From startup to acquisition in 10 years – This highly successful federal health prime executive provides lessons learned.
Keven LeBlanc is CEO/President of 4A Consulting. His career spans more than two decades in Federal IT and consulting, including nearly a decade as a leader with Liberty IT Solutions, managing the administration of Mentor/Protégé and JV relationships, managing a portfolio of projects valued at over $175M in TCV, and supporting the company’s growth as it rose from a start-up in 2013 to being acquired by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2021 for $725M. In this Orange Slices interview, he shares lessons learned about hiring, pursuing business, making connections, and defining a niche.
Starting as a Small Business
As a small business, you gain past performance and perspective by subcontracting to those who need your socioeconomic status, but you cannot rely solely on that status. Small business needs to have a clearly defined niche, something to be known for, a clear brand promise they can deliver on and then, over time, strategically work to move toward the edge of that model.
Know Your Direction
No small company can possibly deliver on every capability needed. I would much rather see a team say, ‘this is where we are now, this is where we would like to be, and this project will help us move in that direction.’
Beyond the Resume
Growing a successful company is never about one person and their connections. At Liberty IT, while some leadership possessed VA-domain experience, in building the team we focused on junior people, many straight out of college, in whom we saw a drive. Everyone was expected to perform some degree of business development and where we saw passion, we would position more specific joint business development (BD) and capture leads.
The Go/No Go
Bluebirds, those lucrative sales opportunities that you come across unexpectedly, without much effort, are there but rare. We made hard pursuit decisions based on metrics. We refused business when we did not have a solution that made sense, or where we lacked needed intimacy with the client, and we declined based on partner strategy if we disliked the view.