Starting a Sales Consulting Business
Interview with Philippe Le Baron, Founder of LB4G Consulting
If there is anyone out there who questions whether this country is still the land of opportunity, please meet Philippe Le Baron. He will gladly testify on how, coming from a foreign country, not knowing one soul in Charlotte, NC, he was able to start a business, publish a book, create a new market and became a stand up comedian. All at the same time and in the middle of a recession.
Philippe Le Baron founded LB4G Consulting in 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
At LB4G Consulting, I become the part time sales managers for small businesses, thanks to my unique view of this very tough job. I also coach top sales managers of large organizations on the new science of sales productivity management.
How did you come up with your business idea?
For seven years I learned the best practices of sales management from EMC. I was then asked to train our Federal division in Washington DC in 2006 and they loved my sessions. I realized then that I had added value to everything I had learned from EMC and made it better. It dawned on me than 99% of sales managers in Europe and USA could benefit from my services. Now after 2 years in North Carolina, I realized that the small business market (which was not on my radar) could also benefit from my services. Companies without a sales manager would love to have me come one day a week to be their "sales manager to-go", and pay a fraction of the cost for top sales management practices. Now I am targeting this new market quite successfully.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was the sales productivity manager in Europe for EMC, a Boston based US company. This is my first business.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Think BIG and ACT small.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Not yet, but I am seeing Linkedin getting me a lot of visibility internationally, and it is a great way to connect if you have a niche market/services to offer. I built a big expert network in very little time once I focused on it. I am now getting into doing webcasts etc...
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
I became a stand up comedian. It was not intended to grow my business, just get me to become a better public speaker. I am now incorporating humor in my pitch to tackle my market. It hasn't grown my business yet, but it got me in the front pages of the small business section of the business journal. Also, I am getting some traction on youtube thanks to the comedy. I am starting the "Julia Child series" videos soon ' "Welcome to the French (Productivity) Chef...
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I did not expect it would be so hard to get all the parameters right in order top start getting traction. The target market, the service offering, the pricing, the IP protection, the positioning, the messaging, the marketing focus, etc. My vision was 95% right when I started my business, but the 5% missing hurt in the execution. It made me question part of the 95% at times and try things different again and again and again until I got the 5% right. Suddenly I get 5 clients in 3 weeks...and counting.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I would have published my book one year earlier.
Thanks, Philippe. Welcome to America, where hard work always pays off! Check out Philippe's videos on YouTube.
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