Learn about Florida Entrepreneur Rosa Vicent and Andersen Zapata:
After just two weeks working for an LED lighting company, Andersen Zapata, Founder of Lighting of Tomorrow, saw a huge opportunity he couldn't overlook. Andersen, and his wife and co-founder, Rosa Vicent, began researching the possibilities of starting their own LED lighting business. Within six months, they took the plunge and founded Lighting of Tomorrow in June of 2016.
"After doing a lot of research, we knew it was a great opportunity," Rosa said. "We also saw the impact that LED had on the environment, which is something we're very passionate about. I worked as a paralegal for five years prior, so I knew how to setup companies. We came up with a business plan, connected with manufacturers and started doing networking events to spread the word."
Rosa and Andersen started off in the residential sector. As a service based business, their value add was connecting the client with the manufacturer and the electrician to do the installation. They were the consultants that brought all parties together. Rosa shared some of the challenges they faced in the beginning and how they ultimately grew the business and transitioned into the commercial sector.
"A big challenge in the beginning was connecting with our clients," she said. "We had to prove ourselves. We spent a lot of time telling people who we are and what we do. We also spent a lot of time connecting with manufacturers. Since we were brand new to the industry, we had to convince them to work with us. Also, learning how to work together as husband and wife and separating business from our relationship was an early challenge."
"Our challenge of being so new to the industry is why I did so much networking. I probably went to a networking event every night of the week. I would meet and get in front of as many people as I could. It was all about establishing personal connections. Eventually, those connections lead to opportunities in the commercial sector. Today, we pretty much exclusively focus on commercial work."
Whether it's outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, lighting design, installation, retrofits, Photometrics, maintenance and/or inspections, Lighting of Tomorrow does it all. Rosa and Andersen work to set themselves apart from others in the industry by incorporating what they enjoy most with how they deliver their services.
"We love that we're selling something that's creating value," Rosa said. "We're not just in business to make money, but to actually make a positive impact and create value. We want to connect with our community and help our environment by reducing energy consumption. We're also building a team and providing a good service at a good value. Our focus is entirely on our clients. Their experience is our priority."
Looking ahead, Rosa and Andersen are focused on growing their business throughout South Florida and beyond. They want to incorporate more renewable energy solutions and products to their value proposition while creating more green job opportunities for the community, as well as continuing to focus on reducing energy consumption, one project at a time.
What advice does Rosa have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Make sure you have a clear why," she said. "Why are you opening a business? Why are you passionate about it? You should be able to clearly answer these questions. When the money doesn't come in and obstacles come up, you need a clear why. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help, and be extremely disciplined and ready to make sacrifices to turn your vision into your reality."
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