Valerie Schlitt is founder, owner, and CEO of VSA, Inc., a lead-generation firm based in Haddon Township, New Jersey that she founded in 2001. Last year, her company’s revenue was $4.6 million, up from $650,000 in 2015. VSA was ranked at #5 by EFGP and the Philadelphia Inquirer on the list of 2018 Philadelphia 100® Award Winners.
Why are you an entrepreneur?
I have always loved to create and build things – to make something from nothing. It’s a process that requires creativity, the ability to solve problems, and the willingness to overcome challenges. And entrepreneurship gives you the freedom to chart your own path. That’s something you don’t get by being part of someone else’s organization.
But I think there’s another, related question that entrepreneurs have to answer, and that’s “why do you stay an entrepreneur?” I think entrepreneurs are wired to always be influencing forward momentum – to be going after the next best thing. In my case, I am optimistic that – whether things are up or down – I can always make my company better. And that’s why I am still an entrepreneur after 18 years.
What do you consider to be the most important characteristics of entrepreneurs?
This is something I think about all the time. The most important characteristics of successful entrepreneurs are, I think, tenacity in the face of adversity and optimism. We absolutely have to have those. But being successful also requires a little bit of naïveté, good problem-solving skills, and a high tolerance for risk.
What is the "elevator pitch" for your company?
VSA helps companies grow by connecting them to qualified prospects who can convert into sales. We do this with a team of skilled individuals who use the telephone and email as their tools to engage with our clients’ prospects. We primarily focus on clients in healthcare, education, and manufacturing/logistics.
What was the impact of winning the Philly100 on your company?
It was amazing! It put VSA on the “map” and got other people looking at us, it validated us as a growth company, and it gave us credibility. The recognition also opened my eyes to companies in our region that are forward-thinking and growth-oriented.
What makes EFGP membership valuable to you?
EFGP’s presentations are always very relevant, particularly as I consider ways to grow my company. I always hear something I can relate to and learn from. EFGP is helping me avoid the traps that I otherwise would not have even known about. My EFGP membership provides me with education, inspiration, and the opportunity to talk things through with people who have been where I want to go, and who are very supportive.
“Five Questions With…” is a series of interviews in which EFGP members share insights about their career journeys, their industries, and the value of EFGP membership. To learn how joining EFGP can help you grow your company, keep exploring our website!