Elevate Services Inc.
BUSINESS: Legal services
TWO-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 2,388 percent
2014 REVENUE: $10.7 million
Responses from founder Liam Brown
What did you do to achieve this rate of growth?
Elevate’s success didn’t happen overnight. Many members of our management team have worked together before. We laser-focused on services in the legal sector. This is the third legal services company we have launched in Los Angeles since 1998, when we started our first Internet company which also served the legal sector. We picked the right market – it just took a while for the time to be right.
How did you manage the growing workload? For example, did you have to add space, hire more employees or move into new facilities?
We have opened offices and hired more than 400 people globally. We’ve developed and deployed technology to connect our people around the world and improve our productivity. For example, we use an online tool to keep the whole company updated on what our priorities are, our achievements, our obstacles and what we need help with – weekly. This allows us to operate as one company, worldwide, at speed.
What were the biggest obstacles holding you back from growing? How did you overcome them?
Selling services and technologies to lawyers at Global 1000 legal departments and law firms is hard. They are demanding, professional skeptics and trained to identify risks. We have worked hard to build an organization that they can rely on. Fortunately, many customers who had worked with us at our previous companies put their trust in us again at Elevate. Then, rather than investing heavily in sales and marketing to acquire new customers, we’ve focused on delivering “an Elevated experience” and grown as a result of client referrals.
How do you manage expectations after such strong growth?
We are very careful about the commitments we make to our customers – making sure we can do what we say we will and then doing it. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds, and customers tell us it’s surprisingly difficult to find service providers who meet this one simple promise. So when we do, they notice and tell their friends.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over the last three years?
As a result of the financial successes of our earlier companies, we’ve fortunately been able to build Elevate without needing venture capital or private equity. Because we haven’t given control of our company to outside investors who don’t really understand our business, we are free to build Elevate with a focus on serving our customers and our people for the long term. It’s still a challenge, but it’s a lot more rewarding when you stay in control of your own destiny.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Fortunately, we learned a lot of our hardest lessons at previous companies, so this time around it’s about not repeating prior mistakes. It’s also about pacing ourselves. Running a very fast-growing company feels like a sprint – every day. Our greater ambitions are to build the largest non-law-firm legal service provider in the world. That’s going to be a marathon and we all need to remember that.
Does your location in the L.A. area help or hinder your growth?
Running an early stage, fast-growing global company that operates around the clock from Los Angeles is great. The time zone allows me to work with our colleagues in Delhi, (India), and London in the morning and Manila, (the Philippines), and Sydney in the afternoon. Los Angeles International Airport makes it easy to get to our clients and offices around the world. The talent pool is vibrant: We’ve hired some great technologists and lawyers here. And finally, despite the city’s reputation for traffic, I’m able to walk from my home to my office in Century City.
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