What led me to believe expanding to Brazil was a possibility
I was working in Portugal when me and my partners decided to bring Quatenus to Brazil. I must confess that in the beginning I thought growing here would not be possible. I had concerns about the country being too large and the cultural differences between the country’s five regions. However something did bind all brazilians: their distrust for technology and safety services.
Brazil’s market is a hard one to penetrate in any segment. But when it concerns tracking, technology and information, it gets even harder. Why? Because brazilians long to be safe.
I was afraid it wouldn’t work. Would it be hard? Definitely! Launching a business in a new country is never easy. Not only would I deal with different brazilian cultures but with the monstrosity of dimension that is the brazilian land.
I thought to myself:
“How will I establish trust and solidify the company in such a large territory?”
I remembered I had already been through the experience of conquering a new market in a different country when I helped establish the company in Angola. This helped me find the confidence in myself I needed to realise it was indeed possible to grow throughout the country.
First Challenge: A dearing strategy that required a lot of guts
Thus I assumed the responsibility to bring Quatenus to Brazil. No matter what obstacles came my way, I would surpass them.
The first was deciding in which region should the company’s headquarters should be set. I had already been eased into the notion that markets such as the cities of Curitiba (PR), Jaraguá do Sul (SC), Joinville (SC) and Blumenau (SC) would be hard to be conquered.
What did I do? I chose one of this four cities. If I could get the trust of such demanding markets, expanding to other ones wouldn’t be as complicated.
The decision was made. Our headquarters would be in Joinville, the third most populated city in the south of the country. Was I reaching too high?
The doubt remained. But I was willing to risk.
Second step: how to deal with the lack of commitment with principles and values
It wasn’t easy at first. It never is. Every business goes through hardships and is at risk of failing. I had to navigate brazilian specific challenges a great deal more complex than in Portugal, such as brazilian:
- labour law;
- syndicate law;
- fiscal law.
However, dealing with the latter proved to be simpler than dealing with the previously stated lack of principles, values and commitment.
I started going along to meet the prospects so I could have a better grasp of their needs and evaluate the best way our product could help this future client. Soon I realized most were having problems with their staff not complying with company rules, such as the established fleet policy.
Most employees are guided as to return results in the short term, and so many end up breaking the rules or even lying to finish work earlier than stated in their contracts. Speeding and root deviation were the most common problems faced by the managers of the companies I visited.
I was certain these problems could be solved, I just had to find a way to let them see that short term results could not be their focus. I possessed a technology that could help these companies management. All I had to do was gain their trust.
Gaining confidence in Brazil
While I explained managers and company owners just that I was also training my team.
It needed to be clear to all that we would only achieve our internal goals with a long term approach. Earning the trust of companies in four cities in the south of Brazil was on our list of goals. We were young and would have to fight hard.
Step by step, little by little we proved worthy of such trust.
I always remember the day I decided to invest in Brazil. The apprehension of failing has vanished. Despite the initial bumps and hardships I have built a company that is sustainable and is today a national reference in information technology.
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