We talked to Jesse van Doren, founder of Brize, about digital marketing for startups, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jesse van Doren: Actually, I’m doing quite well. I’m keeping my personal bubble small and taking precautions when out in public. Like all other families, we’re coping with a humongous virus that’s in our midst. Sometimes it’s challenging to visit family or friends due to the current curfew that is in effect in our country.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Brize.
Jesse van Doren: I am an entrepreneur who has been helping businesses worldwide, creating websites, helping businesses with data-driven marketing, and building innovation and technology communities since I was 11 years old. I am super enthusiastic about the future and the possibilities of technology. With my company Brize, I help companies grow with design, marketing, and website development. Besides that, I give a lot of lectures as a public speaker about technology and innovation.
How does Brize innovate?
Jesse van Doren: I speak a lot at events about technology & innovation. Besides that, I meet a lot of innovation departments where I get a lot of inspiration from. Our clients are also a source of inspiration. I learn a lot from them on a daily basis, and what you see in one sector, you can implement in another sector.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jesse van Doren: One week before the COVID-19 lockdown, we closed a lot of deals. Immediately after it became clear the COVID-19 virus hit our country, our Inbox and phones both exploded. Many clients were looking for an easy and cost-effective solution to get in touch with people at home and a solution to do their so-called ‘offline events’ online. All because of the restrictions the government put on for our country. We founded a new label: ‘Livestreamopmaat.nl’ (Dutch for Tailor-made Livestream) because we noticed a gap between the simple Livestream agencies and the ones that are more professional but too technical for the end client. More than 50 events were canceled and also a lot of marketing projects that our company did for events. However, we generated new business, and this resulted even in growth in turnover last year.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Jesse van Doren: We had to act fast, and at an early stage, we made the decision that we had to work more for government-related organizations. Besides that, our new label Livestreamopmaat.nl, turned out to be a really great success. Because of this we didn’t have to make any hard decisions regarding human resources but switched our business really quick to get other kinds of clients. We hired extra people with different kinds of expertise for the new business we generated.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jesse van Doren: We use Copper as a CRM system. Besides that, we use Toggl for tracking hours and Asana as a project management tool.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jesse van Doren: We received a subsidy from the government to do R&D research on how we could innovate the supply chains of Agri and horticulture companies. Based on this, we built a supply chain platform called Trackcol.com, which gets a lot of traction at the moment. Because of COVID-19, many of our developers had nothing or less work to do, so we put them on this project, which turned out to be a really successful spin-off from our company. In the next months, we’ll be shipping thousands of smart IoT trackers which measure, for example, temperature to track the conditions of shipments.
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