FAMILY BUSINESSES | SUSTAINABLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
In many businesses, long-term strategies often take precedence over short-term goals, generally in contrast to large corporates. Ultimately, family businesses are about passing on the torch to the next generation to cement a family legacy, which requires great commitment, mutual respect and innovation. In the Netherlands, family businesses account for more than 350 billion euros in turnover, forming the
backbone of the Dutch economy.
In today’s rapidly changing world, sustainable development is becoming increasingly important for family businesses. Businesses must always anticipate market dynamics and avoid doing what they have always done. For a sustainable future you have to keep looking ahead.
Many family businesses will have heard this many times before, but actually putting it into practice is another thing altogether. They tend to reason: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”, but the enterprising courage to innovate is absolutely essential. All too often, businesses develop beautifully wrought plans on paper but fail to put these plans into action. Habits often creep in, or a strong mark left by the previous generation stifles innovation.
The trick is to embrace history and all tried & tested ideas, plans, actions and visions and to use those corporate values to pursue innovation. This will keep you firmly on course while you work on a sustainable business to last a lifetime.
I’m talking specifically about sustainable business. There are two different aspects to sustainability here:
- Preserving the history of the business or family. Keeping the company viable for future generations.
- Over the past decade, we have become even more aware of the fact that we have to be careful with the earth and its resources. With this in mind, I acquired a business in 2012, working with a partner who specialises in redeveloping our cultural heritage. Together, we redevelop listed buildings with a focus their financial futures, rather than adopting the old approach that consisted solely of technical redevelopment.
Transforming and repurposing old buildings is the future. It is a lot complex, but leads to better results in the long term, in addition to limiting the need for new building materials. Continuing along this line of reasoning, I find myself coming to the same conclusion ever more often: we have to find new ways to produce without harming the earth and the businesses on it. This requires a lot of creativity and innovation. I see it as a great challenge to advise business owners on this matter and generate awareness. Relying on my ample experience, I can support businesses in making their operations greener and more sustainable, which can have tremendous environmental benefits whilst also giving a new impulse to the continued preservation of the history of a ‘greener’ business or family.
REASON & EMOTION
With my knowledge of the market, expertise, and power to change, I effect breakthroughs in businesses and enable them to seize new opportunities and prepare themselves for the next generation. On top of that, I can also support the transition from one generation to the next. New generations are overloaded with expertise, but will occasionally also have to break through sensitive old walls.
I understand like no other that running a family business requires a combination of reason and emotion. By always listening, mirroring, asking the right questions and paying real attention to emotional aspects, the various parties involved and continue to move forward together.
After years of working in various different fields, I speak the language of the family, management and the shop floor. My approach does not consist of endlessly talking about what step to take next, but of making concrete plans to get started, to set in motion the journey from success to value.
Inspired to move from success to value? Looking to make that valuable connection? Or would you like to meet to see how we can connect?
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