We talked to José Luis Vázquez, founder of Mirada, about navigating the media industry and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
José Luis Vázquez: Fortunately, everybody is fine, thank you.
Tell us a bit about you, your career, and how you started Mirada?
José Luis Vázquez: I am an engineer with an executive MBA in finance. I started working in the IT / Telecom sector in Spain until I founded my start-up in the year 2000, all from my apartment. And that was the seed of what today is a multinational company, public in the LSE: AIM, with nearly 200 employees in Europe, Asia, and the Americas
How is Mirada staying on top of innovation?
José Luis Vázquez: We approach innovation as an open process that always keeps us learning and improving ourselves, especially at the beginning of our journey. Now we have Product and R&D dedicated departments, and we research market trends to incorporate into our product lines and processes and make sure our solutions continue to exceed our clients’ expectations. Added to that, there is a high percentage of technical profiles in Mirada, including among our top management, with a core focus on exploring the different areas of innovation present in our sector. We also actively participate in both UK and Spanish government-funded R&D programs.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business and finances?
José Luis Vázquez: We have a solid base of recurrent revenues and present customers which keeps us busy, but we understand that new customer wins and new projects requiring significant investments might be delayed a few more months. In general, there is a trend across all sectors to freezing short-term investments, reducing capital expenditure, which delays projects until there is a higher degree of certainty about the impacts of the pandemic.
Did the current situation force you to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
José Luis Vázquez: The amount of workload has been significant during the pandemic times, so we didn’t need to make payroll cuts. We did however have to quickly move to fully working remotely, an experience which has taught a lot about our company, employees, and what they are capable of. So much indeed that we are currently considering embracing telework and all the opportunities it brings, especially for our employees’ work and life balance.
How did your customer relationship management evolve in the past year? Do you use any specific tools to be more efficient?
José Luis Vázquez: Just like everyone else, we have transitioned to online meetings with our customers. Before 2020, we used to mostly meet with clients on long trips across the globe, so taking things virtual has increased our capability to set-up many more relationships than before with the same resources – Zoom, Hangout, and Teams are our best friends now and we can reach many more people than before. We foresee that the market will consolidate a hybrid model in which only the final or top-level meetings will be face to face, and the rest will remain online. This actually allows us to be more present for our partners and potential customers, and work closely on the right solutions for them.
Facing the pandemic, could you benefit from any government grants or help??
José Luis Vázquez: As an international company, we had access to COVID loans from both the Spanish and the UK governments.
Your final thoughts?
José Luis Vázquez: As hard as the past months have been, I count myself extremely lucky to have navigated them with a company that has just the right people to make the most of every and any challenge. This pandemic has shifted the way we approach our business and our very own way of working, and we acknowledge that things will not return to how they used to be. This is why we are embracing all these new changes and are looking forward to continuing to create opportunities for us and our customers, all over the world.
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