In his 28 years working at Videotron, Jonathan Lecomte has (almost) done it all. Starting out as a Superclub clerk back in 1994, his was quite an atypical journey. Now the owner of two stores, one in Sainte-Julie and the other in Boucherville, the businessman is breaking new ground, personally going to meet the business clientele.
“Since 2016, I have gone through three renovation and two acquisition projects,” he says. “I was getting bored now.” Lecomte therefore saw Videotron’s turning to small and medium enterprises as an opportunity to develop his sales skills instead of hiring account managers.
“I didn’t do much sales in my stores; I had managers already doing a good job of it,” says Lecomte. “The challenge for me now is to truly get to know the products.”
He salutes his colleagues’ help and support. “Most of them are way ahead of me, and often they’re half my age, but still, they shave the patience to teach me about our computer system,” jokes Lecomte.
In his opinion, it takes a lot of humility to knock on people’s doors unexpectedly. “You need to go after those quick wins not to get discouraged!”
Growing in the region
Starting in September, the franchisee, who already has the support of a collaborator, will have a new recruit on hand to increase business development in the region.
Other than this desire to work on the field, Lecomte was especially drawn to the group’s desire to offer a service directly to local entrepreneurs. “This new concept allows us to stand out from the competition,” he explains. “With our teams, we rethought the experience we wanted to give our clients, both in terms of welcome and of the services we wanted to put in place.”
“They now have someone to serve them directly,” says the long-time Montérégie resident. “Local businesspeople love their city and want to invest in it.”
This affects him particularly, given that he carved his own place by becoming his mentor’s partner in 2005, after the latter parted ways with his partner. “I’m a very operational person, and Normand was an investor,” Lecomte recalls. “It was an opportunity for me to grow the business.”
Knowing when to take a step back...
At the time, he was responsible for the staff and for building teams—his strength. “I’ve always had a knack for surrounding myself with effective, operational people.”
Although he once managed a team of 75 employees, he decided to take on less to better meet the expectations of his staff and customers. “This allows me to invest body and soul,” says Lecomte. “With a bigger team, it can be hard to know exactly what’s happening on the ground.”
He feels that puts him ahead of the game, particularly when it comes to mobilizing his employees. “It’s important to take the time to think and to take a step back to ensure the business is well positioned.”
. . . to move forward
In 2016, Lecomte reached a new milestone when he bought back his partner’s shares. “I realized that I was also handling all the logistics, inventory management, and profitability ratios, and I wasn’t taking advantage of all the benefits.”
Although his academic background in business administration and the knowledge he acquired from his former business partner and throughout his career have helped him master certain administrative and financial aspects, it’s important to ask for help when it’s needed.
“Don’t be afraid to jump in, never stop, and make sure to deal with every situation right away,” the businessman advises.
Lecomte also feels that another key to success when working for yourself is to always move forward and stay the course. “Having an agenda is great, but following it to a tee is a constant challenge.”
And in his opinion, the most important quality to have if you want to go into business is to love people. “If you can’t rally a team, then this isn’t for you.”
7 September 2022, By Videotron Business