G(r)o(w) Against the Flow

About 12 years ago I had the idea that global mobility could be done in a different way than it currently was. To do it differently, I set up Boxx. In the previous 12 years, I gained experience at a number of large consultancy firms and at a multinational company. I knew I could not do it on my own and I asked my wife if she would be willing to leave her job and help me. I also hired my first employee. Beyond my experience and the idea of improvement, I did not have much to offer my wife, our first employee or even our first clients. Of course, those first Boxx customers had confidence in me. But in retrospect, I think that in that moment, they probably saw more value in my background and experience than in my ideas for the future.

Is it any different now? With a team of nearly 50 people and a customer group of more than 100 international companies, Boxx has grown to be the only one of its kind. To accomplish this, we have taken deliberate steps with a global proposition and a unique client service model. Such steps are, of course, accompanied by strong growing pains. That reminds me of an interesting comparison I came across in a magazine: What does running a growing business and having sex in the 1950s have in common? Answer: everything is expected of you, but nobody tells you how to do it. So very true!

How did Boxx survive that growth phase? From the beginning I believed that a truly successful company needs more than just a good idea and enthusiastic people. As an entrepreneur, it is important to stay true to yourself, while daring to reinvent yourself. You should not be afraid to face the consequences of wrong choices. Do not focus on what people are doing, because then you are following trends. A successful company stays just ahead of the trends and is able to grow against the flow. As difficult as it is, ask yourself why people do the things they do. To find an answer to that question, you must immerse yourself in your environment and in your customers.

In today’s world, digitality seems to be the solution to everything. I see that differently and Boxx customers agree. They are happy with our human-to-human concept. Even better, we receive appreciation from people and organizations that are a bit further away from us. We even win prizes for that. It is certainly a nice form of recognition, but in the end, it is just as it with the Michelin stars for restaurants: praise alone doesn’t pay the bills.

That comment is not just a piece of Dutch sobriety. Winning prizes can never be a business goal. However, it is good motivation for us to continue with the development of our Boxx formula. Furthermore, trophies are a tangible proof of appreciation for our club of enthusiastic professionals. Last but not least, I am pleased that I can not only offer my people and our clients an idea, but an award-winning practice based on that idea.