Second career: Entrepreneur (part 2)
In this Meet an Entrepreneur video, Jorge De Oliveira shares with us how he launched his activity in the midst of a sanitary crisis, how he gets new clients and how he benefited from the help of his bank to get started:
- Getting started in 2020
- Prospecting customers
- Getting a bank loan
- Smart Cube is hiring!
Jorge De Oliveira founded Smart Cube in 2020, a company specialised in smart building. Find out more about him on smartcube.lu.
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Getting started in 2020
There are always opportunities and I don’t see why starting a new business during a pandemic would be a disadvantage. You have to be able to seize the opportunity, make the situation work to your advantage. We are in the midst of a digitalization process. And for me, it turns out that I can offer everything in this context of digitalization in the building industry. I have tried everything, I have all the solutions that bring added value. You have to know one thing.
I don’t come from that world at all. I started everything from scratch. And that’s hard.
The principle is that when I’m working on projects, I post something on Facebook and sometimes I get contacted. So when someone contacts me, that’s the first part of the prospecting. And beyond that, most of my customers are through word of mouth. It’s important to say that I’ve invested a lot of money in advertising.
Maybe through advertising, people see certain things. But actually, private customers usually come my way via my website. For B2B customers, when I started my business, I called. I told them who I was, what I was doing. And it’s very interesting because most of found it interesting and asked me to come in. I’d explained, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then what? Never heard from them again.
So there I was, thinking, well, it’s just not working out as well as I thought it would. But I’m someone who doesn’t give up. And it’s pretty funny, but a year later, most of the people I went to see called me back. Now we’re working together, we have great projects together.
Getting a bank loan
I had a very low opinion of banks, I’ll be honest. Until I was lucky enough to be an “innovations 2019” finalist.
For me, it was a bit unexpected and I guess I have to say honestly, it still is now. I was selected among so many companies and I was alone. So I gave them something that… at least the jury found it was something that made sense. After that, a banker came to see me. And I remember very well saying “Coming to see you is pointless, because the principle of banks is to lend money when you have money.”
He said “No, that’s not true, we’re different, blah blah blah…” That’s how it went, so I went to see them and explained a little bit. They said “We really like your idea and we’d be happy to do something for you. But you still have to set up a business plan and whatnot.” A business plan is a big deal to me, because I’ve never made a business plan. I’m not from the world of economics or anything. But what’s interesting is that in the end, I did it all. I created my company from scratch. I’ll never forget it. The first version I sent was awful. She made me understand it was pretty awful. I actually reworked it several times, until in the end, I had a version that was really, really, really good.
From there, I gave it to the bank, with other personal documents and things. And that took three weeks and that was it. Every company needs a bank. That’s the way it is. And beyond that, what’s important is to have a good contact person who understands the client’s needs. Like me, when I go see a customer I have to understand them. I do find it went very well.
And honestly, I’m really very happy to have had the chance to meet that person.
Smart Cube is hiring!
For anyone who wants to work in a forward-looking company with innovative solutions, you’re welcome to apply. Don’t hesitate to apply if you won’t be unhappy because we have a broad portfolio of highly innovative solutions that are unique on the market. Give it a shot and come see me.