Barneveld-based startup R-SOLUTION Medical has developed a packaging robot for the Central Sterilization Department (CSA) of hospitals. The ‘R-APPIT’ that packs OR instruments not only reduces the amount of packaging material by about 25%, the robot also improves the quality of the work in the department. For founders Mariska van der Vliet and Niels Welling, a CSA has no secrets but running a business is another story. Brilliant Work coach Lizanne Jakobs helps the starters with the business side of their company. Niels: “Without the coaching, we probably would have made some slip-ups in terms of international distribution.”
'Entrepreneurship is more than your product and an accountant'
Mariska now knows from experience: : “Entrepreneurship involves so much more than just your product and an accountant for the receipts.” She came to know business coach Lizanne Jakobs of Brilliant Work through recommendations from others. What do the sessions with Lizanne look like? “We see each other about once every six weeks and then we discuss what has happened, what we are up against, we analyse what has come up in the mean time. We have an emotional attachment to it all, but Lizanne looks at things very calmly.” Niels adds: “We are very product focused and Lizanne points out other issues. For example: okay, you want to grow, but how? When are you going to hire people? And how many?” Mariska: “Our forecasts are always numbers oriented but Lizanne looks at it from a business point of view. You want to sell 6 machines? But how are you going to do that? Through distributors? Or by yourself? Which countries do you want to focus on 1st?” Niels: “Lizanne is very strong in asking questions that get us thinking.
Choosing a coach
Entrepreneurs can choose from a wide range of business coaches, but what do you as an entrepreneur pay attention to when choosing? Niels: “We find it important that we immediately have a connection with the people we work with. And that’s what we had with Lizanne. Of course, her knowledge and expertise also plays a role. Lizanne ‘s experience with international distribution channels was very useful for us.” Mariska: “We don’t want to be treated as a number, that’s another reason why we chose Lizanne.”
Lizanne explains her methodology: “First, I ask where the entrepreneur wants to be in 3 years with their company. We make an action plan, a kind of road map; where do you want to go and how do you get there? Once that is in place, it is easier for me to help with advice. Most starters are preoccupied with the issues of the moment. They don’t look enough at other things like: are there subsidies available for me? What needs to be done next month? For startups in general: find the balance between thinking and doing, between what you have to do every week and where you want to be in 3 years or so, that is often forgotten.”