An interview with our CEO Lee Chettoe
In their two years of operation, LPC Invest Ltd has expanded and grown from strength to strength, working with high profile developers such as the local Salboy and excelling in the property investment market all over Manchester and the North.
In an attempt to find out more about the business and it’s local beginnings, we’ve decided to interview co-founder and CEO of LPC Invest, Lee Chettoe:
So Lee, why did you decide to create LPC Invest and branch out on your own?
Mainly so that I had more control over what I was offering clients. I didn’t want to be restricted by having to sell what I was told to sell and I wanted to offer a greater choice to clients. I wanted to sell investments that I felt my due diligence would support and they stood up to my standards of property.
How did you initially get into property investment?
By accident really. When I came back from travelling through South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, I did a series of jobs that I didn’t enjoy and then started off with a property investment company in Manchester selling properties in the countries I’d travelled in, mainly Thailand and Australia.
What were the jobs you did in the interim that you didn’t enjoy?
Working in a foundry, with furnaces mainly, and then selling easter eggs to newsagents. It was just to make ends meet really.
What made you decide to go into business with your partner Louise?
She knew I had the capability to achieve this and she had the drive to set it all up. I had the ideas for the company, but without her drive and motivation I’d have never gotten round to setting up the business and without my ideas, there wouldn’t be anything to set up.
What would you say was your biggest challenge in building a business?
Definitely finding people to work with that I trust. There’s areas of the industry that I had no experience with and they can be difficult to work in. Once I’d established a network of people who had the same morals as me, whether that’s developers, lead generation companies or salesmen, the company started.
What do you feel is LPC Invest’s biggest strength?
Definitely the people who work for us and the people we work with. The honesty and integrity of the staff who work on behalf of clients is our strength.
Do you think LPC Invest will continue to expand?
Yes, but not too big. I like being able to work together with everyone. Part of the success of the company is that we all help each other, and if we got too big we wouldn’t be able to do that. Some companies can have an atmosphere where everyone works for themselves but under one roof, but we really work together as a company. Any negative procedures I’ve had in the past I’ve tried to change and turn into a positive in my company. I’ve worked with good bosses and bad bosses. Any good bosses I’ve had I try to take their positivity and any bad bosses I’ve had I take their negativity and turn it into a positive on my end.
What are you most proud of in building the business?
I would say growing to the size that we are without any digital presence and solely grew on the referrals of the customer service we deliver. I think it’s limitless what we can achieve now that we are beginning to have an online presence, but it’s just keeping a cap on that and achieving what we want to.
Where do you think the property investment industry will be in 10 years?
You know, this industry changes very often and we have to adapt to those changes. People will always want to make money off of property and people will always need advice from experts on how to do that and that’s where we come in. Even now we operate through different forums to what we did 5 years ago. 20 years ago people didn’t even have email and you’d have to have a shop and send direct mail to clients. Being adaptable in this industry is key.
So why is it called LPC Invest?
Because LC was already being used by someone else. [laughter] You see, we made a decision very quickly to set the business up and it was a very quick decision. So we just went with my initials.
What are your interests outside of running the business?
Keeping fit mainly, going to the gym and sometimes playing squash and tennis. I also go to the football a lot.
Who do you support?
Why do you support City and not United?
Because when I used to go stay at my nana’s on a Saturday afternoon, we would go to my auntie’s for lunch which was right next door and all of the men in the family were getting ready to go to the match and I always wanted to go with them. They supported City and so it was passed down to me. My dad tried to get me to support United earlier on in my life but it could just never stick with me.
So you grew up around here?
Yeah, I grew up in Salford. That’s why I’m very proud of the area, and working in the heart of it.
Why did you never branch out into the centre of Manchester?
Because Salford Quays has everything that Manchester has. We only employ experienced staff and so we have to have a nice environment for them to work in, and MediaCityUK is new, has nice restaurants, bars and facilities for our staff, but just in Salford. We had to have an environment where the landlord would support us when we expanded. We were originally stationed in Exchange Quay but then grew too large for our office there and came to MediaCityUK.
What have you learned whilst building a business yourself?
Nothing is ever as daunting as it is made out to be.
If you don’t try something you’ll never succeed. It’s always so scary but once you start it, you get on with it and adapt to it. If you push yourself into an environment outside of your comfort zone you’ll either sink or swim and you learn to swim very quickly. I wasn’t enjoying my previous job, and I had a mortgage, a 2-year old baby and it was a high risk, but I knew that if I took myself out of the comfort zone that I would do what I needed to do to make it work. There was a lot of luck along the way but that’s how it worked for us.
What advice would you give to me if I were to set up a property investment business?
You need a lot of money to do it. You have to try and get your message across, and no matter how good you are, if people don’t know that then it’s a futile exercise. It costs money to get your message out there. You have to start somewhere.
To find out what LPC Invest has to offer, check out our website at www.lpcinvest.com or call us today on 0161 713 3883.