We believe that enterprising family and owner businesses are quickly becoming the driving force of the Dutch economy. We like to call them the New Influencers. They have been a vital part of Dutch and European economies for decades, if not centuries, and they have the capacity to be an increasingly driving and stable factor of today’s society.
Family businesses differ from non-family businesses in different aspects. They concentrate on the continuity of the business, the existence of entrepreneurship, their values and identification with the family, and their ownership structure. However, that doesn’t mean that family businesses are in a comfortable position. Just like non-family businesses, they have to make strategic choices, adapt their culture and evaluate their operational and commercial processes.
The long history of the business, the loyalty of employees and the implicit knowledge that has built up over the years can suddenly turn from being an advantage into a disadvantage; what worked well in the past doesn’t necessarily work well today. That requires a business and a culture to see and do things differently, to professionalise and develop new skills and competences.
For many family businesses, the subject of succession also dominates for many years. The next generation is often faced with a dual challenge: taking over the business (with its existing organisation, culture and leadership) and developing a strategy and implementation plan that retains the competitiveness of the business and guarantees its continuity.
We know that it is not always easy for the new generation to make the necessary progress at the speed that is required. However, with passion, drive, employee loyalty, entrepreneurship, and occasional external support, many family businesses can build a bridge from the past to the future and, in doing so become the New Influencers of the Netherlands.
We give practical support to family businesses so that they secure the continuity of the business. Understanding the context of the family business and its trinity of family, shareholder and business is central to our approach.
The focus is always on the business. However, we always consider the interests and feelings of family members, whether or not they are shareholders. That is why we collaborate closely with the family director and his or her team, at a pace that suits the organisation and the development phase of the business. In short, all our projects are tailor-made.
Each new project is founded on many years of knowledge and proven results. We believe in the strength of simplicity, and we’re not afraid of conducting uncomfortable but illuminating conversations when necessary (what we call ‘holding up the mirror’). We also believe that ‘doing’ is the best way to mobilise people, implement processes and secure change.
Many of our projects centre around changing the business culture from ‘fire-fighting’ to ‘continuous improvement’, from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’. Our unique approach includes:
- Strengthening your strategy, organisation and management team by listening, ‘holding up a mirror’ and giving constructive criticism, and giving advice and successful examples.
- Helping you achieve the desired change by offering the right combination of pragmatic advice, project management and interim management.
- Recognising problem areas and resolving them rapidly by working with small teams experienced in working with family businesses and your particular market.
- Making an effective contribution to your business by speaking the language of the family, the management and the workers and by working at all levels of the organisation.
- Changing the competences and behaviour of managers and employees through coaching and supervision.
Specialists in helping family businesses in industry, retail and logistics
At Gwynt, we believe that real knowledge and market experience is key to getting quickly to the heart of your business issues. We’ve gained valuable experience over many years by working with companies in the food processing, discrete manufacturing, retail and wholesale and logistics industries. In order to protect that specialism, we do not work with organisations such as (quasi-) government bodies, public utility companies and financial institutions.
Our experience in supporting directors of family businesses
Gwynt has a wealth of experience in encouraging and guiding the directors of mid-sized and large family businesses. Here are a few examples of projects that we carry out:
- Evaluating and reformulating the strategy, the business plan that results from that strategy, and the concrete objectives that are based on family values. An essential component of this is translating family values into company values based on a ‘parallel planning process’.
- Overseeing the transfer to the new generation. This involves giving long-term support, from the executive board to the shop floor, while the business is being reorganised and professionalised.
- Redesigning the organisational structure of a rapidly growing family business so that family members and directors can retain control of the organisation and ‘ownership’ can be passed down through the organisation.
- Professionalising processes, improving operational results and achieving a culture of continuous improvement at companies in food and retail.
- Accelerating the innovation process to capitalise on the talents of workers throughout the organisation. This leads not only to more useful products and process innovations but also to an accelerated ‘time to market’.
- Holding interim executive board positions at family businesses in industry and retail.
Our value propositions for family businesses
In addition to providing several market-oriented services for family businesses in industry and retail, we have services that focus on developing new capacities.