Business Update. Where have we been and where are we going?
We have learned a lot over the last year. Our mission remains the same. Become the single platform where people come to find the right personal injury lawyer for his or her claim. As a startup, your journey is full of learnings and opportunities. Here are just a few.
First, from those injured in an accident.
It is estimated that 1/3 of people looking for a personal injury lawyer come to the internet (source). The reason we exist is to bring people a solution to help them sort through the noise and have Adidem bring them the personal injury market and bringing them some preliminary information about their claim. Many people know nothing about the legal process, and we help democratize that. The best feedback we have received so far from people injured in an accident is that we are bringing a solution not otherwise available on the market and in exchange they have taken the time to complete our questionnaire to find a personal injury attorney, This feedback has been fantastic. It's why we exist and where we want to continue to improve. The internet is designed to bring more information to more people, and Adidem provides a first-of-its-kind platform to do exactly that in the personal injury industry.
What have we heard about where we need to get better? Well, its continued credibility in the market (see Google in #3). The typical question remains, who is Adidem, and will they get me legitimate proposals from injury attorneys? When we started, we also allowed injury lawyers seven days to respond to a claim. This was too long, and we've fixed that as people come to the internet for fast results, and that's what we continue to strive to do.
When we started, we also took a injured person first, lawyer second approach. We thought we'd build the business through client claims and then the lawyers would come. This was partially incorrect, as both are equal priorities. It took time to build relationships with lawyers and law firms, in particular, to show them we were not just another "random lead generation company". While we connected with lawyers to respond to claims, by the time the lawyer signed up sometimes the lead was gone. We didn't provide a fast enough service. This has been corrected.
The Mission Going Forward. We are trying to build something more here. We are trying to build a platform. A platform both clients and lawyers can trust. That takes time, and caused us to slightly adjust our approach. When you are bringing a new product to market, it takes time to build trust and for people to understand what we are doing and why.
Second, from personal injury lawyers.
There is a lot of competition in the personal injury space and firms are constantly being sold by lead generation and software companies. Some work. Others don't. When we started, we would bring lawyers leads who wanted to sign-up to our platform to review the lead (no cost to sign-up). What we didn't appreciate was the time it would take to build relationships with lawyers in each state. We thought lawyers would gladly respond to detailed leads (initially at no cost). What the lawyers didn't originally appreciate was what we were doing that was different from a typical "lead generation" company. After the first call, they had no reason to trust what we were doing. Some didn't pick up the phone. Some said, sorry not interested. Some said sounds interesting, I'll give it a try!
The Good. First, lawyers have been blown away by the quality of information we bring to them to decide if they want to pursue a claim. They also love the fact that they can see all this information for free before responding to a claim. So far, this product design has been a resounding success. We bring lawyers from the comfort of their device all the information their own internal intake process would otherwise bring to them.
The Clarity. Second, lawyers had an understandable reluctance to "bid" against other lawyers. This was part of our education process that we only currently allow three lawyers to respond to a claim and our client review/lawyer approval process is in place to remove any abuse on the platform. We have learned that we are only as good as the lawyers we have on the platform, and we continue to work with our lawyer partners to ensure they feel they are getting value from our system. This takes time. We had to get lawyers comfortable with what we were doing.
The Mission Going Forward. Continue partnering with strong personal injury lawyers. We want our success to be our early lawyer partners' success. This will likely necessitate limiting lawyer participation for late adopters or developing another model that can accommodate future lawyer growth. For now, we intend to limit the number of lawyers in each city and state on our platform so as we grow, they grow.
Third, from Google.
Google is in equal parts absolutely fantastic and frustrating. As a small business that is a startup, it's hard to develop an SEO strategy, only to have updates come out to significantly reduce your visibility. We originally had fantastic early search results for our site and our SEO strategy was working great. Google's recent update changed that, so we re-tool and reconfigure. Understanding that Google is constantly striving to make their system better, there are benefits for some, consequences for some others.
With that said, Google has also demonstrated to be a key supporter to small business. Google has independently reached out and invited us into their "preferred partnership" program. More specifically, Google noted that they saw us as a "high growth potential" startup. The program is designed to help startups get access to the same Google assistance that is available to the majors. Google realizes it isn't a level playing field and how it is harder for tech startups to compete with the larger institutions. Good for Google, and we intend to work with them to help us grow.