We are celebrating ten years of MeeMaken. How? By giving the floor to one of the thirteen MeeMaken companies every month. This month, we speak to Natasja Jager, founder of Splintt and CEO of BeOne Development about the term ‘Letting go’. ‘Because we’ve been able to let go of Splintt, the whole company is growing faster.’
Letting go brought us focus and growth
The buzzword for Splintt is letting go. Why is this term relevant?
‘The term is very relevant, both for the company and for me personally’, Natasja begins. ‘I started my training agency for classroom teaching of soft skills in 2001. When clients started replacing us with eLearning solutions in 2008, I decided to create our own replacement and transformed the traditional training company into an eLearning agency. I said goodbye to clients, staff and operations and basically started over again. In the process, Niels van Drimmelen became my business partner. He took over many of my duties so that I could focus more strongly on commerce. It was an important moment to let go of things. We have since grown considerably and are now developing different types of customized online learning solutions with Splintt. Think videos, animations, interactive films and learning solutions through gamification. From eLearning courses on company rules or products, to specific instructional training on the use of machinery.’
Natasja continues: ‘A year and a half ago, Niels and I were looking for a collaborating partner to accelerate the growth of the company. We found one in MeeMaken. And becoming part of MeeMaken obviously led to a lot of letting go. Roles and responsibilities changed. I handed over operational tasks that I was still doing before, along with dealing with customers and managing people. This process takes some time, you have to let go very consciously yourself and also help the organization to do the same. For larger tasks, this is relatively easy, but the tricky part comes with the small details, such as thought patterns.’
“Because we’ve been able to let go of Splintt, the whole company is growing faster.”
What are things that Splintt has let go of?
‘When we sold Splintt to MeeMaken, we immediately set up BeOne Development, which I then became CCO of and subsequently CEO’, explains Natasja. ‘We bundled Splintt together with Infosequre and eWorks – eLearning companies with a focus on security and safety – and together we became a group with a focus on digital learning solutions. The companies fit well together, are complementary and can learn a lot from each other. This makes it a very good match. With the group, we combined overarching activities such as marketing, media production and pre-sales. This type of transition involved changing the ways in which we worked within each company. The processes, systems, tasks, and responsibilities had changed and, on top of that, we were moving to one office. This gave us a much greater focus on scalability and growth, both in relation to our products and across the organization. Everyone had to let go a little and think in a different way. The comment “you guys at Splintt” invariably turned into “no, we at BeOne”. We are all part of the bigger picture now.’
Natasja continues: ‘We have made Splintt’s learning platform Philpaper – a learning system for the provision of online learning materials – a key software tool within BeOne Development. This is now much closer to being the distribution channel for all our libraries rather than specific content. This allows us to support our customers and, more importantly, channel partners much better. But even before that, we had to let go and change a lot at Splintt.’
Are you making different choices now that you are part of MeeMaken?
‘We no longer make choices on our own,’ says Natasja. ‘We now make them together with shareholders and partners. So it makes sense for things to work in a slightly different way. But now that we are bigger, we have more room to think differently. For example, we are focusing on the further development of our own software tools for the development and distribution of our libraries. This is important for scalability and value creation. We are also looking at a new library; one with a focus on sustainability and the energy transition. A growing market that includes many MeeMaken industrial companies. Our focus is now also shifting more towards a certain type of customer. Mainly from the industrial, construction and maritime sectors. That does not mean, by the way, that we no longer help other customers!’
‘Working with both the MeeMaken companies within BeOne Development and those outside, helps us a lot. With BeOne’s positioning nearly complete, we are increasingly looking to the industrial companies for collaborations. For creating instructional materials that they in turn can use for clients, as well as using each other’s services and resources. For example, Topshore’s recruitment team or Selmers’ strong IT department. All steps and collaborations that help us grow and that we could not have taken without MeeMaken, or only with much greater difficulty.’
What are your future plans? Are there things that you guys are still going to let go of?
Natasja: ‘We are constantly letting go. I have set myself a goal of consciously “letting go” of something each week. On a professional or personal level. This makes room for new things and gives you room to grow. With BeOne Development, we are facing a big growth period anyway. Once again, we have to let go of things. For example, the kind of customers we serve: We are shifting from serving customers directly to delivering through channel partners, nationally and internationally. It will be some time before we deliver exclusively through channel partners, but it is something we are working towards. We will then become more like the production company rather than the “shop” where the products are sourced. Of course, we do still accept direct requests from companies, but we no longer actively seek this type of work.’
‘Through letting go, we have created a lot of space and are experiencing tremendous growth. MeeMaken helps a lot with that. By thinking along on our strategy, for example. But certainly also with financial growth support for our plans and by providing a global network. With this support and these collaborations and by daring to let go a lot, we can focus again on our mission: Using impactful learning solutions to create better everyday learning experiences for as many people in organizations as possible.’