Because of my move to Brazil we have to change the company, we also had to change how we worked ourselves. And that was just the part of the projects in The Netherlands. To work in Brazil and also extend our business in South America was another thing that was on our list now. We called it an opportunity in stead of a problem. To do business you need clients and deliverers. So how we going to arrange that? In first we started to write to some delivers…… in the english language because we did not know how to do that in Portuguese. The communication was about a real job, renting 10 XDcam professional video players for the Formula 1 at Interlagos São Paulo. I wrote to more than 10 companies that could have this equipment for rent. After some weeks i got 2 replies from the 10 i did send. The reply was in Portuguese and the message was that they did not have this equipment for rent. Meanwhile a third deliverer who i knew already very well, went behind my back directly to my client and delivered them the video equipment.
Formula 1 , The ‘PLAYOUTS’ we did not delivered
GREAT! (NOT) So, the communication in english did not went very well, because those deliverers were not capable of understanding my question or were afraid to answer in english. And i loose my first opportunity because a so called ‘partner’ steals my new client behind my back….. Lessons Learned! What now? I just need to be more smart, learn more about the (business) culture and do not play open cards any more with so called partners…. nb: it happened to me a second time some years after, i played open cards with a partner… this parter stole my client and the job for a website. Amazing!!!! That for me was the donkey and stone story :)
Meanwhile i got some jobs by family and friends, small jobs but nice to learn about doing business in Brazil. To network we became a member of Dutcham, The Dutch chamber of commerce in São Paulo. We thought we could extend our Brazilian network by them, but also the Dutch network in being a member, in the end this did not bring what we needed because it feels for me their focus is just on big companies like KLM, Philips, Heineken and Unilever and not small ones like ours. I learned that a lot of Dutch companies who are doing business in Brazil and even had offices or factories in Brazil by LinkedIn. We made some very nice contacts here and even a first interactive webcast job by a student at that time on the FGV university in São Paulo. Because of this job we were mentioned by another dutch company who produces the worldwide events Sencity. For them we did a nice live streaming production between Rotterdam and São Paulo in 201 from the MAM.
Webcast Sencity, São Paulo
Next we started to visit some exhibitions about our line of business. At the AES Brasil we met mr. Danny Littwin with his company New York Digital. A New Yorker, but now living in Brazil and like me an Audio-engineer and also married with a Brazilian woman. By Danny we got to work at the UFC events in Brazil. Because of our Dutch partner Multi-Link Holland we work since 2011 every year at the Formula 1 at Interlagos São Paulo, assisting with the main international TV feeds for EBU. By having contact with the Dutch consulate in São Paulo we produced an Interactive webcast for them, Urban Mobility.
Broadcast Audio engineering at UFC, Rio de Janeiro, Bello Horizonte & São Paulo
So, now we have some regular jobs in Brazil….. but just one of them was done for a Brazilian company. All the other jobs were for foreign companies. And to make the story short… this hardly changed in past 7 years overhere. We mostly work for foreign companies, why? We think it is all about communication and culture. the Brazilian culture is totally different than from the American and European culture, and also in doing business. A lot of business between companies and people here is done by family or friends from the family or friends from friends etc etc. It is of course possible as non friend or family member to do business here but it is not easy. It is also true that Brazilians think that we are more expansive, because we are foreigners… that does not really help in getting jobs.
My findings is that if your are following a lead, and you have had 3 times a lunch with them to talk about doing business with that company, it means… we are not going to do business.For Brazilians it is not polite to say no, so they never will tell you this. That is why we never received any communication anymore after we send a proposal, because when you loose the bid, they will not tell you this….. it is not polite.
Webcast GE #Droneweek, Rio de Janeiro
Another thing was arranging meetings. I am Dutch, so when i do a meeting i communicate this far (weeks) in front if possible. On the day it self i appear in time, that means at least 15 minutes before the meeting happens. The first time i appeared at a meeting, 15 minutes before the actual meeting that we agreed 3 weeks before, the lead was surprised i was there. Because it is normal after you make an appointment 3 weeks before, to check a day before if the meeting still will go on. In this case, they never expected me, because i did not call them the day before. We decided by all our findings and experiences with Brazilian Leads that our aim would be foreign companies at first. This will give us a head start already because of communication… in English, German or Dutch.
One thing that you can use in getting a deal is that Brazilians often think that products or productions from foreigners means also more quality…. it also means again we are more expansive. My experience is that some choose for quality… and choose the foreigner.
Our problem was also local network. Brazil is HUGE! We needed a tool to acces more contacts. We created ourselves an online marketing tool. And it was called BroadcastBrazil.com. What is this BroadcastBrazil.com? You will read on the website that it is all about broadcast and in the english language. By this website we get network contacts, leads and clients. How? Ok here it comes. We aim here for Brazilian Audio visuals and we push them a little to start to read in english about the things they like… their job. They can become a member so they will be put with their profession and contact information on the website and social channels, good for them! But also for us, because we started to know about those english speaking Brazilian audio visuals. Besides that we started to connect with them by linkedIN. This all worked out pretty nice. We get big and small leads by this website, the website even delivered jobs for foreign broadcasters for some members and we get more contacts with Local and foreign Broadcast companies and people.
Webcast facebook at the Olympic Games 2016, Rio de Janeiro
We have nowadays nice local partners in Brazil like Roeland van der Manden (he is dutch) from Amsterdam productions in Rio de Janeiro and Shane Glen (he is Australian) from Soulpics Photography in Socorro. And we got some new international clients from USA who do business in Brazil. And even some local companies. The Tool BroadcastBrazil.com works… and we have some more nice plans for it in the near future.
We learned to do business in Brazil by hitting our nose against the wall several times overhere… pretty hard. The so called Brazilian ‘partners’ never worked out for us and even cost us time and a lot of money. For others it might can work out. Our marketing tool BroadcastBrazil.com combined with our local partners, regular network meetings and visiting events connected to our type of business did show a rise in our local Brazilian productions. It helped to translate our website in Portuguese… and also doing our socials posts on facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN in the portuguese language. Most important is to read, write and speak basic Portuguese because almost nobody here can do that in english, it is the most tough part of all.
Ah… and never give up!
Check here some video we made in Brazil:
Check here some live webcast productions we did in Brazil:
Overall i like to do business here in Brazil, learning this Brazilian way and also innovate our methods in getting new local clients. The knowledge we got helped us further. You must be patience to get the result you want.
Next time i will talk about some productions we did in Brazil and their difficulties we just can have in Brazil and how we solved them.
Understandig What Brazilians Really Mean
Dutch consulate in São Paulo, Urban Mobility.
New York Digital
GE #DRONEWEEK Rio de Janeiro
Because of my move to Brazil we have to change the company, we also had to change how we worked ourselves. And that was just the part of the projects in The Netherlands. To work in Brazil and also extend our business in South America was another thing that was on our list now. We called it an opportunity in stead of a problem. First thing that we need is a good communication between our offices and so a stable internet connection became very important.
In Brazil for me it was going back in time if you talk about internet stability and speed. But hey, i am here so i have to cope with it. I was situated at that time in Santos and over the years i upgraded the broadband from 0,5 til 30 Mbit download… upload stayed always slow, just 1 Mbit. At the moment i did the first upgrade in 2008 to 4 Mbit it became possible for me to work remotely on computers at my office in The Netherlands. We used programs like Remote Desktop from MicroSoft and Remote Desktop from Apple. For these options and also VNC you need to do some action called “port forwarding” in your internet router. A more simple way can be by programs like Splashtop or Teamviewer. We have good experiences with all these programs and online solutions.
From that moment on i could do all administration tasks, like bookkeeping, invoicing and more by logging in from Brazil on our computer in The Netherlands and work on it like i was there. One day a co-worker watched me working from Brazil on the Blue Apple G3 we used for our administration in the Netherlands, making some invoices. he watched the mouse-arrow moving by itself. When i hit the button PRINT in Brazil, the printer in our Dutch office start to print all invoices. VOODOO , it’s VOODOO he screamed :) Another step that we did is the change to digital invoices. We started to send invoices to our clients by an email. Some of them did not like it at first, but most of them agreed. Past years i receive also almost all invoices from our deliverers by email, the rest is scanned at our Dutch office and is uploaded to our server so i can download those. At the moment 99% of all administration and communication in this is done in Brazil. But i also started remotely some webcasts productions in the Netherlands. Our webcast crew had to make it possible that i could acces the live encoder and start the webcast. Pretty handy when we had some jobs at the same time or when a webcast must start early in the morning or at night. Nowadays i even do video edits for clients outside Brazil in our edit suite in Socorro. We upload the footage to our server, i download it to Brazil, edit a great video from it and upload it for preview to the client. The clients love this… i will explain this later.
Like i said before is communication important for us, we were early adapters from Skype. Of course is email our main source of communication, but sometimes you must talk with people. We added a landline number from Brazil to our Brazilian Skype account and suddenly the Brazilian office had phone number. Now i could Skype with our clients and deliverers… if they did not use Skype i could call them by phone… and it was cheap. It worked just great for us. Nowadays we use besides Skype also FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook chat and Twitter to communicate with our clients and deliverers.
For additional communication we sync our agenda’s, first we did this by our own server but nowadays you can achieve this easily by a cloud solution. In this way the both directors but also co-workers can look in each others agenda. In the beginning of 2015 we also started to use Slack to keep track on all our on going productions, by Slack we know about the status of a project. Everybody in our company can add projects and change the status of a project they working on. Besides a desktop version Slack also has apps for Smartphones. For following Leads projects we use another online service called Clinchpad, also here we all can add and change things. All apps that i use on my iPhone to communicate i will explain in another blog post later in this series.
Than we have another thing called “time difference”. It depends the time of year but in the dutch summertime the difference is 5 hours, in the winter time it is 3 hours. Summer and winter time changes happen for us also 4 times a year in stead of 2 times because Europe and Brazil do not change them on the same date, very handy! We go from 5 hours to 4 hours to 3 hours difference, and later in the year vice versa. When i wake up, they have lunchtime in The Netherlands. This can work against you because i always answer late or delayed on emails and such. But for us it just worked out positive by changing the way we are working. I started to begin with my workday a little bit earlier.. mostly at 7 in the morning just to be more in sync with Europe. After the Dutch lunchtime it becomes quiet in my email Inbox and it is all more relaxed to work concentrated on a video-edit or website coding without being disturbed too much. Sometime we just have to inform clients that i am working from Brazil, just to prevent they start calling me at 4 in the morning ;)
Our clients love the time difference, often we record on location in the Netherlands in the morning, after the dutch film crew uploaded the footage i download it. In my ‘quiet afternoon’ i start to do the video-edit in which i upload for the client to view. Because of the difference in time our office is longer “Open”… so when the client opens it’s mail in the morning they find the first video edit preview already there… all within 24 hours after we recorded it.. all because of time difference. And without any extra costs for the client!
As you can read is communication the main thing when it is about running a company in one country while you live in another country. A good and stable internet connection is a must, broadband at the office and 3G/4G on your phone when you are on the road and as backup. But one thing is more important than all i mentioned before is a great partner in which you can trust fully. Because it is all not easy, with a lot of problems to solve. In my case this is the dutch director of Connecting Media Netherlands and co-owner of Connecting Media worldwide Michiel Overeem… thanks mate!
Change yourself …. To turn things in your profit.
Next time i will talk about networking in Brazil.
Connecting Media : website - facebook - twitter
Skype : website
Facetime : website
Microsoft Remote : website
Apple remote Desktop : website
Splashtop : website - facebook - twitter - youtube
Teamviewer website - facebook - twitter - google+
Slack : website - twitter
Clinchpad : website