May 22, 2018 – Continuing our look at the female entrepreneurs of Croatia, meet Lana Bedeković Rosandić, creator and owner of advertising agency Alert.
1. For our international readers who perhaps do not know you, quickly introduce yourself and what you do.
I am an advertising professional, working in advertising for more then 18 years. I am the owner and Managing Director of the full-service advertising agency, Alert – one of the most successful independent agencies in Croatia in the last few years.
I am an architect but after starting to work in the international ad agency Ogilvy&Mather more then 18 years ago, I fell in love with advertising and started a new career. From the beginning, it seemed that I belonged in advertising – it was a perfect match.
In order to improve in the field of economics and marketing, I did a postgraduate degree at the Faculty of Economics. I founded Alert in 2004. and I must admit, it was very challenging to build the agency from scratch but I am very proud and happy about what I have achieved with my team.
2. How did the business start, and what were the major obstacles and achievements along the way?
At the time I started the agency, which was before the recession, there was a huge demand for agency services. Since my primary field of interest is strategic planning of communication and there were not many of them on the market, I started as a consultant in the field of communication for big international players. Over the years, since I have quite a good knowledge of communication and the market, clients were asking me to take over also the execution of projects, so I did…
Over time, we have been invited to pitches for fantastic clients such as MasterCard, HTC, Microsoft…and we won most of them.
I could say that the secret of our success was “know how” and hard work – everything else came along the way.
3. People have told me on many occasions that the perfect combination in life is to live in Croatia and to make your money abroad. Do you agree?
I do not know – I live and work in Croatia and I can say that, after almost 20 years of working in the advertising industry, I am living my Croatian dream. You can make money anywhere if you have something to offer and you work hard for it. But it takes time…Somebody said that success overnight comes after 20 years of hard work – I can agree.
4. Let’s talk about the business climate in Croatia, which does not have the best reputation. Give us some positives and some negatives.
Starting the business from nothing is not easy – sometimes it seems to me that people feel like somebody is obliged to help them. We suffered a very bad recession, we have still not recovered – it is not easy but I try not to be negative and push my team to give the maximum every day and to mind their own business. I think it is the best policy – otherwise you spend your energy on things you can not change and miss new opportunities for your personal and professional growth.
5. If there are three things which you could change to improve things dramatically, what would they be?
The most important thing I would like to change is atmosphere in our society – it is negative and without hope and sometimes it is really demotivating.
I think we have a wonderful country, and we should start realising this and take things into our own hands.
Also, I wish that the government would finally recognize the importance of entrepreneurs in our economy.
6. Your advice to foreign entrepreneurs interested in investing in Croatia? And to young local businessmen who want to try?
We are a small country – there are a lot of opportunities here still but also, some businesses will never succeed. Investors and those who want to start their own business should be really realistic about expectations.
7. How do you think the business climate will look in 10 years in Croatia?
We will see – with all things happening globally and in the region, it became hard to be a prophet.
8. How has 2013 EU entry changed business in Croatia?
For the advertising industry, nothing has changed.
9. Being an entrepreneur in Croatia is not easy. What are the additional challenges experienced by female entrepreneurs in your opinion?
I do not think that my experience in building my own business should be different if I were a man.
Maybe I would have easier access to some clients since most of the decision makers in our industry are men, but maybe not. It is really hard to tell.
10. If you knew now what you knew then, would you have decided to go ahead? What was good, what was bad, and what would you do differently next time?
Building my own advertising agency was quite a ride – I would not change anything. I was aware that I was taking a big risk and that it would require a lot of work and lots of sleepless nights. By being very realistic and by not having romantic illusions about the idea of being my own boss, I managed to handle all challenges and create my own opportunities. One cannot change the past but only can learn from mistakes. Looking back, I can not only be satisfied with Alert’s business results but also with the fact that I stayed grounded.
If you a female entrepreneur in Croatia and would like to be featured in this series, please contact us on [email protected]