Mentor Me Live with Aaron Eden

Transforming the legal industry with LegalBreeze

It is always exciting to see entrepreneurs with big vision, and this week we’re learning from LegalBreeze as they work to level the playing field for access to legal services. They are taking on transformation of a complex and dynamic industry which is ripe for change.

Mark Dean is the Chief Strategy Officer at Legal Breeze. His full bio is at the end of the article. 

Troy Hoch

Troy Hoch is one of the founders of Legal Breeze. His full bio is also at the end of this article.

The key lessons covered in this episode are: 

    • Your go-to market plan will be wrong: If you operate with this belief, then it’s critical to build a learning engine to find a beach-head and ultimately a G2M strategy that works. Legalbreeze has built a learning engine that allows them to review customer data and insights from experiments they run every 72 hours. They aspire to get this down to a 24 hour cycle which will allow them to learn three times faster.
    • Changing consumer behavior is really difficult: Use the learning engine you’re building to measure whether behavior change is occurring with your beach-head customers as well as engage with them personally to understand why or why not. If the evidence (data + insights) from customers suggests that customers are not changing behavior then pivot to a different customer segment based on the same evidence.
    • Explore broadly: Utilize curve-ball Experiments to help find alternative customer segments. A great example of this is Legalbreeze skipping digital marketing temporarily, and handing out fliers in person to better understand customers. These guerilla marketing and face-to-face methods are amazon tools to learn lots from customers really quickly.

Mark Dean has built a successful career leading and developing high-performance sales-service teams with several Fortune-1000 technology and financial services organizations. Mark currently is involved in leading the strategic and Go-to-Market Sales and Marketing strategy for a new legal technology startup called LegalBreeze, Inc.
LegalBreeze’s vision is to change the way lawyers and consumers connect to solve legal matters by empowering everyone with information. LegalBreeze’s platform is designed to be the one-stop-shop for lawyers to grow and manage their law practice of the future while simplifying the task of hiring a lawyer for consumers and small businesses.

He also had the pleasure of learning through his roles leading various sales, service, and customer enterprise functions at LinkedIn, Go-Daddy, Intuit, First Data, and Household Credit Services.

As a former college basketball player at Old Dominion University, Mark credits his successful track record of building and leading successful teams to his experience competing at the highest level in college sports. He believes “business is a team sport!”.

Mark holds a BS Degree in Finance from Old Dominion University in Virginia and an MBA from Troy State University in Alabama.
He also is focused on giving back to further causes he cares about and has served on several non-profit boards. He is currently a member of the Old Dominion University’s Strome School of Business Advisory Council and a member of the Tucson Conquistadores.

Troy M. Hoch is a real estate attorney and partner with Quarles & Brady LLP and has been in private law practice since 2002. He concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial construction transactions, commercial lending, real estate lending, general real estate and business transactions, and Indian law. Troy received a BA degree in business administration from the University of San Diego and a JD degree from Gonzaga University School of Law. Upon graduating from law school, Troy was in-house counsel for a heavy highway construction contractor for five years. In 2001, he formed Ironbuy.com, an online auction company and ASP focused on the heavy equipment industry. Troy, along with his wife, Jen, founded LegalBreeze, Inc. in late 2017, and, with the considerable help of original stakeholders, Mark Dean, Larry Stiffman, Tom Norton, Adam Lazarus, Edward and Miriam Salido and Ted Bernstein, LegalBreeze was launched in Southern Arizona on May 28, 2020.

Connect with Mark Dean here:

Re-Invigorating Tucson’s Film Industry – Mentor Me Live with Jeff Brack

Welcome to Mentor Me Live. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help Tucson entrepreneur and filmmaker, Jeff Brack. Not only has Jeff directed, written, and produced short and feature films, but he’s also helped launch a highly successful premium dine-in movie Theater Chain, RoadHouse Cinemas in Tucson, Scottsdale, and Colorado Springs. 

We’re going to work together to figure out how Jeff can acquire funding for a new feature film, “The Last Road Trip”, which he’ll be filming in Tucson.

The key lessons for entrepreneurs here are:

  1. Leverage your customer empathy skills to develop relationships with friends, colleagues, co-founders, prospective investors, and more.  Empathy really is a foundational skill that can transform all aspects of your life.  For some pointers, check out this recent Forbes article.
  2. Maintain an abundance mindset:  You are only limited by your imagination, creativity and willpower to get out and engage with others.   Even if you perceive that there are not a lot of film investors in Tucson, why not go out and try to prove that perception wrong.  In doing so, you’ll find where they do exist and overcome your financing challenge in the process.

Maintaining an abundance mindset and connecting deeply with others will take you further than you ever believed possible.   If you’d like to hear an angel investor’s perspective on the topic, check out the recent episode I recorded with Tucson entrepreneur and angel investor Dr. Marty Fox.

Good luck and see you next week!

Connect with Jeff Brack here:

Nail it, then scale it with Eric Bockman

Eric Bockman

This Mentor Me Live episode features Eric Bockman, founder of Auction Roo.  He has an early-stage idea to transform how auction houses distribute merchandise to customers.  Auction Roo does not currently have any paying customers, and Eric is looking for support in finding a business-minded co-founder and narrowing focus to get his first paying customer.

The key lessons for entrepreneurs here are:

  •  Self-awareness — Eric has a very strong awareness of his own strengths and weaknesses.  As a result, is will shorten the amount of time it takes him to find a suitable co-founder.  After you clearly understand yourself, the next step is to move toward ensuring you have a strong founding team. Entrepreneurship is a team-sport, please don’t try to ride this ride alone.
  • Don’t worry about scalability of your idea until you have satisfied customers. In Auction Roo’s case, they don’t yet have any satisfied customers.  As a result, their next milestone is to acquire one satisfied customer.  It likely looks like one auction buyer that has successfully had a small number of deliveries using Auction Roo; a returning customer is likely to be satisfied.   At this early stage, it’s too risky to send an email blast out to 14k auction buyers.  This is risky to both Auction Roo and the auction house.  Shrinking the size of the initial experiments down to 10-20 customers is probably more appropriate and will help the team move more rapidly.

I look forward to seeing you next week!

Connect with Eric Bockman here:

Mentor Me Live with Mica Kinder

Mica Kinder

Today on Mentor Me Live, we are going to tackle fear. As entrepreneurs, we are constantly facing our fears. The fear of running out of money, fear of hiring the wrong person, fear of customers rejecting us, the fear of our skills not being enough to accomplish our gigantic visions.

A recent HBR research study of 65 entrepreneurs noted that for entrepreneurs, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to persist in spite of it.

Here are a few tips on how to be a courageous entrepreneur:

  1. Identify the sources of your fear – If you don’t know where your fears are coming from, how can you address them? We must strengthen our self-awareness and dig deep to resolve root cause personal issues holding us back.
  2. Next, we need to break our vision into small and achievable milestones. This allows us to take action, feel a sense of accomplishment, and reduce procrastination.
  3. Utilize Ulysses contracts and time commitments to force forward motion. If you haven’t yet ready Annie Duke’s “Thinking in Bets” go grab a copy. It will change how you make decisions.
Each of us brings our own fears to the table when we found a startup, but as Winston Churchill once said:  

 “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

The power of individuals, of entrepreneurs, and of startups lies in their ability to change, to adapt, and to transform themselves to ultimately accomplish their life-saving vision.

Put your fears aside and get back to work changing the world.

Connect with Mica Kinder here:

Shoutouts and Mentions:

Mentor Me Live – Working Through a Pivot with Aaron Gopp, CEO @ Patter

Aaron Gopp

So you’ve interviewed customers, run some experiments, and built an MVP.   You launch the Minimum Viable Product to customers, and all you hear is the chirp of crickets.   What do you do next?  How do you decide whether to pivot or persevere?  

About This Episode  

In this episode, you’re going to hear a mentoring session between myself and Aaron Gopp, co-Founder and CEO of Patter.  We will tackle pivoting as well as the development of a customer advisory board for your startup.   

Patter is a software application that allows early-stage startups to build a brand that people love by focusing on culture and guiding them through the brand development, implementation, and management process.

This episode is filled with many actionable nuggets, and most prevalent are the principles of working through a pivot or persevere decision:

Focus on what’s working – When things are not going as you hope, it’s important to focus on what IS working.  In this case, Aaron had four out of forty customers that did engage with the Patter platform.  These four customers are likely to teach Aaron and the team something valuable that will help propel them forward.

Get more specific and narrow – Each time you are faced with a pivot / persevere decision you have an opportunity to get more specific.  In this case, Patter doesn’t yet have any paying customers; which makes their next milestone to satisfy ONE customer.  

Patter did a great job of getting more specific and narrowing in ono more mature startups.

Re-evaluate all activities – When you change the customer segment you’re focused on, everything else in your business model is impacted.   As a result, you must re-evaluate all products, people and processes to ensure your startup is laser-focused on the newly hypothesized segment.

With these key principles, you can survive the startup “drunken walk” and find a scalable business model.

I’d love to hear from you — What pivot or persevere decisions have you had to navigate in your startup?

Connect with Aaron Gopp here:

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