Before founding Business Basecamp in 2009, I spent years working in the Netherlands for one of the most amazing sporting brands in the world, Nike. I was given several high-profile projects that provided me with the invaluable skill-set to be able to successfully offer business advice to others.
Nike demands quality, which was challenging based on the dynamic working environment and continually changing priorities. I rose to the challenge and learnt many professional lessons, mainly the art of working efficiently yet effectively.
The Nike ‘Just-Do-It’ mentality was also something I had learnt as a youngster. My family moved around the world several times, which meant that I had to get used to doing things out of my comfort zone.
In 2006, it was time for a new personal challenge. I left the Netherlands for Barcelona, deciding to go it alone. As a self-starter I fully embraced this new experience and creating something from nothing has provided so many new and valuable insights, both personally and professionally.
My core activities as an entrepreneur and consultant remain the same: make sure goals are aligned, initial project set-up, ensuring budgets are not exceeded and deadlines are met. And my goal is to help managers and entrepreneurs fully understand these parameters and thus increase performance.
What topics are most interesting for you now?
Based on my experience I give particular focus to the field of Human Resources, Customer Experience and Process Management. Besides that is am passionate about combining the aim for profit with social responsibility and sustainability. I also am an advocate for women striving to balance a professional career with family obligations, and I work to help them alleviate the challenges of this very modern personal and professional struggle.
What are the new changes/new trends nowadays (in the area you operate in)?
I think ‘regular enterprises’ can really learn something from social enterprises. In my work as a business consultant for various SMEs around Europe I strongly advocate creating a healthy and sustainable businesses. Another topic that becomes more and more important is diversity. Diversity positively influences outcomes and company results. The same goes for employee engagement, something companies should keep in mind if they want to stand out from the crowd. And last but not least, technology has become increasingly important over the last few years and this trend is still ongoing.
How did your business change over time?
I started in an office, but nowadays I work from any place. Wherever I go, my business comes with me and that has made me more international and more flexible. I don’t use any paper anymore, but make use of technology. I also believe the engagement with my clients has changed over the years, relations are less distant we I am more involved with their projects.
How is it to work with foreign clients?
Geographical distances are not an obstacle for me as my business goes wherever my suitcase and I go. I divide my time between projects in the Netherlands, where I still have many customers, and Barcelona. I also occasionally head to Morocco where I use the time revitalise. I have been working with foreign clients since I started my career and in general I think this is an added value, it’s an enriching experience.
Any advice for others?
Always be open to change and be flexible. As an entrepreneur, professional or company you should be able to adapt to changing circumstances. If you don’t, you won’t make it. As Darwin put it: ‘It is not the strongest of species that survives, but the most responsive to change’.