Carlos Soto and Cristián Gallardo, USM Commercial Engineering alumni
FROM UNIVERSITY CLASSROOMS TO THE WORLD: THE ASCENT OF PULSOLINE
Cristian and Carlos are part of a generation of USM Commercial Engineers who were already strongly motivated back in their undergraduate days to develop their own projects, and always aspired to be entrepreneurs. They spent a lot of time generating more projects than business ventures, and thus gained the experience that they would eventually turn into Pulsoline.
After graduating from USM, Carlos decided to leave a business project on Commercial Intermediation that he’d been working on with a group of Brazilian businessmen. He joined the Commercial Engineering Department of Santa Maria as a Project Engineer, in addition to teaching classes and providing consulting services to Architecture Department projects.
After various tries at different business ventures and nearly eight years of work experience, Carlos got together with his good friend and colleague Cristian Gallardo—a fellow USM Commercial Engineering graduate—to concretize one of their biggest dreams: to create a company in which they could pool their knowledge, develop it and put their ideas into practice. It led the enthusiastic commercial engineers and good friends to create Pulsoline, based on their accumulated business experience.
According to Carlos, one of the main factors that triggered his decision to start a venture with Cristian was that they had business expertise in different areas, which meant they could work in synergy. “There’s a mutual trust and like-mindedness between us after over 15 years of knowing each other and having worked together, sometimes not well, others times just so-so, and still others really well, and in the process achieving varying outcomes. We know each other well, personally and professionally, and all of these factors were crucial when the time came to decide to start a business, especially to launch a joint venture. Most important to me was that after we left University we each followed very different paths that later led to a space of reencounter, and our creating a company. Our organization is basically a mix of what each of us successfully developed and the know-how that we’ve generated,” said Carlos.
So what exactly is Pulsoline?
“Pulsoline is a creative sales, advertising and marketing consulting firm that’s committed to improving the sales performance of companies with our commercial know-how, using advertising actions as the primary tool for achieving our clients’ objectives,” Cristian explained.
Pulsoline started up its activities in mid-2016, and by mid-2018 had already consolidated its business, having verified and validated that the services it provided were meeting the requirements of the Chilean companies that were its targeted clients. Even so, Carlos reflects, “No ambitious entrepreneur will tell you that their business is consolidated, because there’s always a sense of dissatisfaction with what you already have or with how far you’ve gone, and it pushes you to keep moving forward faster, like a nervous racehorse at the gate—it’s about doing things. So I think this is what it’s all about—sustaining the momentum. For example, we had a work plan that we succeeded in preparing, and for 2019 and 2020, which is more or less where we’re at with the planning, which is also another milestone. In all probability this year we’ll start looking at where we want to be by 2021, but this is how it is, you’ll always look forward at least 3 years ahead, then you make the adjustments as you go. Personally, I think that consolidation is something continuous”.
Pulsoline is also making a contribution to decentralization, which is one of the company’s values. The company does this by maintaining its physical address in the Fifth Region, confident that developing any creative process or electronically-based project doesn’t have to be predicated on having physical location in the Santiago Metropolitan Region.
Objectives moving forward
They tell us that “we have a sales goal that we can’t reveal for strategy reasons, and we focus on a certain type of customer. We have a customer database built around potential prospects that we need to continually work on. All our planning for 2019 is oriented to that customer type, and from my point of view, a landmark in the plan is to do more repeat business with the Prague office for 2020. There’s also the idea of having an office in the south. So our agenda for the future is to grow the company in terms of staff size and the professionals we’d like to add to our team, the kinds of clients that we need to have, and the distances or markets we want to penetrate. These are the three variables that we’re working with, but to do this, evidently everything must be sustained by income development”.
Recommendations for Starting a Business
“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes time and again, because you gain experience in the process of carrying out a business venture. The first time around, you’ll have to deal with a lot of stumbling blocks. Take on board the fact that the process will be a long one, before you reach a point where the business will become something more defined. You have to invest time, make sacrifices, and be absolutely convinced you can do it, because if you give up halfway through, you can get frustrated. Most of all, stay curious and don’t give up. You have to discover the trick that’ll turn the problem around—this is the hallmark of a commercial engineering graduate of Santa María University,” Cristian pointed out.