Start a mock jury business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your mock jury business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a mock jury business?
As previously mentioned, many trial attorneys have shifted to online mock juries, enabling entrepreneurs to shift their business model. A dedicated office building is no longer necessary, which significantly reduces startup costs. To start your business, you will need a computer, high-speed internet, and a telephone. While these costs are minimal, you will need to invest in a robust website and software that collects potential mock juror information. Your software should assist you in identifying potential jurors that match your client’s needs and have the ability to process payments once a juror’s job is complete. This targeted software could set you back anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000, depending on the specifics you choose.
What are the ongoing expenses for a mock jury business?
Whether you decide to conduct all your business in person, online, or a combination of both, ongoing expenses for this type of business are fairly low. Website maintenance, software fees, and insurance should be budgeted for each month. Payment to mock jurors will represent the largest part of your ongoing expense budget. Fortunately, jurors are paid as freelancers, eliminating payroll costs that many businesses incur.
Who is the target market?
In the broad sense, your target market includes all law firms that do not have their own in-house jury consultant on payroll. However, many mock jury business owners have found success narrowing their targets to niche markets, allowing them to become a leader in their specialty.
How does a mock jury business make money?
Mock jury businesses act as a middleman, furnishing their clients with anywhere from twelve to seventy-two jurors. The business collects payment for their services and passes a portion of that payment on to each individual juror.
How much can you charge customers?
The price for a professional, in-person mock jury ranges anywhere from $3,500 to $50,000. Fees for online mock juries are significantly lower and vary in cost depending on how many jurors are required and the details of each case.
How much profit can a mock jury business make?
While collected fees are lower for online mock juries, your pool of potential customers and jurors expands exponentially. If you set up eight mock juries a week and gross $200/event, you stand to generate a profit of over $83,000 a year without ever leaving the comfort of your home office.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Business owners striving to increase profits should consider expanding their services to include jury consulting, telephone and online surveys, and focus groups. Additionally, while the overhead costs are higher and they require more work, organizations that offer in-person mock juries collect a much steeper payment.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your mock jury business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a mock jury business
Your marketing strategy should clearly identify and target industry pain points. Once this has been defined, you can market on both a local and national level. Advertising on legal sites, online blogs, law associations, and legal publications are all effective places to focus your paid advertisements. Since you cannot manage a successful mock jury business without mock jurors to fill each “chair,” you will also need to find creative, cost-effective ways to reach individuals spanning every age, race, gender, and profession.
How to keep customers coming back
Delivering prompt and quality service will help your business build a sound reputation. Your clients’ successes drive your success and help build your business through word of mouth.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Mock Jury Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Do you have a background as a trial attorney or social psychologist? Have you noticed an area where the industry is lacking? Do you have fresh ideas/insight into how the process could be improved for its customers? The mock jury business is profitable and fast-paced, offering business owners the opportunity to travel and utilize their knowledge and experience in a new and fresh way.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a mock jury business?
As the mock jury business owner, you will be responsible for ensuring each mock trial achieves its intended outcome. You will meet with each client to review the details of the case and their mock jury needs. This information is then used to select and hire individual jurors that most closely meet those needs.
It is also your responsibility to ensure all jurors arrive on time, whether in-person or online. Depending upon your client’s needs, you may be required to select a venue and oversee the mock jury proceedings. Once proceedings are complete, the client may need you to collect feedback, prepare a report on your findings, and deliver it to the hiring trial attorney. Reports typically include relevant information regarding each mock juror, including gender, race, age, and employment history.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful mock jury business?
While there are no legal requirements regarding education and background, most business owners in this industry have achieved a degree in a related field. A background in trial law proves beneficial in identifying client needs and mock jury selection. While not necessary, behavioral insight will also set you apart from the competition.
Individuals hoping to build a successful mock jury business would also benefit from excellent communication and interpersonal skills, business development, marketing techniques, and writing skills.
What is the growth potential for a mock jury business?
This industry first gained traction in the late 70s and early 80s. At that time, law firms employed a trial consultant who was responsible for setting up their agency’s mock trials. The emergence of new technology, however, has caused a shift in procedure. Law firms are now able to hire mock jurors on an as-needed basis. Successful entrepreneurs are now able to expand their services, reaching both clients and potential mock jurors on a national level.
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a mock jury business?
Startup business owners are encouraged to utilize their legal background and contacts to identify areas in which this industry is lacking. This research should be completed during the business plan development stage to ensure your goals and business model align with industry needs.
How and when to build a team
Unlike many startups, you must build a large and diverse team. A great number of jurors ensures your ability to consistently deliver quality service. With the right business management and accounting software, many of your administrative duties can be automated, reducing the need for an administrative assistant.