Webs' growth story: dare to choose

3 min read
Apr 29, 2024 11:47:56 AM
The story I want to share with you is about bringing vision and focus to your own business. That story begins in 2001, with the founding of my company Webs.


Me and a college roommate started building websites in the evenings. That went well. Very well. The company quickly grew from 2 people in the attic to 20 employees in a beautiful office in Eindhoven.

Yet at one point I began to doubt my course...

Did I have one at all? Yes, we were growing fast. But where were we headed? Big turnover, minimal margin and no way to steer it. And yes, we did all kinds of things, but what were we really good at? It was like sprinting for the blind. Going hard.

In 2012 something happened that gave me sleepless nights. A major client suddenly dropped out and with it almost a third of our turnover. 20 men on the payroll and no plan B. As a fellow entrepreneur you can probably imagine: it was all hands on deck.

Not much later Emiel Kanters came on board, still my partner. Together we set aside a whole year to reshape the company. A year of intensive discussions with customers and associates.

Where is their pain? What can we add for them? From the outside in. Not thinking up something yourself and then seeing what happens. I was done with that.

We needed that year to determine a new route. That felt very unsafe at times because we had to keep the old in the air and start shaping the new. That meant literally developing. Taking off old wrappers and embracing new ones.

We said goodbye to old wrappers like the sports associations we had worked for for so many years. A market with little money and growth and therefore too little potential, we discovered. A difficult step, because you voluntarily say goodbye to turnover. In terms of liquidity, we really went past the point of no return.

Because we reasoned from the outside in and looked closely at where we came from and what the market demanded, our new course emerged as it were. Eindhoven is the heart of Dutch B2B and not entirely coincidentally, we also had a number of B2B customers and relations with whom we started discussions. They told us they needed smarter ways to grow their business with digital marketing and sales. Just like in B2C. So there they and we also saw great untapped potential.

That was a very different proposition than Webs had done in all the years before. But a promising one. Now we had to find something that would allow us to capitalize on the potential we saw.

We chose to partner with a proven solution for this issue: HubSpot, a publicly traded American company with relatively few partners in the Benelux countries. The new Webs was built around this product starting in 2015.

The full-service internet agency of the time, that no longer exists. Webs has been transformed into a Growth Agency of 35 professionals who optimize the commercial process with HubSpot. Now even with Diamond status and a NR 2 position in Europe. Of the old team three people are left, but this year we counted 100 recurring customers for the first time, we opened our second office in Amsterdam, and there is an excellent profitability.

My advice to all entrepreneurs?

DARE TO CHOOSE. A wise man once said, Every battle is won before it's ever fought. Every battle is won before it's ever fought.

Always handle these 3 elements in here:

  1. From the outside in
  2. Along a plan/route
  3. Focused on measurable business results.

I wish everyone success in making choices.

Thank you.


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