Enterprising family businesses are the driving force of Dutch society. We like to call them The New Influencers. They’ve always been important to the Dutch economy, but we believe they will (and must) become an increasingly stable element of society and an inspiration to our economy. Family businesses differentiate themselves from non-family companies by their focus on business continuity, entrepreneurship, family values, and branding that identifies itself strongly with the company and its ownership structure.
The precarious position of family businesses
Family businesses may be the engine of the Dutch economy, but this does not mean they’re in a comfortable position. In fact, they often find themselves having to change strategy, adapt their culture and re-evaluate their operational and commercial processes. The advantage of a long history, loyal employees and inherent knowledge can suddenly turn into a disadvantage. What used to be profitable yesterday may not be profitable today. That requires a new way of seeing and doing things. It requires the professionalisation of the company and the development of new capacities.
The thorny issue of succession and transition
The issue that is perhaps most closely associated with family businesses is that of succession. This next generation is often faced with a dual challenge: (1) take over the company with its existing organisation, culture and leadership and (2) find a strategy and the best way to implement that strategy to keep the company competitive and safeguard its continuity.
We know it’s not always simple for the new generation to make essential changes at the required pace. However, many family companies can bridge the gap between the present and the future with passion, determination, entrepreneurship, staff loyalty, and a little external support. This is how they become The New Influencers of the Netherlands.
Gwynt and family businesses
Our passion is helping family companies secure business continuity. In a pragmatic and sensitive way. We understand the complicated dynamics between family, shareholders and the business, so we focus on the company and the interests and feelings of the family.
We believe in intensive collaboration with the directors at a pace that suits the organisation and its stage of development. This means our projects are always customised. It’s how we continue building on many years of knowledge and proven results.
We also believe in the power of simplicity, presenting directors with the reality of their choices, and actually ‘doing the work’ to get the best out of people and processes and achieve real breakthroughs. Many of our projects involve changing from a culture of fire-fighting to one of fire-prevention. In other words, achieving a culture of continuous improvement.
This is the approach we take to working with family companies:
- Listening, reflecting, evaluating, introducing successful examples and recommending ways to tighten up your strategy, organisation and management team.
- Offering the right combination of practical advice, project management and interim management, and achieving the desired change in collaboration with you.
- Working with small teams that have experience of family companies and your market, enabling us to recognise and overcome obstacles quickly.
- Speaking the language of the family, the management and the shop floor, so we can make effective changes at all levels of the business.
- Coaching and advising directors and employees in adapting their competences and behaviour.
Working with family businesses in industry, retail and logistics
At Gwynt, we believe that in-depth knowledge and relevant experience are essential to quickly getting to the heart of the matter and understanding all aspects of an issue. Our experience is with companies in food and manufacturing, retailers, logistical service providers and wholesalers. We do not work with businesses such as (semi) public organisations, utility companies or financial institutions.
A wealth of experience in supporting the directors of family businesses
Examples of our customised projects:
- Reviewing and formulating a clear strategy; drawing up a business plan and concrete objectives based on family values; translating family values into company values based on the ‘parallel planning process’.
- Supervising the transition to a new generation; giving support in reorganising and professionalising the business, from director level to the shop floor.
- Redesigning the organisation structure of a rapidly growing family company so that directors and family members maintain control and ownership is extended to lower levels of the organisation.
- Improving operational results through professionalisation and achieving a culture of continuous improvement at family companies in retail and the food industry.
- Accelerating the innovation process by making better use of in-house talent across the organisation, leading to more useful products and process innovations and an acceleration of ‘time to market’.
- Occupying interim director roles at family companies in industry and retail to provide specialist knowledge, help implement solutions, work with employees, and develop in-house talent.