Alex Cernatescu is a typical example of the new breed of entrepreneur: he started out at 17, spent some time in the business development field, gained vast experience in integrated solutions and selling software and also worked for a Romanian-American company specialized in video streaming. Later, he decided to start his own business, finding that his graduate degree in Electronics and Telecommunications gave him a significant professional advantage. He and his brother Andrei set up their interactive agency, Infinit Solutions, in April 2007. One of their reasons for doing so was that they believed they could provide products and services to at least the same quality standards as their competitors. “My many years of experience in signing many contracts in different fields has been very important to the development of Infinit Solutions,” says Cernatescu. He adds that his two years at the video streaming company helped him a lot, giving him the feel of the specific market, helping him understand the mechanisms of it and, probably most importantly, alerting him that there was plenty of space for innovation and quality services, and therefore for ambitious projects. “Nobody gave us a chance at that time, and that motivated us all the more. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could succeed,” says Cernatescu. The two brothers started the family business in the way that many entrepreneurs do: in an apartment, with no initial investment, armed only with courage and the drive to succeed. “Since the very beginning we have focused on innovation and up-to-the-minute technologies. We didn't hesitate to draw upon them, although the more familiar and common ones were the easier and more forthcoming ones,” says the young entrepreneur of the initial strategy for his business. The two brothers did not set out to start a full-service advertising agency; initially the interactive component was the only business line. But in time, the company was called upon to provide other services to its customers, so it seemed a natural step to extend the activity rather than delegate those projects to other agencies. They therefore decided to develop the business in order to be able to offer the best communication mix to their customers. But how difficult has it been for the two businessmen to establish their enterprise on the market and to operate such a business? “Obviously it is not easy to run any business, especially one that is based exclusively on people's creativity and efficiency. It is important to understand customers' needs, to identify the opportunities and to succeed in convincing the customer that your proposal is the best he or she can get,” says Cernatescu. He is of the school of entrepreneurs that do not regret their decisions, considering them to be the right ones at that time. If he could change something about his business, he would have started it earlier; even though he has met customers who were skeptical about his business proposal because he was too young to be considered a mature businessperson. According to Cernatescu, every aspect of Infinit Solutions is a challenge – from choosing the team members to attracting and retaining customers. As for the competition, he says that it is significant, especially during the crisis when many companies are taking cost-cutting measures such as slashing their communication budgets – both PR and advertising. Although the local advertising industry has posted a significant drop since the crisis hit, “we have increased constantly from the beginning. We expect to grow this year as a result of both an extended customer portfolio and the large number of projects we are developing,” predicts Cernatescu. When it comes to standing out from the crowd, the entrepreneur thinks that Infinit Solutions distinguishes itself from the market through its prompt reaction to its customers' demands. “A very short time passes between the meeting with the customer and the first proposals we put forward,” says Cernatescu. Moreover, he is the kind of entrepreneur that loves to be personally involved in customer relationships. “I often go to a meeting or a presentation with a customer, ready to make notes and to discuss the issues, in order to come up with some ideas by the end of the conversation,” says Cernatescu. Sometimes, those early ideas turn out to be the foundation of the entire campaign. As Infinit Solution is active on many markets such as interactive services, media, PR, software, ATL and BTL, Cernatescu says that it is hard to estimate its market share precisely. Looking to the future, he says that the firm's main objective is to continue to grow, “but in a controlled manner for now. We also intend to extend our activity outside Romania, but there are many factors to take into consideration, mainly economic ones. A favorable economic environment could certainly speed up this process,” adds Cernatescu.