Close to the market, close to the people. Anyone who does business internationally will sooner or later face the choice: will I grow as an export-oriented organization or will I achieve my growth by being present locally. In my vision, in which business is based on trust, that choice is not difficult and I opt for the latter option.
Trust is based on a local presence: the same language, the same time zone and familiarity with the local culture. It sounds entirely obvious, but before you have converted an organization from being mainly export-oriented to operating internationally…
Two steps forward…
It is a fascinating process. Actually, you need to keep internationalization in focus on all fronts. Of course in sales, back office, service, but also in human resources and communications. To what extent do you let international offices conduct their own HR policy and how do you ensure that the corporate identity is maintained in China as well? With Priva, I am in the middle of this process and it is amazing to see how, little by little, with two steps forward and one step back (and sometimes one to the side), the organization is gradually growing into its new form: a head office in the Netherlands, and sales offices in all corners of the world, according to size and different stages of independence.
Close-by also has another meaning to me. In a family business such as Priva, close-by also stands for: short lines, commitment, looking out for each other. People-centered, as we call it at Priva. Relying on talent and giving space for development brings out the best in people. Not only in our own people, but also in those of our partners, dealers and end users.
Customers from the early days
I recently visited some of our earliest customers in Australia. Emigrants who, as well as their families, had also taken their relationship with Priva to the other side of the world and thus set the internationalization of our company in motion. The enthusiasm with which I was received there was heart-warming. Australia is very far away, yet also very close. My advice? Always stay close to the market, but above all close to the people.