When the success of a company exceeds the goals of the owner, somebody is doing something right. For Sound Telecom
, that person has been Mike LaBaw, Colorado State University College of Business graduate and president of the company headquartered in Seattle, Wash.
Sound Telecom provides call center services to a variety of companies – from a local pest-control company to Boeing. Businesses can employ the company’s answering services, inbound and outbound call services, and unified communications. LaBaw’s original vision was for the company he founded to be the largest answering service company in the Seattle area. Now that Sound Telecom has far surpassed that objective and provides services nationwide, he has his sights set on being the premiere supplier of these services in the nation.
LaBaw travelled a long road before establishing Sound Telecom in 1986. He grew up in Broomfield, Colo., and attended Broomfield High School. He graduated from CSU in 1974 with a degree in accounting. During his time in college, he sold books door-to-door for the Southwestern Company and discovered his love for marketing and sales.
He worked in a variety of fields after graduation. He was a CPA for Grant Thornton, where he was a member of the audit and tax staffs. He also worked for an agricultural processor and a beauty supply distributor and owned a restaurant in Moscow, Idaho. Through his many career ventures, LeBaw has learned the importance of patience. “I earned my master’s degree at the school of hard knocks,” says LaBaw.
But patience is not the only virtue LaBaw has accumulated in his career. LaBaw has learned how to differentiate his company from his competitors, which has allowed his business to grow tremendously. LaBaw discovered that a centralized location in Spokane, Wash., for his company’s call center provides an advantage over companies who decided to purchase other companies and roll them into large, decentralized businesses.
LaBaw also understands the importance of growth. Sound Telecom is looking to expand to new markets, and the company is currently setting up a sales office and bilingual call center in Westminster, Colo., near Denver. LaBaw is proud of the way his 25-year-old company conducts its business and believes the combination of a talented management team, well-trained customer-oriented agents, and state-of-the-art equipment allow it to deliver excellent services at affordable prices.
He describes Sound Telecom as a “high-tech company in disguise.” To provide only a few examples, his call centers are web-enabled, some of their platforms are Cloud-based, and the underlying technology for the operation is actually set up more like a data center rather than a call center. This setup allows for a more robust center, responding 24 hours a day to mission critical items. The center is located in Spokane for a variety of reasons, including the reliable electric grid and inexpensive electricity that the city provides.
Now an established and respected businessman, LaBaw wishes to pass along his knowledge to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. He hopes to have the opportunity to share what it takes to build a business and the importance of marketing. LaBaw also appreciates the opportunity to bring jobs to people – he says it has been and continues to be the primary focus of his career.
“Entrepreneurs make a ton of mistakes,” LaBaw advises. “If your vision is strong enough, you can survive and thrive.”