Making Businesses Better – Candice Lu of OnPrem Solution Partners

Candice Lu, Founder and Managing Partner of OnPrem Solution Partners

Candice Lu, the Founder and Managing Partner of OnPrem Solution Partners, along with her partners grew their company’s revenue from $9.8 million in 2014 to $28.8 million in 2017, a 193% increase, and to around $38 million in 2018.  

OnPrem Solution Partners provides consulting and technology innovation services to major studios, broadcasters, non profits and consumer product companies.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Candice shares how she and her partners accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Hiring the right talent with both EQ and IQ, with discipline and gratefulness, who are like-able by colleagues and clients alike.  
  • Working with the right clients who have similar values, where their interests can be aligned.  
  • Doing the right thing for clients (such as turning down projects where they are not the best solution) and for employees (by finding projects that provide career growth).  

Computer generated transcript - OnPrem Solution Partners Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - OnPrem Solution Partners Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Candice Lu, the Founder and Managing Partner of OnPrem Solution Partners, a provider of consulting and technology innovation services to major studios, broadcasters, non profits and consumer product companies. Welcome to the show Candice.

Candice Lu: Hi. Thanks for having me.

Malcolm Lui: Candice, you and your partners grew your company's revenue from $9.8 million in 2014 to $28.8 million in 2017, a 193% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $38 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Candice Lu: Yeah absolutely. So we are consulting. And technology provider to media and entertainment clients and also consumer products. So what that means because still to this day my parents don't even know what I do is we really just help solve problems for whether it's the major studios or broadcasters or now because we're product companies whether it's hey we need a new streaming service to help us set that up. Help us understand the processes around it or we need a new app so help us build that. It could be a combination of all different kinds of problems that could take whether it's four weeks long or three years long. It just a mix of problem solving that we do for different customers

Malcolm Lui: All right. And how do you differ from your competition.

Candice Lu: I think for us it really is about our talent. So this is our third iteration when it comes to companies. So when I say are there four founders and now five partners of this firm and all five of us work together for the last 15 years and it started with a small consulting firm they got acquired and then we spun out to do this one. And I think the thread through all of it for us has always been finding really the best people where it's a mix of both IQ and IQ. Where I think we really do focus on collaborating with our clients where I think a lot of other firms out there you really do feel like it's consultants versus them like you know you're the consultants were with us the way that we approach projects. It really is advisory. So even if it's us telling them that we're not the best pick to do that work you do that because it's the right thing. So there really is a collaboration aspect for that. And we have to find the right people to make sure that we we foster that

Malcolm Lui: How do you do all the work from strategy to implement in the implementation or do you have

Candice Lu: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Other partners

Candice Lu: Yes. So we we do the whole gamut. The majority of us come from the big four. So a lot of backgrounds at Accenture P.W. see a lot of that type of work that you see at those companies we do. So we you know we we will take it from strategy all the way down to the implementation of that particular technology. I think that the difference also for us is that we tend to really focus on technology that that's more pushing the envelope. So you're not really going to see as doing kind of back office implementations of these large software you know feel like an escapee or or Oracle or things like that. I think for us it really is about you know digital platforms and more technology that that's a little bit more in the forefront.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Could you give an example of some of the technology that you've applied that's more cutting edge

Candice Lu: Yeah I mean any any technology that you would encounter at a major studio that's delivering assets to any particular partner whether it's a net full flex or an apple downstream one of us at this company helped build. So and we've done that since the advent on time a time when it was just DVD all the way now to when it's digital files. And so when when you're looking at pushing these very large files out internationally it it it's becoming more and more mainstream. I mean you're seeing these companies stand up that that's all they're doing is really pushing content and streaming that so that that type of work that is now becoming more more common of a topic is

Malcolm Lui: Right

Candice Lu: The work that we've been doing for the last two decades at this point.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So what's the next step because what he has been doing is almost becoming mainstream right. It's kind of more coming

Candice Lu: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Out of pushing out content

Candice Lu: Yeah. And then I think we're we're lucky in the fact that we are coming from an industry where we're benchmark in that so when the reason why we moved into consumer products is if a toy company is asking us to move a file of a photo of a toy box it's really easy for us to say well yeah we know how to do that because we're moving these large large gigs worth of files when it comes to pushing film all over the world.

Malcolm Lui: Yet

Candice Lu: So the transition for us to go and to do a segment like consumer products it's a more natural one because they really are looking for now transitioning to that model. And we've been doing that for for a long time. So I think for us there is still this growth that's happening in entertainment because that whole industry is getting rocked now. You know the studios of the world are consolidating they are now competing with these companies that were there before and they had to look at all these new business models. So there is a lot of work still even though it's it's becoming commonplace to transition them to that where you're not just kind of you know resting on on on physical discs and and just leveraging the revenue coming out of that you really have to transition your business model. So they have to ask a question of will. Now what do my processes look like. What what does my organization look like and what do I do to stay competitive. So it's it's a whole new world out there that requires a lot more kind of strategic perspective than ever before

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Now in terms of the drivers of your growth from nine point eight million in 2014 to around 38 million in 2018 four years later what were the three biggest drivers that you touch upon one of them.

Candice Lu: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Finding the right talent as your number

Candice Lu: Absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: One driver

Candice Lu: Yep yep absolutely I mean it's find the right talent and also having the right client for us has been huge. And I think the commonality where I would say kind of the third aspect that that ties to those two is just do the right thing. It's the integrity behind that and what I mean by that is that if if you really are out there to do what's best for that particular client and that that person the the amount of work that keeps coming to you it's continuous because people will know that if you say yes to something it really means that you can do it. So I think a testament to that is that I would say about 80 to 90 percent of our work it's non compete. It is handed to us because again it's it's it's people who trust us. So the relations that we have because the fact that we really are advisory really has led to that growth. And so you see kind of over and over again we get into a client and we end up staying there for quite a bit of time not just on that one project but on other things. I think our rule of thumb is to kind of work ourselves out of a job right. But what ends up happening is there's always these other projects. And again because people trust the fact that you can do the right thing by them they continue to use you. So whether that that's kind of retention from a talent side because you're doing the right thing for them from a career development perspective or you know integrity from my client side because they know that you're gonna do the right thing for them. That that leads to for us that's what's led to our growth. We're not salespeople. We haven't spent to date a lot of dollars on marketing. It really has just been relationship building.

Malcolm Lui: Right now. When you talk about do more work with within your own kind is that the primary driver of the growth or did you get tons of new clients as well over the past four years

Candice Lu: It's a combination. So you know it's it's million dollar accounts turning of the 10 million dollar accounts right. So that that could be one particular client where you're ending up doing a lot of work for them because of that trust. But then what is happening is that someone might end up moving from a studio to to a streaming service and then because they worked with you at that particular studio they will say hey I am now here I want you to help me here

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Candice Lu: So we've

Malcolm Lui: Got it

Candice Lu: Had pretty organic growth across new logos just again off relationships. So it's it's this CTO becomes you know the CTO this other company and we've just been there with them to the very beginning of it. So a lot of our of our logo kind of the new logo creation has has been through that and again not as much on the marketing branding side which now that we're talented people we're starting to turn to and say Okay now we need to we actually need this. Beautiful feel growth. Before that it was just our current clients moving to a new logo and taking us with them

Malcolm Lui: Right. Do you recall how many how many clients you had in 2014 and how many you have in

Candice Lu: Oh my

Malcolm Lui: 2018

Candice Lu: Goodness. So I think now overall I would say it's about 30 thirty five logos that we have currently I think in 2014 it was maybe it was less than 10.

Malcolm Lui: And you mentioned before how your team has been working together for 15 years. When you first started on prem I said from scratch I had to go out and find your business or were you able to find some clients from your past years of experience working together that you Euro to bring onboard very quickly

Candice Lu: The latter. You know I think that that that again it just just comes with the fact that we built all these relations that have been so strong. So when when the four of us started the company of a lot of kind of organic communication occurred when it came to clients and when it came to team members reaching out to us because they knew our reputation

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Candice Lu: And they they they knew what we were all about already. So that that was the thing about branding. We didn't really even have to have the right name right. We could have come out the gate with you know from consulting and people would have followed us because it wasn't really about the brand. It was about the people that were coming into it.

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Candice Lu: So we weren't we were really lucky in the fact that we when we hung up the shingle. A lot of people were like oh let's this is this is great. We know you guys we trust you guys we're coming over

Malcolm Lui: Right now. What can you tell us about the name on prem solution partners. What

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Is that. How

Candice Lu: Well

Malcolm Lui: Do you guys

Candice Lu: It's

Malcolm Lui: Come to the

Candice Lu: It's interesting. Well one it is really hard to find a name when you're starting a business that hasn't already been taken or

Malcolm Lui: Yet.

Candice Lu: Hasn't had a domain taken by someone that just wants profit out of it. You make your lists and you're like OK none of those work when the idea of onramp came out. We had come from an offshore company that had acquired the first the first company that we were at. And so the idea of having a services firm being on premises meeting in the United States and domestic was it was a big thing for us. I think there was there's there's a lot of positive things to say about the offshore model but for the work that we do it wasn't the most convenient for us to be able to one retain talent just because of the time zones and then also just just to get kind of the the capacity of throughput of work that we wanted for the type of technologies we were developing. So one on prem was on premise in the United States. Second we are predominantly remote so we have offices in Los Angeles and New York and in Dallas where all of our consultants are based off of the client site. So we are on premises at the client our teams are on premises and we don't have it we don't have an office. Austin is the only one we have an office and that's our development center. So that's just where our software developers sit together. So it was the idea of on premises teams and also on premises in the United States. But the interesting thing about that is that you know again not thinking through the branding of this kind of like long term we've kind of hit some walls with the name on prem when a lot of the work now is cloud computing and transitioning into the cloud and so they look doesn't say why are you guys call that when that's not the work that you do. So now we're starting to kind of run into that that wall of is the right name to continue with as we try to it to move forward and to continue to grow

Malcolm Lui: Right. I guess. Come on cloud I suppose

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: So and probably ought to grab that one that's probably a pretty obvious

Candice Lu: Yep

Malcolm Lui: One to take.

Candice Lu: Yep.

Malcolm Lui: All right. So in regards to clients being comfortable with a team that works remotely I imagine 10 15 years ago I may have been a bit unusual. But how about today. People pretty comfortable with your consultants being revoked and

Candice Lu: Well I mean we're still at the client site so

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Candice Lu: We're you know we're working at a major studio doing a project with them we're on site with them.

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Candice Lu: So it's it's no difference to them.

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Candice Lu: Really the difference becomes when we were at a Big Four you know when you weren't on a project you had to report to headquarters. You sit there and kind of wait around for something to Google in the office. And

Malcolm Lui: On to

Candice Lu: For

Malcolm Lui: Be

Candice Lu: Us. Yeah. On the beach on the bench for us just operationally it just didn't make sense to incur that cost

Malcolm Lui: Like

Candice Lu: When.

Malcolm Lui: I get it.

Candice Lu: Yeah. When there just wasn't again a need for that. And when we're so trust based that it's not like we have to micromanage our team in that way.

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK so your team is remote in the sense that you don't have a head office or everyone hangs out when they're not working. But

Candice Lu: Correct

Malcolm Lui: All the work they do is still onsite with the client.

Candice Lu: Right. That's right.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Great. Now in terms of finding people where you said you had a two hundred employees right now I think that what you shared with me

Candice Lu: Correct. Yep

Malcolm Lui: And how many did you have way back. Me first and 2014 roughly speaking

Candice Lu: I know. So we started the company in 2013 and April but by the time 2013 had had ended we were at 15 2014. Gosh I want to say we were probably closer to maybe 40.

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Candice Lu: I don't have an exact number but yeah I mean we we've kind of continued to grow at a pretty phenomenal rate although I will say that when we first put together our three year projection for this company we were at these numbers. So it wasn't that unique to us that we were starting to hit 50 percent growth year over year you know from from the year we started to three years after the fact because we kind of thought it would get to that

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah it is pretty rapid growth. I mean even if you tell anyone that you grew your company from 15 employees to two hundred five years later I think most people say that's pretty fast

Candice Lu: Oh yeah. No. Believe me I mean it is it is what keeps me up at night for sure but it's not it's not something that surprises us but the fact that it happens you know it's still is like it's kind of it's jarring still when you think about a hit like what you

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Candice Lu: Say that it happened in a blink

Malcolm Lui: So the work you did back in 2013 must be different right. Imagine with 15 people. It must have been a lot a lot more challenging to do the implementation work as well.

Candice Lu: Yeah. And I think when we were first starting we were just in Los Angeles and you know three people in New York. And sometimes it would just take work that was almost there wasn't necessarily project based it was more what they call staff augmentation. Just to kind of get our brand out there and just to be able to start the work and then and then transition it to something else. But now we're where we're at. We can be a lot more picky when it comes to focusing on work that really is going to grow our team members and really is focusing on the areas that we want to focus on. So like you said if we're doing it and implementation that requires 15 to 20 people we can actually take that on versus before that would have taken up our whole company

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. All right. So before you mentioned hiring the right talent having the right to an IQ How do you go about doing that

Candice Lu: You know I think that a lot of it you just get a sense for for people. So we we we recruit from the top schools that exist out there you know. So there's already a filter that you know by the time they get to you they're pretty smart. Right. And then there's discipline around that or else they wouldn't have gotten to to that place where they're in. So that that's campus on the lateral hire side. Similarly we look for a certain experience that whether that's coming from a from a consulting firm or or industry work that's meaningful to us. But when you when it comes to interviewing someone you just get a sense of that. So we do case interviews to kind of go through the analytical side and then we do behavioral and really that behavioral piece of it it's really looking for you know not just their ability to communicate but it's also humility. We find that making sure there's kind of that the no jerk policy with the firm right that everyone that you hire is a team player and you're not just in it for themselves. That leads to a culture for us that that's very supportive and that really looks out for each other and that I feel like it's been a backbone for. Our company when we do campus hiring which we do every year and this year we're looking at about thirty five new hires coming from the likes of Stanford's UCLA A's Columbia all all over kind of east and west coast. We do a second round we basically have a get together with all the candidates and we'll we'll just do like a happy hour. And that's really for us just to get a sense for our people likable. And again that humility aspect of it right like this is somebody you want to work hand-in-hand with every single day. So that element of it is critical to us. Well we always say is that is that kind of intelligence part of it the Smarts that's the stables that's table stakes like we just take that for granted.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Candice Lu: So it really is about about just that the personalities of making sure that they're going to be a good team player.

Malcolm Lui: Yep. Now how do you feel throughout that people are just great at interviewing

Candice Lu: Well I'm sorry they say that one more time.

Malcolm Lui: How do you feel throughout the people who are just fantastic at interviewing but not necessarily the people you want to hang out with. Twelve hours a day

Candice Lu: Well I mean but you get a sense of that right. Even if you're a fantastic interviewer it's it's about that rapport

Malcolm Lui: Yet

Candice Lu: Because we're very much a services firm. So if we were to if we were just producing products and widgets that's one thing that are what we what we provide. It's that interaction.

Malcolm Lui: He

Candice Lu: And so if you're coming at it from a client standpoint what I've always said is that you give the best recommendation of the world. But if someone doesn't like you it's not it's not going to fly. There has to be a likeability there because fortunately or unfortunately like we are with people day in and day out.

Malcolm Lui: Yet

Candice Lu: So you have to be able to have that. You have to be able to have that connection with people that you have the right answers all the time. But if you don't have that rapport it's it's not going to work

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I definitely hear you on that one. Yeah I just right just for me just trying to figure out that rapport aside I think it's probably the most challenging one. But like you said it comes with the

Candice Lu: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Interviewing and hiring hundreds of people over time at you. You figure it out

Candice Lu: Yeah I mean I think there's also something to be said about looking at a resume and then finding people that have just had to work for it you know that that even even though they're going to an Ivy League or whatever it is that they've had to work 40 hours a week because the first person their families that you don't know coming out of college or you're going to school or going to college or or know people that are in leadership positions whether it's athletes or or at a club at school because no one ask them to do that. Right. I think it's also a discipline and a gratefulness with folks that have that background that for us almost always in the millennial problem. If you just find people that have had to earn it and have had to work for it we find that there's a gratefulness there that also exists that really helps with that.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. It's a you come across all right the people who have to work for it versus those who don't. Right. Just the whole mindset about you know their appreciation of what they do and how to get there is totally different from those that had a bit of an easier path.

Candice Lu: One hundred percent and I come from a family of immigrants. And so I saw my parents do it. I saw them pushing through it and then I grew up in the Philippines coming here. You just get that sense right. You just appreciate everything that you have.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Candice Lu: So that's also what we're what we look for.

Malcolm Lui: Right now in terms of the second driver the right client Key took a bit more about that. Now how do you do. How do you determine who the right clients are.

Candice Lu: Well you know for us I think the media and entertainment space and consumer products also there is something just about the names that exist there. Like it's exciting to to to work for four different companies that exist in this space right now. Just know that the six major studios any of its good clients because they're all they're all doing different things. I think when it comes to the individual client like the person that you're working for it's really really helpful to be aligned with that person in regards to treating people right. You know a lot of my clients I'm very thankful for and that I work. I've also worked with them for over 15 years and there's a friendship there in a relationship there because they are happy people that I just genuinely respect and then I know that will treat my team members right. So there there isn't this fear of Oh my God this client's going to yell at my team and we're all just going to have to deal with that you find good people that are also aware of the fact that these are people right that we're also concerned about their career growth and if certain projects lead to some sort of plateau with they're with their ability to progress that we have to talk about how do we improve that or else they're going to leave both of us. So I think the ideal client for me is as someone that has similar value set when it comes to the integrity components of it and just and just caring about people

Malcolm Lui: Right. Have you over the past four years have you ever perhaps thought that maybe the direction you're taking quite a bit of a pivot and then

Candice Lu: Oh

Malcolm Lui: Some of

Candice Lu: Sure.

Malcolm Lui: The clients did not fit in that new direction and you kind of had to fire them or let them go or send them off to someone else.

Candice Lu: I think there there have been instances where there have been difficult clients where we made a conscious decision not to take that project because we just knew with that with a team impact would be. I think I think you become conscious of that as you as you grow. But I think I think overall when you go from 15 to 40 to 60 all the way to two hundred that you're pivoting all the time just because it is different. But when it when it comes to what you have what you have to make sure you're focusing on in terms of people and also just kind of revenue generation that you're taking on. So is it one of those things where it's like we only can take clients on that of a certain revenue set which I know when we were at larger firms that that was some of the focus but I think we run into instances where that hasn't really been the case where we've been really lucky with clients that have provided just as much work as major studios because again there's always always a need and if between you know again if you're treating the right and all that stuff it's just continuous continuous work. So we haven't a story went into that piece of it but more about walking away from work. Well we feel like our clients aren't going to be just kind of the best when it comes to training people

Malcolm Lui: Mm hmm. And you mentioned before about doing projects that offer your team skill development career advancement.

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Do you proactively define and seek out those projects

Candice Lu: Oh definitely. Because because that's that's the ideal and it's never perfect. I think that that's what what the hard thing is about consulting and what we people have to kind of come in with eyes wide open is that you're never going to be on the perfect project every single time. So there also has to be this mentality of I'm going to learn from no matter what the project is and the great news about consulting is that there they're usually pretty there's usually an end right. It's like average product for us is probably 12 14 weeks. But you know I think that we have to be conscious about the fact that people are going to grow because again if they don't they're going to leave us. I mean these are very very talented people who if we're not doing the right thing by them they're going to gonna walk out the door. So I think what we've been really good at is finding team members who have a lot of capability and then proactively stretching them in a way that they're able to grow quickly. You know we're a meritocracy based. So there are a lot of people that have kind of flown through our AR levels because frankly that's how I was mentored. And it builds so much confidence if you will believe in you. And then all the sudden you're put in a situation where it's a little bit of a stretch in comparison to what you're used to and then you hit it and you're like oh I can do this. Then you just build that confidence over and over again. So it's critical for us to have that professional development here or else we're not keeping people.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. So you will find projects that give your give your team that opportunity right as opposed to some cookie cutter project they do over and over again.

Candice Lu: Yeah yeah. But you know even like the cookie cutter project you do over and over again it's just different people in different places in their careers so there is always going to be someone who's gonna learn from that. But you know I think that we're always going to run to a project that's going to be more again like pushing the envelope or like making the news just because it's exciting

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Candice Lu: Though and we're really lucky that we're in industries that people talk about and our people's hobbies. So you're

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Candice Lu: Walking into a room you're talking about how movies are made or how a toy is made in your life at a school.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Candice Lu: So there has to be that interest in their

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Those those areas are always cool topics.

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: So the third driver doing the right thing to get continuous work. Talk a little bit more about that

Candice Lu: Yeah I mean I think I've talked about this in previous articles that I've just kind of been a part of that. I talked about this concept of karmic leadership and I'm a big believer in that. I mean in life and in business that if you do the right thing it always just somehow comes back to you in the right way and that you can't burn a bridge you have to treat people right. And that for me it's like I just want to be able to sleep at night. So when it comes to consulting when it comes to business again if I tell someone my client like Hey go go with Accenture for that were because they're going to do it better than us. I get it. I then tell them hey I can do that particular job. They know that I can do that job because I'm going to walk away from work that I just don't think. They don't think it's gonna lead to success.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Candice Lu: And I feel like there's enough work for everyone out there. You know that again it's just about what it is about making sure you're you're putting yourself in that person's shoes and saying what is the right thing to do. If I were in that person's shoes and it's not just about making the most money for this consulting firm because again I feel like all of that just just it's it's second nature that it will come if. You just do the right thing from the very beginning. And I find that a lot of consulting firms out there you know whether it's. Just a different motivation because of sales cycles or whatever it is. There's a lot of elbowing and there's a lot of like I'm going to get credit for this and I want to push this person out and it just doesn't feel right. But unfortunately there's different motivations that exist out there that doesn't lead to what you would think would be a pretty logical approach to doing business

Malcolm Lui: Yeah yeah. People skills right. People have different priorities. It's a matter of getting them all aligned like you said earlier in

Candice Lu: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Striving for the same goals.

Candice Lu: Yeah. And also just it's trusting the fact that it's going to be OK right. That if you walk away from work that it's gonna be OK

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Candice Lu: That that if someone leaves your firm because they're going to become you know whatever. Like a CEO of a studio that that's gonna be OK because you've got them to that position and now they're going to become a client and that you don't like hold any sort of grudge against that person because they left your firm.

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Candice Lu: It's about that individual and what's best for them. And so if you support that person and this has happened to us you know there have been multiple occasions where people will have left for client and we end up supporting that we end up even negotiating contracts for them and then they become our most loyal client.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Candice Lu: So you know it's it's that idea of long term and not just kind of what what the best short term gain would be for you

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah. Totally hear you on that one for you meant earlier in our conversation that now that you have two thousand employees two thousand people on your team.

Candice Lu: To two hundred you're scaring

Malcolm Lui: Sorry

Candice Lu: Me with two thousand.

Malcolm Lui: Sorry. Yeah I'm thinking about the future here. I'm sure you'll get it there

Candice Lu: Don't get

Malcolm Lui: Shortly.

Candice Lu: Me there every night.

Malcolm Lui: Okay but now we have 200 people on your team. You say you now need marketing and sales to help fuel your growth. Can you talk a little bit more about that.

Candice Lu: Yeah. You know I think as we scale there's only so much that relationships can do for you. I mean you're going to tap out a certain point of no people that you know and then the number of people within your network. So there has to be a way for people to start coming to you from a branding and marketing standpoint. So

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Candice Lu: You know one of our one of our partners Vanessa feels she's been focusing on the on the marketing side for us and looking at being able to one brand us and then also say hey what is what is on prem mean out there. Is the name meaningful. What do we do. What would do we need to do to actually have thought leadership out there to be able to market us so that there's more of just people coming us versus just us continue to get work through through a relationship. So this is the pivot that as you grow you have to think about that in order to to scale and order to be able to be more leveraged. You know just it's just to have kind of that that marketing piece of it running.

Malcolm Lui: Have you seen your referral business an increase in new work slowing down lately.

Candice Lu: No

Malcolm Lui: But you see

Candice Lu: That's

Malcolm Lui: It coming

Candice Lu: The thing.

Malcolm Lui: Down

Candice Lu: We we we see it coming at some point. And you read kind of case studies and books on this and and you know that you have to make that pivot just like similarly on the culture side. You have to make certain pivots. We've still been very lucky in the fact that that again because people end up just moving from place to place. I think the lifespan of people within jobs now it is shrinking more and more so we just have clients going for one thing to the next to the next and just bringing us alongside them. So and then once we get to a new logo there's a lot of work to be done in that and that piece of it.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Candice Lu: So so you know I don't think that's necessarily stop. We are starting to see a little bit more of just kind of blind LinkedIn reach outs and saying hey we've heard about you can you do something with us here.

Malcolm Lui: Hey

Candice Lu: So. So that's starting to happen just a little bit but again not based on anything that we've done proactively we've started this whole branding and marketing campaign over the last oh gosh I mean six months but it's all just you know just an investigation at this point we haven't necessarily implemented.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Yeah I can imagine how referrals in a new business will be limited right. As you grow it there's only so many people at the senior level that are developing those relationships. The decision

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Makers

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: In i you create a strategy to facilitate moving your clients to new firms. I guess you get it going to

Candice Lu: Yeah now

Malcolm Lui: The

Candice Lu: We're

Malcolm Lui: Negative

Candice Lu: We're getting

Malcolm Lui: Placements.

Candice Lu: Like pushed them out so that they can go somewhere else. Yeah. No

Malcolm Lui: So what are your targets for 2019 in terms of sales and the new clients and maybe new hires

Candice Lu: It's that that continued mentality of 30 to 40 percent growth. So we're bringing on is I said about thirty five new hires some campus and 20 19. So just that in itself leads to 20 percent growth. Right. In regards to the number of people but. But beyond that we're looking at at targets close to it because another an additional 10 million. About 48 million for 20 19. So what what that means for us is that there's continued growth and there's pockets of markets for us like New York where we have about 30 people there. Where there's there's just room for growth. Just like you know it's where L.A. was three years ago so for us to be able to look at other broadcasting companies out there consumer products companies near there there's there's opportunities. So maybe New York rose 50 percent while L.A. grows 20 percent or whatever it is to be able to have that balance. And then we have Dallas that we're just starting and there's automotive out there you know there there's additional consumer products there's telecom that we can tap into. So you know we project that growth to really come from from those areas. In addition to just continuous growth here in Los Angeles

Malcolm Lui: Right. So what are the big challenges that you your team need to overcome to get your 30 to 40 percent growth.

Candice Lu: People finding finding the right people and making sure that we continue to retain our culture. You know we've gotten awards for Best Places to Work for top culture and we can't lose that. And I think it's it's a realization though that you have to shift that were before it was enough for us to be able to have these events where we had annual meetings that we would all fly people to whatever it was Denver or Cabo or whatever it was just to get together that it can't just be about that anymore. You know that it has to be a lot more about about the individual and professional development and creating these sub communities because when you get to a hundred people Los Angeles you don't really feel like you're missing out on something. If you're not attending an event because there's a lot of people that are going to be there it's a different feeling than when you were 15. So we have to make sure we're shifting and and always you know I think for us as a leadership team We're always nervous. And I think we would be terrible leaders if we weren't always there because we always have to think about how do we continue to make sure that this is a place where people want to be at. And we have to realize that culture changes and a shift and that's totally OK. But we have to be ahead of it.

Malcolm Lui: Right now you didn't mention marketing and sales as being a key challenge or

Candice Lu: Oh

Malcolm Lui: Opportunity

Candice Lu: Yeah I know that that absolutely absolutely has to be. You know it's it's getting that right. Right. I mean if we're changing our name like we have to make sure we're getting that right. And in order for us to get new leads to increase that growth that has that has to be there. So I would I would add that to it as well

Malcolm Lui: Right. Any thoughts as to the initiatives ideas that your team's looking at to getting new leads.

Candice Lu: You know I think you know I think it's a combination of things I think whether it's it's the use of thought leadership to be able to promote just certain areas that we specialize in so we focus a lot of digital supply chain on data analytics. You know just making sure that people are aware of what we're doing in that area so that they're reaching out to us. I think that that's helpful.

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Candice Lu: But I also think that the key to just continued referrals whether that's through LinkedIn and just kind of looking at the connections that exist there and then proactively reaching out to folks to be able to say hey I've done work here. Could we could we be of use to you guys because as soon as you get in front of people you know again it's the experience that that we have. It goes a long way because we've done a lot of really really neat things and that applied a lot different industries at this point.

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Candice Lu: So it also just comes down to just getting us just getting us into meetings because beyond that we're pretty good when it comes to to getting projects

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Well you had a nice nice portfolio and case study for you here. People

Candice Lu: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Need a recognized right.

Candice Lu: Yeah exactly.

Malcolm Lui: That helps a lot.

Candice Lu: Yep.

Malcolm Lui: All right. So in terms of your marketing strategy you talk about inbound type strategies. How about an outbound site. You talk a little bit about that. It's

Candice Lu: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: In

Candice Lu: Yeah. And I think it's also just like getting our prizes out there in conferences so we're sitting in panels and talking about about our work so that people are seeing that you know like when we think about ad spend we think about certain things like that. It's just that nothing goes against our DNA. We're just so unfamiliar with it and we just really don't really understand how the why behind it at this point I think we're going to do certain things around that. But it's more targeted. So when we have advertising it's gonna be at a conference where we know that it's specific to technology within super products or media entertainment right.

Malcolm Lui: Yet.

Candice Lu: So that we know that the audience is going to exist for that but even helping with certain things like a Web site. And Rebecca I think that to make sure that quickly understand what we do because the attention span these days. If you have too many words on your page it's it's not really gonna go that well.

Malcolm Lui: No kidding

Candice Lu: Yeah and it's hard to explain what we do because we do so many different things. So it's a being being thoughtful about what our website looks like and revamping that you know certain things like that I think would be helpful for an outbound standpoint.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Speaking of describing what you do next. What's it like for you if you had a billboard somewhere on on prem. Probably not in Los Angeles because traffic is a move so fast there. But

Candice Lu: The

Malcolm Lui: If you if it was on a fast moving freeway somewhere what would be a billboard message. Because the move traffic is moving fast. You only have six seconds for the person

Candice Lu: Yep

Malcolm Lui: And read your message

Candice Lu: Yep. Yeah. No I I. We are branding what would it does come down to is we're in the business of making businesses better. I mean that's kind of the tagline that we we rest on is that we're or here to really make our clients better and to to kind of move that for them when it comes to where they want to be in the future. So that would be my tagline

Malcolm Lui: All right. The business of making business is better. It's got a bit of alliteration there. So is good having

Candice Lu: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Those bees in there

Candice Lu: I know.

Malcolm Lui: And might you ask why for you. Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to contact your team.

Candice Lu: Yeah. Know ideal clients for us. It's it's. It's anyone that really is looking to innovate especially in the spaces that we're in media entertainment and consumer products. You know for for us because we have such a wealth of knowledge around that to be able to to leverage that and then utilize it for four different companies that that could take advantage of that. We love working with people to do that and then really really thinking about kind of the make sure that is future proof. So it's anyone who's who was looking to kind of whether it shift their their business or to innovate or to kind of get get to that to that next level with the with experience that we have. It's that. But also again as I mentioned before it's also just comes down to people who also treat people right and our collaborative and are open to new ideas and brainstorming and working with with just people that that also care back. And then for anyone to be able to reach out to ask you know you can go on our Web site there there are links there to be able to to contact us directly and then if anyone ever just wanted to email us directly can email me at Candice my first name CNBC on prime dot com

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic. It's been great having you on my show. Candice I really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast

Candice Lu: Thank you so much Malcolm I appreciate it. Again just the opportunity to be able to talk about it.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Candice Lu, the Founder and Managing Partner of OnPrem Solution Partners, about her company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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