Scaling: A Framework for Growth – An interview with Richard Mabey
In Part 2 of our 3-part series about the LegalTech startup, Juro, CEO Richard Mabey explains the challenges of scaling up a startup, and the framework he uses to tackle them.
Juro is entering an exciting new phase as we start to scale-up the business. In the early days only two goals really mattered: building the right product and selling it in the right way. I think about scaling using the framework of the three T’s: technology, traction and team.
We have a long way to go on our technology roadmap; there’s so much more we want to achieve with the product. It’s not a question of building the product and going to market; it’s a continual process of iteration. We release new features every two weeks, on average. It’s a rapid development cycle.
Maintaining our growth rate is going to be a challenge as we scale. It requires having the right demand generation engine and having the right people to focus on marketing and sales. We’ve been successful with using content as a way of building our leads pipeline and we’re also dedicated to customer success, ensuring our clients get the best value from the product.
As a founder, you have to acknowledge your own weaknesses. You’re not going to be able to do everything forever; you have to understand how to hire the right people to join your fledgling startup when they could just as easily be working for Google. They need to be able to cope with the uncertainties and pressures of an early-stage environment, but there’s also the opportunity to become a real leader in the organisation.
The number one trait I look for in a team member is curiosity. We lose curiosity throughout our lives; we get used to living within certain boundaries, and it’s hard to find time to pursue new skills. I like people who are curious because it indicates they can learn quickly. Most people here are doing things they don’t feel comfortable with on a daily basis, things they haven’t done before. I think if you’re truly curious you can work out how to solve a problem yourself. If you’re not, then you become reliant on help, and the help sometimes isn’t there in a small team.
The ability to cope with uncertainty is something I’ve had to learn. As lawyers we don’t really like uncertainty; it’s our job to minimise it. Understanding how to cope with that in a fast-paced environment is important.
The other trait I look for is a willingness to collaborate; we have an inherently collaborative product, so it’s a value we like to live as a company. To me, collaboration is underpinned by an understanding of our mission and what we’re trying to achieve. You’re not just going to work to meet your lead target. You’re bought into our mission and you derive satisfaction from achieving team goals.
In a way, it’s a naked environment as well. If things go well it’s clear who’s responsible; equally, if things don’t go well it’s clear who’s responsible! We have a culture of transparency around that data.
We also have a culture of feedback. Everyone is willing to give everyone else feedback, sometimes directly, sometimes quickly, and people generally are willing to accept that feedback and learn. The reason for that is you’ve got to learn faster here than in any other business.
People who embody those qualities will thrive in our environment and support our growth as a company. Although developing your technology road-map and developing your demand generation processes are important, finding team members who fully understand and buy into your mission is vital.
Becky Baker was talking to Richard Mabey, CEO and co-founder of Juro. For more information or comments please tweet @LTechnologist, @GetJuro and @rebeccaJKBaker. Join us in February 2020 for Part 3, the final instalment of our series on Juro, where Richard Mabey will describe the benefits of their empathetic team culture and the inspiring values they live as a company.