Talking about money, coincidentally, above the mentioned article, it states in big capital letters “starting with a single guilder…”. Of course, it helps to have some capital lying around if you want to set up a business, but you will lose it just as quickly by listening to those who know nothing about this type of thing.
I will take you back in time again to paint a picture. After the economic downturn in the late 1970s, I did not have much money. But I still managed to create something. The older generation probably still remembers the building crisis of 1980-1982. An implosion followed as one business after another closed down. Mine did too and I began again from scratch.
I am convinced that an entrepreneur must be able to genuinely demonstrate resourcefulness, self-belief, perseverance, persuasion and especially empathy. As far as I can judge for myself, I still have these characteristics and various hard-to-measure peculiarities. These qualities were always very helpful in times of crisis and have even pulled me through on occasion. It is an art to come back stronger and more positive after a heavy setback.
There are enough books written to fill a whole library on the subject of falling down and getting back up and the associated psychological thought process. Former artist, fellow Amsterdam native and contemporary Rob de Nijs wrote a song about overcoming this type of adversity, although the protagonist in the song gives the impression of having learned nothing from the experience.
In my January column, I talked about my strengths and weaknesses. Relationship management is certainly one of my strengths. All the personal contacts I made in the previous century, apart from one or two and those who have sadly passed away, still remain in touch with ICA in one way or another. I see opportunities everywhere and, to be honest, I have never had as many of them in my life as I do now in 2021.
Of course, it would not surprise you to know that Mr Van der Hoek is up to something great again. Partners and acquaintances who have recently been to Druten probably think they know what I am talking about. However, I can guarantee everyone that, along with the sales staff and the marketing department, we are working on something unprecedented. Unfortunately, I cannot give away anything concrete yet, but around November/December of this year, hopefully sooner, we plan to tell the world.
COVID-19 still remains an unpredictable factor that is currently throwing a spanner in the works. Fortunately, I have been able to take my first vaccination and little by little the stores are reopening and people are venturing out. What the longer term effects of the coronavirus crisis will be is hard to say.
At ICA, we rely on our own strengths and I always trust in the ability of our employees and the fingerspitzengefühl of yours truly. I do not have a crystal ball, but if we fail to grow in the coming years, something will have gone terribly wrong.