'Starting to Quit' in practice

Business Case Nooteboom Trailers

After I researched the personal and emotional aspects of selling and transferring a company and the development of the 'Starting to Quit' program, I met Henk Nooteboom for the first time by the end of 2002. He was, like me, the fourth generation owner/managing director of the family business, Nooteboom Trailers in Wijchen. Henk was ready to turn over his company to somebody who isn't a member of the Nooteboom family, recruited by the board of commissioners.

Henk is one of the few entrepreneurs I have ever met who knew he needed guidance to make the deal a success. We developed an inspiring cooperation in which I serve as an intermediary between Henk, the board of commissioners, and the successor. 'Should Henk become a member of the board of commissioners?', 'Who will assist the new owner?', 'How do we plan the transfer process?', were some of the questions we dealt with in this business case. I worked with Henk for eighteen months and we developed a strong bond. Since Henk's situation was almost similar to my own situation at Smals B.V., even though Nooteboom Trailers was a much bigger company, I recognized the stages of the entire process even better. The preparation, the transfer, and having to let go, especially the latter, will pose a challenge for almost any entrepreneur.

This assignment affirmed the outcome of my research. With this business case, I started a new chapter in my career becoming a business consultant and coach. I created a market for a new concept in those days: 'Starting to Quit', a program that focuses entirely on the personal and emotional aspects of business acquisitions, transfers, and succession.