Interview with Emilio Márquez, CEO of La Latina Valley, Debate and Business Club in Spanish. With a passion for digital marketing, he has been a mentor, entrepreneur and business angel for more than two decades and has just published the eBook “LinkedIn: Use for Professionals and Companies”.
-Emilio, how has the corporate ecosystem in Spain changed during this time … and how could it have changed more?
Fortunately, everything adapts to the new times and this is exactly where the key to success lies: How we can turn even the weakest points into real opportunities.
Above all, I would like to emphasize professionalism. We face a much richer ecosystem when it comes to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs who are now successful are also investors and much better educated so they can keep getting in touch.
However, on your second question, I think the ecosystem needs to keep growing with new success stories. It’s the constant adjustment that I’ve been talking about. Successful entrepreneurs who become investors in new entrepreneurs, and so on.
Business plans made prior to COVID are invalid. You have to adapt to survive and be successful in the market
-What qualities are required to undertake? What mistakes should someone who wants to make never make?
There are many qualities that can make an entrepreneur, although it is true to me that the pillars are: passion, resilience and the ability to attract talent.
Passion is fundamental because above all you must love what you do. You will have days when you wake up and your business is doing very well, but we need to learn to accept that this is a shade of gray and can be twisted at times. This passion keeps us from giving up along the way and goes hand in hand with resilience that enables us to overcome any adverse situation.
When it comes to the ability to attract talent, this is also obvious. This is nothing more than the famous leadership that they talk about so much. You have to be a good leader to move your business forward, but let’s not forget that leadership skills not only take the reins, they also project an image and build the confidence to surround yourself with a good team.
In this new normal that surrounds us, the most common mistake an entrepreneur can make is not to adapt his business plan to the current situation. That said, if we have a business plan that was created before COVID, we need to be aware that it is no longer valid today. As I said, we are constantly changing and we have to adapt in order to survive and be successful in the market.
– Given today’s coronavirus pandemic situation, do you think it is a good time to do so?
It’s never a bad time, all you have to do is study how and where to do it. For example, the projects that receive the most support are those related to digitization, while others are in complete decline. It can be done as long as we research the right niche that is more prone to boom in this post-covid era.
-Why is a good network of contacts so important for the entrepreneur?
Well, for the entrepreneur and for everyone involved, the network of contacts is essential. We are social beings by nature. In the case of the entrepreneur, in his contact list you can find the investors who support him, the best suppliers in the market, etc. All of this is the networking that we promote in La Latina Valley. We need a good network of contacts to build our business, not just because we can find what we’re looking for in it, but because it helps us grow and have a broader perspective.
-What would be the keys to high quality networking?
I believe that the basis for successful networking is generosity, proactivity and trust. It’s about building a two-way relationship that not only covers our professional needs, but also those of the person we choose to build them with. Hence, it is necessary to be generous and have faith.
On the other hand, we cannot build a high quality network if we have not previously worked on how we will present ourselves. The trust I am talking about has to be proven and therefore convinced. This makes visibility another cornerstone. When it comes to networking, we are our own showcase and we have to be very clear about how others should see us.
-How can LinkedIn help us?
LinkedIn can be a great ally when it comes to building professional connections and looking for new business opportunities. It is important that we work on our personal brand and that we are very aware that LinkedIn is our own showcase: what appears on our profile and what it looks like, others know about us.
The good and the characteristic of LinkedIn is that a purely professional social network and the content that we find in our community are of infinitely more value to our company than any other platform can offer us.
It is also important that we not only create our own identity and brand, but that we have to edit our company page on LinkedIn. In this way we can define our business towards users and customers. If you don’t have your own company website, this can lead to a very negative image and distrust.
Sometimes it is necessary to de-virtualize virtualization in order to build a professional relationship of trust that goes beyond seeing faces through a screen
-What would be the basic advice you would give in order to get the most out of the professional network? What other content can you find in your e-book?
Well the first thing I already told you would be to work on your personal brand and that of your company. Once the pillars are set, you need to have a very active profile that is continuously generating content. It is important that it is not flat content so that our community can interact and reach more users. This means that, using the resources and variety of formats offered by LinkedIn, we can combine the text with videos, presentations, external links, etc. Obviously, it has to be high quality content as there is no point in posting worthless content frequently.
A very positive point is working on live broadcasts that not only add dynamism to the content, but also make the audience feel 100% a participant by broadcasting their concerns live. There is no doubt that the text is the basis of the content, but these days images and videos are more ubiquitous and eye-catching in society, so a combination of the two is just perfect.
What I also want to comment is the use of other networks. We can not only use other networks to make our LinkedIn profile more visible. But yes, always taking into account the fact that the public and the environment will be different in one social network and in another, the content must be adapted.
In my eBook, “LinkedIn: How to Use it for Professionals and Businesses,” I talk about how this platform can become the best ally to improve your business and professional profile, and the steps to take. I invite the reader to create a LinkedIn profile from scratch (including the Company Page) that will show them how they stand out from the crowd and how to use various formats to create valuable content. Also a chapter that focuses on the most common successes and mistakes we can make on LinkedIn for our community and how to solve them.
– Is it enough to practice networking on the Internet? Why does it have to be de-virtualized?
The truth is that practicing networking on the internet brings us many benefits as 99% of the interactions we will have will be infinitely more comfortable and immediate. Thanks to social networks and video conferencing tools, we can contact and organize networking meetings anywhere with just one click. We can also interact through a post, share content with our community, etc., and all in a very simple way, and at the same time we can reach a greater number of people for the famous concept that the Internet is the network of networks in which we all end up knowing each other in one way or another.
However, sometimes it is also necessary to de-virtualize virtualization, since building a trusting professional relationship goes beyond just looking at faces through a screen. It is necessary to have personal feedback and look straight in the eyes to make sure that this relationship that we have begun to develop comes into practical use.
– Can you practice de-virtualization in times of pandemic? How do you adapt in the La Latina Valley?
As much as we want to return to normal and build personal relationships while the pandemic continues, it is not possible. This is because the rules simply have to be obeyed and this virus is a problem that we must fight together by changing our routines and our lives for it. More than ever it is necessary to adapt to the new times.
In the La Latina Valley last March we carried out all our activities virtually. With our arrival in Latin America, our share has grown from local in Madrid and Barcelona to national and even international. We support entrepreneurs from across the country to do business and internationalize their company with profiles from Latin America who want to do business in Spain and vice versa.