First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Aaron Poznanski: That is kind of you to ask. We are doing well under the circumstances. It is a new world, and it takes a lot of acceptance of the adjustments that the moment is calling for. The hardest part for us personally is the inability to travel internationally and see each other. It has mainly put things in perspective that if we are healthy, we should be thankful and happy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded FirmVO?
Aaron Poznanski: I founded FirmVO in 2017. Prior to that, I was part of the business development team at the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education. At the age of 20 and together with a friend, we launched a 30,000 sq. Ft. Business Center and shared workspace in Milford, CT it was called Milford Business Suites. This was before WeWork was on the map and our business plan was quite similar to it. When I was little, I tried every seasonal business in the books. I sold sodas between at-bats at little league games. Entrepreneurship is in my genes, I learned it from my Dad, whom I respect greatly and is very accomplished, while my Mom has always been my #1 fan. The idea for FirmVO was really fusing together all my previous experiences – I knew attorneys were ready to modernize by implementing more technology, and I knew they needed to save money on office space. So the idea for FirmVO was born, and the rest is history.
How does FirmVO innovate?
Aaron Poznanski: We are at the forefront of innovation. We have bridged the worlds of brick and mortar office space and technology. Usually, it’s either tech or its brick and mortar; it’s rarely both. Our SaaS product is a hybrid of brick and mortar office usage and technology to practice law from anywhere. We have also innovated in a legal industry that’s historically reluctant to change. When we started in 2017, a virtual law office setup was not considered by many. That large and fancy corner office was still a big part of what it meant to be a top lawyer. We have been at the forefront of that current shift away from large office spaces. We have helped hundreds of law firms find a smarter and more affordable way to operate an office by transitioning to satellite law office setups.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Aaron Poznanski: We have been lucky that most of our business has not been affected negatively. We do lease long term office space in prime markets, and initially, our investors were considered when the virus hit. Our meeting room and temporary office portion of our business have been slow. This is because in-person depositions or client meetings are canceled for the immediate future. However, we have been blessed that the entire world has been forced to try a virtual work set up during this time. It’s like offering a free trial to every single one of our potential clients. Many law firms have realized that a virtual setup is more lean and agile and can increase productivity and profits. It takes out the long commute and gives employees more time with their loved ones. This has helped FirmVO continue to grow and introduce our product to more law firms than ever before.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Aaron Poznanski: I try not to make difficult decisions. To make a big business decision, it must present itself as a clear next step for our startup. The choice to do it is never difficult, though the work ahead to implement sometimes is. It doesn’t always work out as planned; however, it’s the learning experiences from those failures that guide us the next time we are in a similar situation. You have to be a student of the game, those experiences are priceless, and over time you make better and better decisions.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and FirmVO in the future?
Aaron Poznanski: Stress and anxiety is a funny thing. One thing I would point out that stress always comes in waves if you can ride it out, it is certain to calm down and get back to normal. There is a wise saying I once heard that is to think good and it will be good, that helps me immensely. It’s also never worth giving up on well-being for work-related matters. If I am feeling stressed, I see it as a calling to tone down my work output and shift my priorities to the more important things in life. My wife and family are my #1. I am blessed to have an amazing wife and family who after a long stressful day, manage to make me forget all about the stress.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Aaron Poznanski: Our competitors are large scale public corporations like Regus and Servcorp. Our product is very different and more tailored to the needs of law firms as opposed to the general business population. We are also boutique and hold our clients’ hands during the setup process. We plan to stay in the game by offering a superior product as well as an unbeatable customer experience. We just need more and more law firms to learn about FirmVO and how it can help them operate more efficiently while saving 95% on their office expenses.
Your final thoughts
Aaron Poznanski: Thanks for the opportunity to join your platform today. I appreciate it. Keep up the great work.