get certainty on fees.

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