A Movement to Shift the Entrepreneurial “Needle”
“I realised that how I felt over all the functions, except for the legal side, others experienced all of plus the legal side. I also started experiencing the true impact of not dealing with the legal side. Conversely, I realised that those who saw to the legal components from the start were more successful sooner. I also saw in many instances how successful businesses improve lives. We tried many things to make law more accessible and by doing so, to help more businesses succeed.”
I am an admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa, Conveyancer, Notary Public and Mediator; I have a passion for entrepreneurs and helping them reach their most ambitious goals. I have enjoyed the confidence of many successful entrepreneurs. As a trusted advisor I have actively contributed to the successes of many businesses.
In 2007, I moved to Cape Town from Bloemfontein in the Free State. I started the firm SchoemanLaw Inc (“SchoemanLaw”) when I was 24 years old (in 2007). My journey in building a medium-sized law firm (i.e. 0 – 50 employees) as a sole practitioner in a male-dominated industry has been a great adventure.
Reflecting on my journey now; I remember the days where from around the 15th of the month I became concerned about my ability to pay the rent. As I started to employ staff, I was aware of the fact that their fate was in my hands. I also recall the isolation frequently felt and found that many of my family and friends; simply could not relate to some of the stresses and worries I was experiencing.
At least one thing I did not have to lose sleep over was the legal side of my business. I had that covered, being a lawyer afterall. I am pretty good with numbers and have a talent for research as my curios mind is always looking for answers. Everything else in building a business was damn hard work, especially when money was tight.
So, I started looking for online tools to make my life easier and have found and used many over the years. Eventually, my law firm, SchoemanLaw Inc became one of the first law firms to be paperless in South Africa. As my client base grew to include more entrepreneurs, first the more established and later start-ups and small businesses, I realised that how I felt over all the functions, except for the legal side, others experienced all of plus the legal side. I also started experiencing the true impact of not dealing with the legal side. Conversely, I realised that those who saw to the legal components from the start were more successful sooner. I also saw in many instances how successful businesses improve lives.
We tried many things to make law more accessible and by doing so, to help more businesses succeed. It was only in 2018, when we launched what is now known as Contracts4Biz, that I believe we started shifting the needle on this issue.
Contracts4Biz is South Africa’s first contract builder tool supported by a law firm. It provides people access to contracts that would sell for thousands of rands for under R400 per document. It is instantly available to keep up with the time demand of business and more accurate than a human can ever be.
We support entrepreneurs to effectively establish legal foundations in their business for optimum growth and overall business success. We apply our first-hand understanding of the challenges facing entrepreneurs to develop proven, practical solutions incorporating legal compliance, risk aversion and business sense.
Sue started to become uncomfortable with Peter and Thando’s approach around 4 years ago. She raised her concerns at various meetings and eventually things became acrimonious in the boardroom. That is when Peter and Thando removed Sue as a director….
I cannot but reflect on what we need to do to move forward. With this in mind, I cannot but recall how challenging life has been as an entrepreneur. I also cannot but be mindful that because of my profession, the legal side was much easier – but what if had not been an attorney? I could not help but think of Ben.