Gisele is the CEO of Soft Solutions AB and Soft Solutions is a partner of Office IT-Partner, a major IT services company in Sweden. Soft Solutions develops and uses new information technologies to modernize business needs.
Gisele is the CEO of Soft Solutions AB and Soft Solutions is a partner of Office IT-Partner, a major IT services company in Sweden. Soft Solutions develops and uses new information technologies to modernize business needs. Gisele is from a French Speaking part of Congo, Africa, and came to Sweden to start a life for herself. She went to school for Computer Science and got her Master's Degree in Computer Engineering at a Swedish University, Mälardalens Högskola.
Her story is really quite amazing, and inspirational in that she can speak French, Swedish, and English, as well as start and manage a growing company in a country that she was not raised in, but for 16 years she has called it home. Her company is now expanding outside of Sweden and she has ambitious plans for international growth.
"Never focus just on the negative things about your idea, otherwise you will never start a business. Even if you start a business and fail, you are still gaining experience, building a network, and learning. What do you have to lose?"
1. What motivated Gisele to start a business in Sweden?
Gisele graduated from college, and when none of her classmates could find work, one of her friends (as well as classmate) approached her to start an IT business. She said yes, and they worked as partners in starting the business. They had no capital, and they didn't take any loans. They looked for customers first.
2. How do entrepreneurs in Sweden go about starting up businesses?
Gisele registered her business right away as an AB, and they were ready to "learn the ropes", as they say in America!
3. What kind of assistance does the government give to entrepreneurs to encourage new businesses to start in Sweden?
Gisele and her partner had no idea how the tax system worked for businesses, and she said it was her biggest challenging. Luckily, people who dealt with taxes were well informed and were able to help Gisele learn and manage the system. Gisele and the business were entered into a program that helped them kickstart the business, and government officials would check in on the business and make sure that she had the correct procedures and that the taxes were being taken care of properly. It seems as if you want to pay your taxes, they will be happy to assist you in paying your taxes!
Gisele's tips for new entrepreneurs
On Networking: "Networking is great, it's cheap, and it must be done intelligently. Know 3 people you want to meet, and figure out how you'll meet them. I would recommend this to ALL entrepreneurs"
On Marketing: "Word of Mouth is the best way for a new business to gain exposure. Use your network! They are your first customers! You are doing business with people, not businesses. If you treat them well, listen to their needs, and craft a solution that they want, they will pay for your solution, and they will recommend it to other people. You can invest money on marketing after you've tapped your own network and provided a great service."
On Productivity: "When I started my business, I wish I knew more about how to analyze our productivity. A big problem that many entrepreneurs will have is figuring out a price and how much something is worth".
On Financing: "You don't need to take big loans or go into a ton of debt. Look for your potential clients first... the people you are solving the problem for. If you can convince them that you are capable of solving that problem, you can ask them to help you pay to make the product or service. We started with nothing, and grew the business from customers paying us to build solutions"
Final words of advice:
Make business about People. Show to people that you understand and want to solve their problems. People have needs and you want to help them fill those needs.
The worst thing a company says is "here is what we are doing".
It's also not great to explain "this is how we are doing what we are doing".
The most important messaging you can have is "This is why we are doing what we are doing"
Gisele is very inspirational and a great business person. In the USA, I'm confident she could succeed with the same business. The thing she said that resounded the most with me is that you should just start and not worry about the "bad things". There will always be bad things, and if you focus on the negative side of the business you will never start the business. Focus on how to overcome them, but don't let them stop you.