The Kenny Jacobs Perspective Features Charles Leslie Jr.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Placencia Village on November 6, 1980. I was delivered by Placencia's oldest, most befriended mid-wife, the late Mrs. Athelo Cabral.
I am the son of Mara Mayen and Charles B Leslie Sr., who is one of the pioneers of sport fishing in Southern Belize. I am the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Liston and Doris Leslie (nee Eiley).
I attended St. John's Anglican Primary School in Placencia, where I graduated and received a scholarship to attend Independence High School, where I graduated with honors. I then did two years of college at Ecumenical Junior College in Dangriga Town, where I majored in Accounting, Business Management and Economics. My passion, however, was Information Technology; unfortunately they did not offer any advance courses at Ecumenical Junior College.
2. You are the Founder & Owner of Leslie Tech Consulting. What do you believe is important in this your role?
Many businesses across Belize, especially SMEs (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises) have difficulty developing their image, and ultimately their brand, for they either don't know how or do not think it is important. Remember, a hotdog vendor can develop a brand.
I established Leslie Tech Consulting to assist businesses develop their image, and ultimately their brand.
3. Tell us more about Leslie Tech Consulting (Little History)?. Why did you establish this business? How has business been since inception? How do you market your business?
I started my Leslie Tech business in 1995 at the age of 15. I did mostly computer troubleshooting and desktop publishing. I did this, as well as managing the sales and marketing for Tarpon Caye Lodge, a family business on a private island in front of Placencia, and concurrently attend high school and college.
My first official job out of college was at the Placencia Tourism Center, where my main job description was to desktop publish the Placencia Breeze; which grew rapidly in popularity. In the 3 years I worked at the PTC, they paid to have me take courses in desktop publishing as well as website design, so that I could desktop publish the Placencia Breeze printed edition as well as manage the Placencia.com and theplacenciabreeze.com.
In 2005, I expanded my Leslie Tech business to a bigger building and started running it full time. I grew my Leslie Tech business to the only full service computer business in Placencia with my protégé, George McKoy, who is an epitome of what it means to be a disciplined, focused youth - Belize would do good with many more like him.
Over all those years, I continuously studied and increased my skills in graphic design to incorporate in our web development section of my business. I also studied videography and editing and found a niche for wedding videography on the Placencia peninsula. My business ultimately expanded to offer many services such as computer repair, troubleshooting, DVD movie and software sales, desktop publishing, graphic design, printing, photography and videography, to name a few. I also concurrently continued to manage the administrative, marketing and sales of Tarpon Caye Lodge.
In 2009 my wife, Ycela Alpuche-Leslie, and I had a baby girl, Charlyce Leslie. In 2014 we decided to move our family to Belmopan due to better schools, health facilities, services, family-oriented environment and cheaper cost of living. In June of that same year, I decided to close my business in Placencia, restructure it into a consulting business, with emphasis on helping businesses build their image and ultimately their brand.
I market my business through my website, Face book page and word-of-mouth.
4. What types of products and services do you have available? What are the price ranges like? What are current reviews like?
My consulting business offers all the services that would necessitate image and brand building. My most popular, and I personally recommend that all businesses have, is a digital representation of your business in the form of a website. A website can be informative as well as e-commerce, where you can actually sell your product or service via your website. My most popular website package cost $500BZ. Due to the fact that they are all a part of image and brand building, I also offer desktop publishing, graphic design (with a focus on minimalism), laser printing, videography, photography, dvd/cd duplication and movie sales.
You may ask: but what about consulting? When a client contact me, I work with the client to identify exactly what they want to accomplish, and most importantly, their budget. I am not trying to let a client spend money they don't have. I want to make sure that they get the best bang for their buck. Some clients can only afford business cards, which I make sure they understand is an important part of your image, especially when you are out and about, it allows you to network on-the-go. Some clients want an entire image and branding package for their business, for they have a large budget. Therefore, the price of my service will vary from client to client.
Paul Morgan, the General Secretary for the Vision Inspired by the People had this to say: "Leslie Tech Consulting has three great attributes in the person of Mr. Charles Leslie Jr. The first is Personality. Charles communicates openly and clearly. Through great communication he maintains his friendly nature which made our team very comfortable doing business with him. Besides a great personality, Charles’ key attribute is his expertise at presenting persons and issues to the public via audio visual media and events. He works smart and is surprisingly affordable given his very high quality of work. Finally, Charles’ work ethic is convincing. He focuses on quality and has a very healthy respect for time.
Bobby Lopez, leader of the San Pedro Chapter of the Vision Inspired by the People had this to say: From the outset, Mr. Leslie displayed an extraordinary aptitude to this task. He listened carefully to our objective and his critique was always constructive and in line with achieving our goals.
4. What makes Leslie Tech Consulting have that special edge?
My father, Charles Leslie Sr., was one of the pioneers for the sports fishing industry in Southern Belize. He used to take me and my older brother, Marlon, everywhere he went, especially on his boat. I experienced the genesis of the tourism industry, and watched commercial fishermen transition to tourism-oriented tour guides and operators. I was fortunate enough to have had parents who knew how important an education was, so they sacrificed to send me to school. I remember writing handwritten letters for my dad to reply to clients and take bookings - the process took weeks, now with email, it takes seconds. I consider myself fortunate for I started out young in business. I have seen and made many mistakes that businesses make when first starting out and then growing their image and brand. Back then there were no consultants to hire to assist you, most everything was trial and error. Therefore, with my 20 years’ experience, I know that I have that extra in extraordinary to help any business build their image and brand, whether it is from scratch or from a plateau where the owners simply don't have the know-how, time or experience to continue growing their image and ultimately their brand.
Do you have a large clientele?
I work with a very select amount of clients. My philosophy is: I chose quality over quantity. I prefer to work with quality clients providing them quality service.
What's the best part of working with your clients? What's the most demanding?
>>>meeting and learning about all the amazing entrepreneurs and business owners that exist in Belize--- There are some extremely talented and smart business owners, whom have created some amazing products and services…that not many people have heard about. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure in working with them- developing their image and their brand - and being a part of getting that product or service recognized countrywide, and even internationally.
My first big project was Tarpon Caye Lodge. The name is known by fishermen all over the world. I am currently working on two big projects: 1. Continuing the development of the image and brand of my father, Charles Leslie Sr., who is an outlier when it comes to saltwater fly fishing. I am working with an international team in finalizing his first book, which we hope to launch soon. 2. Finalizing the development of the image and brand for a new Belizean-made beverage drink named “Cane Boost.” The product will be officially launched at this year’s Agricultural Trade Show.
5. Share with us a prime example of one of your products/services - from introduction to completion?. Is it stressful? How do you manage?
A prime example would be building a website for a client. To summarize the process: Step 1: Communicate with the client to identify the purpose of the website. Step 2: Work on the layout and structure of the website. Step 3: Develop compelling content for the website. Step 4: Get final approval from client. Step 5: launch the website. Step 6: Turn over complete ownership of website to client (I use the Wix HTML5 platform that allows clients to take full control and ownership of their website, and make changes whenever they like.)
Developing a website with a client, can sometimes be challenging. The reason: Sometimes what a client want their website to be, and what will actually give them the results they desire, are not the same thing. Therefore, it is my job to walk the client thru every step, explain, in laymen terms, what needs to be done, why, and how it will give them their desired results.
Managing is easy, as long as you spend time learning about the client, especially their personality. Once you put effort into this aspect, you will then have an easier time guiding and working with the client.
6. What are the challenges of your business? Opportunities?
Belize is a small country with a small amount of businesses, and many businesses simply do not understand or appreciate how important it is to build their image and brand, and it is even more difficult to convince them to hire a consulting firm, much less my consulting firm.
I write a daily blog on my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/leslietech as well as send out monthly e-newsletters. On this blog and in my e-newsletters, I give a lot of free business advice, tips and share information that I think would be helpful. This information is free for anyone to use. The purpose of my blog is the let business owners know that I understand the importance of building your image and brand, and that I can bring my experience and insight into helping you build your own image and brand - without breaking the bank.
7.What's your vision for this business?
My vision is simple: I want to help businesses develop their product, service and image.
8. Why should Belizeans contact you for their special event/special production? Contact information? Location?
I have a solid portfolio and quality references. If you visit my website, which I update often, you can find much more information about the services I offer. Check out my site at: www.leslietech.com.
9. What do you have to say to new entrepreneurs?
Stay positive. Don't be afraid to ask for help. And when necessary make room in your budget to hire professional help, the Return-On-Investment is well worth it.
10. What three words do you have to say to young Belizeans?
Focus. Discipline. Success.