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Meet Brian Bar of Victory Lap in River North

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Bar.

Brian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Every entrepreneur assumes risk when they go off on their own. Mine was leaving a great job when my wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child. Now, before you call child services, she was supportive of the idea since day 1. In fact, without her support and the reliance on her successful career, there is no story.

I’ve had this idea to help the college-to-career transition for a number of years. After seeing hundreds of young professionals struggle with transitioning into a sales role, and providing a solution at Groupon that helped with this, I knew I had to act.

Only 4% of colleges teach sales, yet it’s reported that over 50% of college graduates end up in a sales role. This gap is astounding – and as someone who has spent a good part of their career leading sales professionals, I lived the problems associated with this.

Victory Lap was started with the belief in human potential. We’re also passionate about the fact that a sales career path is a noble one and can lead to personal and professional success. So we created a platform to help individuals succeed in sales by providing tuition-free, world-class sales education. Our monthly bootcamps curate and prepare individuals for sales success while also giving companies access to better talent. This WIN-WIN-WIN scenario has helped hundreds of aspiring sales professionals land jobs with Chicago’s best companies (over 100 companies have signed up to hire from us).

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Think of starting a business as driving in Chicago.  Smooth sailing until… you run over a huge pothole affecting any momentum you had. We have been fortunate to not have too many of these pop-ups, but a common challenge is executing short term while building for the long term. We’re constantly curating, training, and placing awesome sales talent in great jobs. This takes consistent effort and focus, so it can be challenging to ensure the long-term vision is clear and you’re going in the right direction.

Please tell us about Victory Lap.
Victory Lap is a last-mile sales education company helping young professionals prepare for their sales career by providing intensive training prior to job placement. Since this aspect is tuition-free, we work with companies to help solve the talent shortage that exists for sales job openings. By curating and training talent, companies come to us to hire better talent than what’s available on the market.  So the specialties involved with this business are 1) identifying talent (you have to be accepted into the program) and 2) developing the skills and confidence to sell in a wide variety of individuals.

I’m most proud of the diverse group of people (race, gender, backgrounds) that go through our cohorts. There is a true transformation that occurs in just two weeks, along with lifelong bonds created. In a sense, we’re building a diverse community of top sales professionals. It’s remarkable – there’s a reason 100+ companies have signed up to hire from Victory Lap. I’m also extremely proud of the success our alumni have had upon placement with over 80% being retained past a year vs. the industry average of 67%. We care about retention and success, not just getting someone a job. It’s a good economy, people can land a sales job through a recruiting service or on their own.  But the difference is that not many are ready to hit the ground running, can identify which sales job is right for them, and most importantly have the confidence to succeed. We provide all of these things, and it’s our biggest differentiator.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I grew up in Long Beach, IN which is mostly known as a summer getaway town for Chicagoans.  My friend group would quadruple in the summer months, and we would play sports from sun up to sun down with periodic swims in Lake Michigan. A little slice of Pure Indiana right there. Once I got older, my brothers let me follow them around, and I always look back at those times very fondly. Essentially, I was very lucky to have so many friends and family in my life at an early age and I value those relationships to this day.  

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