This month’s featured entrepreneur is Leopoldo Pirela of Lion Development Digital Marketing & Consultancy. Leopoldo and his team of digital marketeers have been working to provide businesses with solutions to some of the issues they face through the use of marketing strategies. “What sets us apart is the process we have created…”
Read more of Leopoldo’s story on how he became an entrepreneur and started Lion Development.
1.What is the name and nature of your business and when did it get started?
The name of the business is Lion Development. It is a creative agency that uses strategy to help businesses overcome problems. Our agency helps businesses align their brand with their customers in order to achieve business goals. The first time the name was used was in 2009, but the actual business started running in November 2015.
2. What was the inspiration for your business?
I wanted to create something that gives businesses an edge, but also something that is different from what most people are used to when it comes to web design and development.
3. What were your initial goals?
Our initial goals were to build a freelance business, but this changed as the business grew. Currently, we are working towards transforming businesses and the way these businesses interact with clients. We believe that a website can be done by everyone, but if we do not understand the client and their brand, the results will be minimum.
4. What were some of the challenges you faced in the initial stages?
(a) One big challenge was to set our business apart from the competitor and to be able to sell the services that generate the most results.
(b) The second challenge was that there are many people who can do websites or business identity for one thousand EC, for example, and clients tend to find our prices higher than some of the competition. So, we worked towards educating our clients on the difference in the products and the process we provide.
(c) The last challenge was getting the right team to continue growing. Some may say getting employees (I don’t like the word employees) or team members as I like to call it, is easy, but to be honest it is even more difficult than to pitch to a client. Here, in Grenada, we have two team members, myself and Sera-Leigh Ghouralal who runs the financial part of the business, the rest of the team comes from the US, Australia and other parts of the world.
5. What helped you to overcome and keep going?
Organizing and planning has helped us to overcome all problems. In order to set our services apart, our team worked with a business analyst to help us organize our services and pitch in a manner that was easy to sell, but also easily understood by clients.
In order to educate clients, we have created an entire process that is shown to our clients. This process start from our first meeting and shows the client what happens at every step until we say ‘See you next time’. We have also gathered a team of developers, designers, SEO specialist and marketers. They have helped us to add value and make the process much easier as we can now divide tasks.
Lastly, the same process that we use for our clients has been implemented in our business – Currently, we are using CORE (The name of the process) to fix a few issues on our services.
6. What services do you offer?
- Strategy (Brand, User Experience, Online, Product)
7. What would you say is unique about your business?
What sets us apart is the process we have created. This allow us to understand what the client really need, understand their customers and the business goals. As a result we are able to build platforms that perform strongly for the right people. The process gives us the ability to show what will happen and what will take place from day one to the day we are finished. One of the things we have noticed is that clients enjoy the feeling of being part of the project. They find it fun and different from what they have experienced in the past. It also makes them see the value of what they are paying for. At the end of projects, clients have told us that the price paid for the work is nothing compare to the results.
8. What were some of your recent projects or activities, if any?
We are working on increasing awareness with a few brands in Grenada and helping other businesses to be found easier online.
In house, we are working on developing a new service named Website boosting 2.0 which is currently being used with a few clients. This service allows customers to combine their websites, social media and brand to create a lead generation system. So far we have been able to get clients from having 200 visitors on their page per month to over three thousand plus (real visitors) per month, as well as, getting them to be on the first page of Google and beating the hundreds of competitors in their market.
9. What are some of your upcoming events?
We are looking to have the new website and website boosting package ready to launch in May. For the Grenadian market, I will be creating a few promotions that will help businesses get a chance to be online for affordable prices.
10. What are your dreams and visions for your business? Is there any potential for growth? Do you have plans to expand in the near future?
My dream and vision for Lion Development is to create the best work place in the Caribbean. I have always dreamt of a place where people love to go to work and enjoy the company while providing amazing results for our clients.
The room for growth is huge. We have the entire of South American, Caribbean, North American and European markets just to name a few. As our business continues to grow, we will work on starting to create the agency and start to hire and coach people so they can work with us to provide great services.
11. If you had the power to turn back the hands of time and return to where it all started, considering all the roadblocks you faced, what would you do differently?
I believe in life everything is process from which we learn from. The things I have learned did not come from a book but mainly from experience. If I had the chance to turn back time, I might do them again to see what else I can learn from those experiences.
12. If you could travel back to when you jut started and have 15 minutes with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired to save yourself from making certain mistakes, what would you tell yourself?
‘Do not stress out, just write down your goals, keep your head up and work towards finding the solutions’
13. What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur managing your business on a small island?
The main issue we have is finding information on how to run businesses here. There is information, but some is not up to date or some people may not seem to want to share it when asked.
The second challenge, is that our business and services are very new to Grenada, so not many clients understand the value and the process behind creating a brand or a website.
14. What important lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?
The most important lesson is that everything is possible, it just requires time and hard work. Once you have an idea, you have to find the edge that makes you different from your competitors. This can be either a process like what we have created or even a smile on your face when talking to a client.
15. What advice can you give to persons looking to start their own business on the island?
The first thing is to write down your goals. You need to create a business plan for the bank (straight forward, accounts all those pretty numbers) and one for yourself (write it as you will like and as you alone will understand it).
There are many companies who are competing in Grenada against each other. My suggestion is that instead of competing, find partners. They will help you to open doors or even may be your first clients.
One very important thing, is to get an advisor or coach outside of your family who can tell you things as they are and not as you will like to hear them. This may sound rough but understanding the reality of things always works better.
Lastly, I think sometimes people underestimate themselves. Do not let any one bring down your value. If you charge $120 per hour, that is the cost of your service. There is no need to bring it down. You will always find people who can afford you, and those who cannot, work a payment plan for them. If still can’t afford you, then they might not be the best customers for you.
16. What was one of the most important pieces of advice you have gotten from a fellow entrepreneur or mentor that changed your life?
In may of 2015 I visited my business advisor and asked him if I should get a job and leave Lion Development alone for a bit. He asked me if i was crazy – then he proceed by asking how much I will get paid if I had a job, so i mentioned the salary. He wrote it on a white board and it was just about 15000XCD per year. Then he said, “How much can you make per project?” so I answered him, and he told me, “Then why are you even asking me this?, Sit down organize your business and let’s get this going.”