My oldest solo project is Lime Training and Consultancy Ltd. (Lime)
I set Lime up in 2003. Having moved from Budapest to Cleethorpes in 2002, I was working as a barman, and as a consultant. A foreign exchange business was considering expanding into France. I had lived and worked in Paris in the same industry during the late 80’s and 90’s, and therefore made for a pretty good guide.
Talking to my client, it became apparent that I had an opportunity to sell different elements of my expertise and experience to a number of companies, as an external resource. So, I did.
The business sustained me through until the end of 2005. I never hired anyone and managed every element of the business myself. Once or twice, I was on the cusp of taking that critical step of evolving from a company of one.
I was offering training for point of sale teams and line managers. I was offering business consultancy projects (Paris for example) and management consultancy, where I was working inside a business, putting it in a position to grow. I got to the point where I needed to be in more than one place at a time. Could I have someone else provide the training, while I was business consulting?
I explored the idea with clients.
The answer was unequivocally, “No.”
In a nutshell, companies were hiring me because it was me. I don’t mean that to sound arrogant. Let me explain.
I’m a good trainer. I communicate well, I enthuse and inspire. However, there are many trainers that do that. My customer service training is well designed, researched and tested. Well, there is a lot of excellent customer service training on the market.
Point of Difference
My difference was my authenticity. I was training people who worked at the counters of foreign exchange bureaux. I had been there. Night shifts opposite the Pompidou centre, Sunday afternoons in St Tropez, rainy winter days on the left bank, I’d done them. Such authenticity is not unique.
However, frontline experience, excellent material, strong delivery and multi-lingual presentation – it was rare to find that wrapped up in one person.
I realised that I could expand in scope and size, but risked undermining the very thing that customers desired. On the other hand, I could charge a premium, keep overhead low and make more money that way.
Over the years, Lime has evolved and mostly offers anti money laundering consultancy. The principles however remain the same. When companies engage Lime, they engage me – someone who has been in the compliance hot seat across multiple jurisdictions. But that’s a tale for another post.
Next week, Money Transfer International.