In 2008, Laurent made an unusual career switch. He gave up his job as a nurse and opened a charming chocolate shop on the edge of the Sablon. Since 2013 he has also been selling his luxury confectionery through a small online shop.
Shop and online shop
'I first knocked on KBC Brussels' door because I had some questions about my payment systems,' explains Laurent. 'Specifically, I was looking for advice about payments from the online shop and a better payment terminal for my actual shop.'
Laurent rapidly realised there was a good fit. 'I am myself right in the middle of Brussels everyday life, and I know from experience that not every bank is involved in this. With KBC Brussels, I was immediately on the same wavelength. They are aware of all the city's idiosyncrasies and throughly understand how local authority grants work. Their know-how gave a boost to the seed capital I needed for both the bricks-and-mortar and online stores.'
Because Laurent was so happy about the meeting of minds, he agreed to a proposal from KBC Brussels to undertake a detailed review of his business. 'The online shop runs fine; the shop itself is on cruising speed... it seemed to me to be the right time for an in-depth analysis.'
An expert at KBC Brussels reviewed the business' liquid assets and offered advice on savings and investments. In this way, Laurent started up pension savings and also got a good overview of the reserves needed for the future.
Brussels is quirky on all levels. We at KBC Brussels understand that.
A single point of contact
'I like the feeling that I have just one point of contact for so many different services. My insurance and banking are also in the hands of people who, like me, understand what is unique about Brussels. They definitely take that into account when giving advice. It was they, for example, who alerted me to possible grants for training someone in my chocolate production.'
Over the years, Laurent has become more relaxed about his business, and the services from KBC Brussels have certainly played a part in this. 'I am very pragmatic,' he explains. 'A good service from the bank means that I don't have to think about that any longer. And that leaves time for other, better things.'