The five big issues this law firm discovered about starting a startup after analysing its own data

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Law firms are treasure troves of data, but most don’t bother putting much time, energy or effort into analysing the data they’re capturing. From improving client satisfaction to predicting trends, data should be shaking up the practice and business of law. It isn’t.

LegalVision is a business built on innovation, so earlier in the year we decided to have a go and see if we could analyse the data we capture on a day to day basis to provide some useful insights for our customers. We combined data extracted from our customer relationship management system and a range of external surveys. The result was our inaugural SME and Online Business Insights report.

The results were very revealing and presented a clear snapshot of the legal issues facing Australia’s constantly evolving startup and SME sectors.

What does the data tell us?

Condensing the data gathered into useful insights was a considerable challenge, but five main issues emerged from the project:

• 39% of surveyed businesses identified business structuring as a key legal challenge.

Key Takeaway: Business owners, particularly startup founders, need to think about planning their structure more effectively early on in their journey. If you mess up your structure early on you can cause yourself real problems.

• 65% of trade mark owners are failing to monitor their trade marks for infringements.

Key Takeaway: Many Australian business owners are assuming that by registering a trade mark with IP Australia their IP is protected. It isn’t. Monitoring your trade marks is hugely important. This isn’t simply an issue for startups and SMEs, enterprise/corporate clients also indicated that they did not monitor their trade marks.

• 68% of business owners were not aware of the Australian Privacy Principles, which took effect March 2014.

Key Takeaway: Businesses are required to take reasonable steps to ensure their business complies with the APPs including, for many, having a clear and up to date Privacy Policy on their website.

• 74% of startup founders who raised a seed round either considered raising or ended up raising, via a convertible note. The number of convertible notes the LegalVision Startup Team drafted increased by 63% in Q2 of 2016 when compared with Q3 of 2015.

Key Takeaway: Convertible notes have become a much more popular means of raising seed rounds of capital over the last year. This is likely due to both investors and founders becoming more comfortable with the convertible note structure.

• We’ve seen a 120% increase in online business enquiries (i.e. customers looking to set up an online business)

Key Takeaway: There has never been a better time to launch an online business. Australians of all backgrounds are jumping online, taking advantage of the low costs of setting up a website and trying their hand at running an online business. We don’t see this trend slowing down!

Our first annual SME and Online Business Insights report brought up a range of interesting issues. We now have a baseline, so we’re looking forward to comparing data sets in coming years. Hopefully the insights we’re providing through our data analysis will prove useful to startups, SMEs and corporates!

Lachlan McKnight is the CEO of LegalVision, a tech-driven law firm that assists startups, SMEs and large corporates. Download a copy of the SME and Online Business Insights report.

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