Who is Pablo Parra?
I am the youngest of eight siblings, I am 44 years old, Catholic and Italian-Spanish, married and in love as the first day with my wife, Lorella Marchini, with whom I have two beautiful daughters. My hobbies are Porsches and Harleys.
What is the formula for success for an online marketing company like Opt Media?
The key to success is dedication, desire and enthusiasm.
Dedication, although it may go against your principles, must be constant, even when you sleep.
The desire pushes you to always go forward and to always be optimistic in life, you have to really believe it, believing is always power.
And finally, the illusion of always taking a step upwards, never stop, to stop is to die, sometimes you have to know how to take two steps backwards and then take three or four steps forwards, but you must not stop. Illusion is contagious, I have worked with more than a thousand people throughout my life and I have always tried to get them excited, and they have all done their bit. You also have to know how to transmit enthusiasm.
With dedication, desire and enthusiasm you can't fail, success is guaranteed.
What do you remember from your student years in London?
The first thing I think about my time in London is fun, education and values, in that order.
Fun because I studied what I liked, finished my classes and went off with my suit and briefcase to talk business plans with my professor. I would stay with him for two or three hours while my friends went to the pub. I come from a business family and I have always been passionate about building businesses, maintaining them and making them successful. The hardest part of all is always maintaining them. Work and Fun is the main message and my business philosophy.
You have to have values, they are unwritten rules, friendship, ethics, no need to step on anyone's toes or talk bad about anyone, only losers talk about others. You always have to compete with yourself.
How was Opt Media born and what were the beginnings like?
After a few years working for the Spanish embassy in England, where I was able to make my first foray into the world of marketing and merchandising, I realised that the area that really interested me most was advertising.
Opt Media was born in a city near Monaco, together with another student from the University of London with whom we agreed to create a project that would help companies to have visibility on the internet, that man was Mats Dahle, he put the creative part and I put the business part, from that mixture we came up with the idea of creating an online marketing company.
After two days locked up in his house we came up with the name and logo of Opt Media, which is still in place today, although every year we give it a little restyling.
Optimalisering means optimisation in Norwegian and also comes from optimistic, hence the abbreviation "Opt".
How do you feel about the Latin American market after your successful experience on the other side of the pond?
One word, impressive. A market in full evolution that only transmits success and enthusiasm to me. You arrive in Latin America and just for being Spanish you feel very welcome. It is a great continent that has been very badly sold in Europe. Europe has nothing to teach Latin America, apart from its problems with political corruption, there is much more business than in Europe and I find it much more interesting to invest in. The businessman is treated like a king and has all the facilities in his favour, it is much easier to do business in Latin America than in Europe, I have been pleasantly surprised. Let's go full throttle in America!
What are the next steps in your expansion plan for Opt Media?
Our timetable is as follows: Before the end of the year we want to open in Mexico, Paraguay, Ecuador, Guatemala and finally Russia. Our intention is to finish 2021 having opened eight delegations in one year, we have great people in each country, we do not want to work as a franchise, in each country we have 51% of the shares to ensure the values and guidelines of the Opt media brand.
What advice can you give to all those entrepreneurs who are having a hard time because of COVID?
Very briefly, I was taught this at university: Renew or die.
We are in an internet age and everything goes through the internet. This crisis has given a slap to the entire world population, everything goes through the digitisation of business and those who do not adapt their business will die.
What about the young entrepreneurs whose dreams are being dashed by the pandemic?
I recommend young people to stop dreaming, first you have to work, get training, gain experience and start to set up something when you have at least 10 years of work experience. You have to train, prepare and launch yourself, but it is not enough to break the rules of the game, you have to get up at seven o'clock, have a salary, start from the bottom... little by little.
The first thing to do before starting a business is to write it down. 90% of people who start a business fail because they don't write it down, you have to write it down in a business plan. And never forget that the engine of any business is sales, you should not be afraid of selling. A business is not like a battle, it is like a war, battles are won month by month. Over the years I have worked in all the departments of Opt Media and what I like most is still selling, I don't consider myself a salesman but a business generator. Without customers there is no company, without turnover there is no company. Young people have to get up early, learn, train and work, otherwise they will fail.
I also recommend them to travel, to learn languages. It is unacceptable that in 2021 there will still be 25 year olds who do not speak English. English not only opens doors, it also opens your business vision. Going to live abroad for at least 4 years is always a good investment. You have to open your mind, get out of Spain, see, know, understand and respect.
My daughters study in a French school, they speak native Spanish and Italian, they speak French since they are 6 months old, and in my house we all speak English.
My daughters will take Opt Media and will continue my work, that's why I train them, educate them and teach them to value everything, but they will start from the bottom and one day they will run the company, things in life have to be earned first.
What has been the biggest risk you have faced as an entrepreneur?
I encounter risks practically every day, but with experience, desire and dedication there are no stones in the road that can stop you, success doesn't come by itself and you can't be caught looking at the clock.
What is your source of inspiration in business?
You have to try to be the best in your business as well as in your personal life, the important thing is that you believe in it. Attitude, desire and dedication, all of that is free but it is the most difficult thing to obtain, you either have it or you don't.
All that we are doing is thanks to those who are here, those who were here and those who will be here. I am especially grateful for the patience and emotional support of my wife and daughters, my true source of nourishment and illusion, it is because of them and for them that all this makes sense. As I often say to them, please wait and see me building an empire.
What is the profile needed to be a partner of Opt Media in its global expansion?
At Opt Media we don't look for partners, we select them, the difference is important. Before we marry a partner, the first requirement they must meet is that they share our business philosophy, work and fun, they must also have a vision for the future, intelligence and a desire to always go further. They must fit in very well with us and have the same international mentality.
How do you see the future of Opt Media?
I see the future of Opt Media in the hands of my daughters and that's why I'm working, I'm also training my wife in case something happens to me one day. Opt Media will go forward with Pablo, with Lorella, with my daughters or without them, that's why we are working on the perfect formula. I'm going to tell you a secret, a business that depends on you every day is not a good business, your business must work better every day without your daily presence, and that's what I work on every day, I do tests, I let people crash, in the end you only learn by stumbling, the important thing is to get up even stronger.
As for the immediate future of our online marketing company: In the next six years we will make Opt Media present on all 5 continents.
And finally... How would you like to be remembered?
For me, values are very important, friendship and family. I would like to be remembered as a person who was a friend of his friends, generous, fun, open, intelligent, with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of illusion for life.
I try to be a good father and a good husband. I mean no harm to my own people or to my enemies. I don't wish anyone any harm. In the end, fortunately, time puts everyone in their place.