We’ve heard the line over and over again; small and medium‑sized businesses are the cornerstone of Canada’s economy. And it’s true.
Small business accounts for 99.9% of all Canadian companies and they employ more than 90% of private sector workers.
Opening a small business can be scary step. It takes passion, courage and a deep desire to make a difference. It also takes talent and drive, but sometimes entrepreneurship is about changing the rules and applying new values in business. And that definitely applies to Laura LaPalme who has stepped out and started L2 Marketing.
Laura tackles any project with an approachable, respectful and positive leadership style. She is skilled in motivating, guiding, coaching, evaluating and developing a diverse creative, design to produce quality materials.
With a career spanning over 20 years in marketing, Laura has worked in fast-paced, dynamic marketing departments and has honed her organizational and time management skills.
As a strong conversationalist, sales executive, event planner, public speaker and partnership builder, Laura will deliver on promoting her clients and build alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners, as well as network with government, business, and community members to expand the organization’s existing reach.
She is a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Ambassador” as well as an alumni of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Leadership Winnipeg Program.
We had a chance to chat with Laura to get to know her better and find out more about L2 Marketing.
What was your first job?
“My first job was serving coffee at Second Cup in Lougheed Mall in Burnaby. But the first position that actually lead me to this field was as the administrative assistant in the Communications and Marketing department for AT&T Canada.”
Why did you decided to step out and start your own business?
“It’s always been a dream of mine, but for the last 12 years I have been a single mom raising two kids, so that steady income and benefits took priority before my dream…now with one graduating this year and the other recently moving to BC, I thought now or never. To be honest I wonder if anyone is ever “ready’ you just have to hold your nose and dive in with both feet!”
So tell us what you’re doing?
“My concept is this; not everyone can afford to hire a full time marketing employee or keep them busy full time, especially one at a senior level.”
“L2 Marketing provides a variety of customized marketing services without the cost of having a full time marketing employee. We take a tailored approach to get an understanding of any client’s business and marketing needs and will work with them as a full-service marketing provider or on a project basis offering “a la carte” marketing services to suit their immediate and long-term needs.”
I will be able to deliver on promoting my clients and build alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners
“Sometimes a business owner doesn’t know what their marketing needs are, but they know that they have to start somewhere in order to be competitive…that’s why that initial conversation is so important, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Many larger Marketing firms will convince them to do it all, that’s not what I’m about. Business owners know their product or service well, they just aren’t always aware of how to market themselves and what channels are available for them to do so.”
“My target clients will be mostly small to med size business. And non profit organizations. Some have limited budgets because they are there for a service not to turn a profit, much like the Manitoba Trucking Association.”
What strengths do you bring to the business?
“My style is to tackle any project with an approachable, respectful and positive leadership style.”
“With a career spanning over 23 years in Marketing and Public Relations, I have worked in fast-paced, dynamic Marketing Departments and honed my organizational and time management skills.”
“I’m a strong conversationalist, sales executive, event planner, public speaker and partnership builder, and I will be able to deliver on promoting my clients and build alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners, as well as network with government, business, and community members to expand the organization’s reach.”
“Of course! I mean I’m brand new at this whole being my own boss, and I will be learning as I go along and I’m sure it won’t all be uphill and rosy. It’s funny I can go into most organizations and talk about all the awesome things about them and how good their business is and come up with a great plan…but writing my own business plan was one of the hardest projects I have ever taken on….because it’s stuff you just do…you don’t think about how you do it.”
Being a small business owner can be stressful. What motives you?
“Well…I have had a lot of stressful moments since making this decision, but the support of my previous employer Payne Transportation agreeing to become a client once I’m set up as well as The Winnipeg business community. So many reaching out to me to congratulate me and offer advise and just generally be there that is what keeps me feeling like I will be okay. I have to say Winnipeg is probably the best place to be for a start up, I honestly cannot see this kind of support from a major metropolitan city.”
What has been your biggest challenge?
“Right now, building a client list. I have had a couple organizations reach out to me but this is definitely a different kind of hustle.”
What do you do like to do for fun?
“What is this fun you speak of? Kidding…you’re going to think this is cliché but I love what I do and I get such a rush from a project that I have been involved in getting off the ground. Outside of that, I work out, watch the jets at attend the odd gala or fundraiser. I’ve attended quite a few this year so that’s a bit of sarcasm.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone starting their own business?
“I would say take advantage of all the services (free) available for start ups, BDC, World Trade Centre, Women’s Enterprise Centre. These organizations and so many others offer free advice, courses, tax and accounting planning, how to register a business, how to write a plan, and templates!! Use them!”