Not everyone will start off a business with capital. When I started my business, I was sharing an office with a friend for 2 months then with a client for nearly a year. Actually, what we did was akin to kind of breaking the rule under the Legal Profession Act as lawyers cannot share office with clients but we were desperate. We couldn't afford to rent our own office then, so we shared the office with another lawyer friends but used another address then we shared an office with a client. We did not really share but more of being paid for the work done for them by being allowed to use all the facilities in the office. There were just my partner and I then, so we did not need much space. Basically, we were the legal department for that client.
When we moved office, as the client failed in his venture, we realised we need some money. We did try to approach a few banks, which did not have any SME scheme for professionals, unlike today (mind you, this was in 2000) and then when we kind of get laugh off by the bankers, we tried the government. Then, they asked for some kind of collateral. That was when it was our turn to laugh. Asking two 27 years old lawyers for some collateral. If we had any collateral, we would have an office long ago. That was then when we turned to our parents.
As both of our parents are not really well off, we managed to secure just enough to rent an office, equipped it with a telephone line and fax and then hire a staff. We then moved our operation to a real office. Although it was just a 500 square feet office, we had a nice reception as the former tenant was a wedding planner and they bought new furniture when they moved to their new premises. A few of the furniture are still with us even today and now are use properly within a nice lobby and meeting room. Then, those furniture were mostly what we needed for us to function. Other than that we just need hard work and determination. It paid off after doing small retail works for walk-in clients for a year then we were appointed as the only lawyer for a development.
When we started, we did not really see the need for money for a legal firm to grow. Except for the basic necessity. Then we realised that a legal firm is also a business and injection of capital or financing is normal for any business. That is if you want to grow and make a mark. Or at least compete with other business in your line of work. In 2007, we managed to secure a sum enough for us to renovate and rent a real office which was a whooping 3000+ square feet. We even have a penthouse on top. And thankfully the rent is cheap. We not only spent the money on the office but also an IT system for us to manage the firm properly. Judging by how we managed to secure a few jobs due to having that system and impressing our clients with our office, we said that it was a worthwhile investment.
Within this one or two years, we may need more financing so that our business can expand its reach to the business community. In short, we hope our legal firm can compete at a higher level. As a businessman, I see potential but that potential need to be fed with capital. Then maybe it can be fruitful, with enough hard work...
Just one of the furniture from our early days