When it comes to being an expert at all things legal, Allen Rodriguez is your go-to guy with over 15 years of experience collaborating with lawyers. Currently, he’s forging new territory with his year-old startup company, Strategic Legal Consulting. Thanks to his ability to feel the pulse of the legal market, he’s been able to successfully launch many projects and companies over the past year underneath the Strategic Legal Consulting umbrella. Yet, despite his ability to have his hand in multiple projects at the same time, he’s adamant about how important it is to have laser focus as an entrepreneur.
Acknowledging that laser focus is something that he’s had to work at, Rodriguez stresses that this is key for the success of any startup. In his words, “don’t start off grand. Start off with one singular idea that you feel you can execute within a certain time period.”
That makes sense, and sounds like excellent advice for any start-up. But how do you define a “good” time period? How do new entrepreneurs know what time period they should aim for? According to Rodriguez, if a new business can execute a new idea and earn their first $1 within 30 days, that is a great start. He pulls this idea partially from his experience starting businesses and partially from a concept talked about in The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries.
The book The Lean Startup revolutionized the way that innovators viewed launching a business. The book was one of the first to recommend that entrepreneurs focus on just one idea and launch that idea fast and simply. That way the business idea could be quickly validated by utilizing customer feedback to deliver more value without wasting resources.
Rodriguez found this concept to be invaluable to launching his business and points out that it is the best way to make sure your idea or product is delivering value that people will vote for with their wallets. He also notes that the concept is great for start-ups with limited funding because of the intense focus on a quick and simple launch before building your idea out. Rodriguez said it best: “Stay focused. Execute against one singular idea. Bring it to market. Make some revenue. Build on that.”
Rodriguez brings his point home by letting us hear about one of the biggest lessons he learned during one of his first business ventures. Back when he was building LawDeal.com, he got sucked into the trap of launching with too many services. He recounts that when they launched, they had over 100 lawyers signed up to offer 40 or 50 different services through their website. While it sounded like an excellent way to start at the time, he soon realized that it was impossible to market all 40-50 services to their appropriate niche. To market effectively, he would have had to build a campaign that targeted each service category and it was just too expensive and took too much research time to do it.
Looking back, if he could have a do-over he would wisely focus on launching with just one category so he could put all of his time and money into that idea. Then once that idea was up and running profitably, he would start adding other categories to their service offerings.
When we asked him about how he got started on his own venture, Rodriguez laughs and tells us his surprising story. He hadn’t planned to launch out on his own, but due to several converging circumstances in his life, it just sort of happened.
He painted us the picture of his life before Strategic Legal Consulting when he was just your typical American who was getting burnt out from living the corporate lifestyle. Prior to starting his own venture, he was working anywhere from 60-80 hours a week in corporate America and making his company the big bucks, but getting very little satisfaction in return. All of the time away from home, traveling, and increasing demands from corporate finally added up and Rodriguez parted ways with his corporate lifestyle. Even though the departure wasn’t well planned out and there were plenty of risks and new worries, Rodriguez emphatically tells us “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
While he enjoys the freedom of pursuing his own ventures, branching out on his own has presented some big obstacles too. The biggest one he’s had dealt with was learning how to say “no”. He recounted that “in the corporate world I spent a lot of time learning how to say yes or helping people get to yes… when you start your own business you have limited capacity, limited resources, limited time and limited income. And often times it’s better to say no.” After eagerly saying yes to some ideas that didn’t go anywhere, he quickly learned that by learning to say “no”, he was able to better maintain that laser focus and not miss out on better long-term opportunities that came his way.
With his new laser focus in place, Rodriguez has lots of ideas of how to offer very specific value to Strategic Legal Consulting and plans to roll out some changes very soon. The future looks bright as Rodriguez talks about how offering a very specific value will translate to a better customer experience, which translates to more customers. That is what laser focus does.