Ed Heaver, CEO at Serve Legal
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Ed Heaver: We were working for Laurel Pub company, and we lost a licence due to serving underage customers which cost us a lot of money. We tried to find somebody to help us show the court that we had improved our training and due diligence in this area with the idea to send young looking 18/19-year-olds to see if they were asked for ID, however we found that no one offered this as a service, other than a local retired policeman who was charging £400 per visit. This formed the concept of what Serve legal is and what we stand for. We both left Laurel Pub Co shortly afterwards and decided to set up Serve Legal and have never looked back
Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Serve Legal?
Ed Heaver: Age verification audits, sports media compliance audits, customer experience allergy audits, other compliance audits based on operational standards across a range of sectors, namely hospitality and retail.
Great Companies: What makes Serve Legal different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
Ed Heaver: We have a powerful mix of technology and great people. We spend a significant amount of time and resource on engaging our auditors and building our culture as an organisation, which in turn reflects the standards that we deliver to our customers and the end-users. This is demonstrated by the fact that over 50% of senior and middle management started with Serve Legal as 18/19-year-old auditors and continue to thrive today, in fact we have recently promoted two of our team to Director roles within the company.
Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Ed Heaver: Initially, the service we provided was a very sensitive topic so engaging customers was tricky, though we were able quickly to demonstrate our value through excellent data and service whilst always remaining independent and building on our own experience across the sector. We worked (and still do today) with our clients in a very consultative way helping them to develop protocols and processes which allows them to demonstrate due diligence. Our sales approach is based on relationships as, in general, the people we deal with are not used to “hard” selling.
Like many companies across our sector, we also had to navigate our way through the pandemic where we kept a close eye on cash flow, deferred salaries and asked our clients for “holding payments”. A vital point for us was to ensure that we kept our auditor community fully engaged with competitions , regular social media updates and virtual meetings which meant when our customers wanted to re-start, we were able to start immediately.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Serve Legal?
Ed Heaver: We are looking to expand our service range to enter new markets, this will be accomplished through a mixture of targeted investment, innovation and M&A
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ed Heaver: Keep your proposition simple and never give up.