“Dear Gerard

It’s good to see that you have made big steps in recent years. Realizing that you always have to anticipate is really important. During the phase of growth and increasing profits, you will be in a euphoric mood. You feel invincible, you get lots of compliments and make lots of “friends”, after all, you are successful. It is more difficult to look ahead and to consider the next phase.

A friend of mine is a successful entrepreneur. High-quality services and customer relationships are central to their business. In addition, the company did not invest in unconventional sectors and he is alert to increasing costs. His company is active in the construction and logistics sectors. By focusing on flexible housing and flexible solutions, the business is making money despite the crisis. Revenues and profitability declined, but he was able to take the right actions in time, so he was able to be successful. His construction company focused primarily on new buildings (offices, schools, residential areas) and several years ago, I advised him to enter the renovation sector. He did not agree, because he saw a lot of possibilities from focusing on being the best in his sector. But, he took note that the renovation sector was an area that was promising and he will seek expansion in that direction in the future. It’s never too late to reconsider your decision, that’s also an important part of being successful.

I also get a lot of inspiration from sport and particularly the Dutch success at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. We won the most medals in long track speed skating and it shows that a “small country can be large”. It is a good example, as a sports organization decides to select only that category where the chances are the highest of winning medals. In skating, we make use of professional guidance, good logistics (availability of skating facilities) and scientific knowledge is applied regarding the training and the equipment (suits designed with material from the DSM chemical company and the Viking skating company – fitted and tested and retested). These are aspects that you can recognize as an entrepreneur: focus, invest where the greatest gains can be achieved. Make no concessions regarding professional guidance and training. All this leads to the medal/profit. However, after winning the medals you cannot take a step backward. Stagnation means losing ground in sport and in business.

The problem with skating is there is too little competition from other countries. The danger is that interest in skating will decrease internationally. This means that the product is not good enough. If you’re the best, but the international community does not want to look at this success, it will not be commercially attractive, this needs to be addressed. There is international interest in short track speed skating and roller skating, particularly in the U.S. and Asia. Here, we have to attract attention: transfer knowledge of the sport to other countries, promote competition and work together to make the product more attractive. This is also a part of the business: developing, selecting and reselecting is not enough. Correct focus and added value for the customer are essential. Even though you’re the best in your category, customers also have to be aware of this.


Jan Stam”

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