Erasmo Carlos Battistella is one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the Brazilian agricultural business and the founder, CEO, and president of BSBIOS. The agroenergy company was founded in 2005 in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil and, since its founding, has expanded its production to Marialva, Parana, Brazil, establishing BSBIOS as the largest producer of biodiesel in Brazil. Recently, the company acquired a biodiesel production facility in Switzerland and is investing in Omega Green in Paraguay, in order to establish BSBIOS as one of the top three largest producers of biofuels in the world by 2030.
At only 44-years-old, Battistella represents a new generation of Brazilian entrepreneurs and businesspeople. He received recognition as one of the 100 most influential people in the agricultural sector, as well as the Young Agricultural Business Leaders Award, Guri Award, and Equilibrista Award.
In addition to his work through BSBIOS, Battistella is the director of the Board of Directors of the Association of Biofuel Producers in Brazil (APROBIO).
Where did the idea for BSBIOS come from?
The idea for BSBIOS came to me when I was in a bank line, where I first learned about biodiesel. I was very interested in the idea, but the initiative to actually found the company only happened because, since I was a child, I was always very interested in the industrial and agro-industrial sectors. I believe that these industries don’t only generate a lot of value, but transform the regions where we work, so when I saw the need and opportunity to start BSBIOS, I went for it.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I try to make the most of my time and structure my days to be efficient. I always try to organize class schedules and primary commitments a week in advance so I know what to expect and am sure to get everything done.
Day to day, I usually wake up very early. I try to have my English lessons in the morning, and at the end of the day, I take time to exercise. I also try to keep my meetings short. In the evening, I review how my day was and prepare for the next day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
One feature I have is that I can visualize my ideas: I am a visual learner. So when someone tells me about a factory or an opportunity, these images come to my mind. To help me understand the ideas and put them into motion, it helps me put my ideas on paper to turn them into projects.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The energy transition is a trend that has caught my attention and has even raised many questions because we do not have a single solution for the energy transition in the world at this moment. Therefore, this is an important matter, and a pertinent one, and is worth putting thought into.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I could go back and give advice to myself, it would certainly be to improve some of my skills and abilities, especially communication skills. And I say this because when we are working on a global project, I see how important it is to speak other languages and have the ability to communicate for the success of businesses and people. Even if you have a great idea, if you cannot communicate that idea, it will be hard to get others on board, so effective communication is essential.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Analyze the strategy. I believe that we should frequently analyze the strategy to determine whether it is correct or not. When a person or a company determines a course of action, it is vital to not only consider expertise or experience, but other external factors that may influence decision-making as well. Thus, taking the time to actively analyze the strategy is very important.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I am always open to innovation; I look for discoveries and see how they can be applied to the business or improved. If you are set in your ways, or do not believe there are new ideas or trends that could help you move forward, it is unlikely that you will be able to grow.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Life is a constant learning process, and entrepreneurship is no different. It is betting on what you believe in; however, we don’t always get it right. Sometimes, it is necessary to go back and analyze the strategy – see where mistakes or missteps were made, understand why something didn’t work, and adjust and move on.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The $100 I best invested was the last ice cream I bought for my daughters because it gave me immense satisfaction. And we, as businessmen, do not only need to generate value. When we provide moments of happiness for people, especially those who are close to us, it is a great achievement.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I do not think there is a specific software. I believe that all online tools, especially communication tools, have changed the dynamics of business and my life. So, the messaging apps mainly make me have a lot more productivity in my routine, make it easier for me to communicate with people regularly and quickly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book I recommend is one I read a long time ago. So it is not a new one, but it is a book I learned a lot from, which is The Monk and the Executive by James C. Hunter. It is a well-established book, and it has taught me a lot. In addition, it has many tricks in leadership that helped me a lot to grow as a professional.
What is your favorite quote?
“To have a big dream requires the same effort as having a small dream.” – Jorge Paulo Lemann
- Analyze your strategy. Take note of what works and what doesn’t, and change accordingly.
- Communication is key. Even if you have a great idea, if you can’t communicate it effectively, it will be difficult to get people to understand.
- Embrace innovation. Change is inevitable, and sticking with the same strategy will eventually see you left behind.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.