Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group
Valérie and Rosalie Champagne called their company "La Grosse Business" (The Big Business) and it's living up to the name! Born into an entrepreneurial family, these two sisters inherited self-confidence, ambition, and a willingness to help others and work as a team. And, above all else, they're highly motivated to reach their goals.
We asked Valérie about the beliefs that led to their success. Here's what she had to say:
1. What financial advice or tool helped you as an entrepreneur?
I would say it was advice from family. My father said, "Don't charge peanuts unless you want to be treated like a monkey." Basically, you have to know your value and refuse to sell your services at rock-bottom price. This is something that my sister and I both had to learn.
Once you've determined what a fair price is, you have to stick to it. Resist the temptation to lower your price just to land a contract.
2. What would you say is your go-to tech tool to get everything done?
It may sound funny to say this, considering our business revolves around virtual platforms, but we find that connecting with others in person is essential.
That's why we make a point every day of coaxing our team members out of their creative bubbles, bringing them back to what's happening on the ground and checking in with each other. Each person has to write their three priorities of the day on the wall. This gives us the chance to take stock, see where our projects are at and share ideas. By bringing people "off line," this activity acts as a counterweight to the virtual world.
3. How do you deal with stress?
We enjoy working hard!
4. What's your mantra or philosophy?
I often say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, don't bring us in with your remaining budget because we've got trendy ideas; instead, bring us to the table to strategize right from the start.
5. What was the turning point for your business?
June 2015. We made our first sales pitch to an agency that represents a lot of clients and came away with several briefs worth a total of $450,000. This would keep us busy for 3 months. We didn't have an office because all of us worked from home (and I had just had a baby). Basically, we worked hard on our pitch and it resonated in the market. This catapulted us onto the fast track and we haven't stopped since.
6. What's the best advice you have for someone thinking about going into business for themselves?
Don't wait! People tend to wait too long before taking the plunge. They're waiting to have the perfect product or service, but in reality, that doesn't exist. It's better to just put yourself out there and make adjustments along the way. If you don't, someone else will beat you to it.
7. What's your guilty pleasure?
Going to the cabin with my family. My husband is a firefighter, so we don't have a typical family schedule. It's hard to get the chance to put everything on hold, sit on the dock and look out at the lake and the mountains. Swimming in the lake is good for the soul and helps you recharge. That's when I really let go of my work. In fact, we even disconnected the Internet at the cabin.
La Grosse Business at a glance (in French only)
Owners: Valérie and Rosalie Champagne (Yes, they're sisters!)
In business: Since 2014
Field: Non-traditional advertising