Into the deep...
In March of 2005, my advisors in the Smals B.V. rescue operation asked me to help them out with a construction business in serious trouble. The owner couldn't oversee the process of business recovery and I took over part of his work. Again, this meant a new chapter in my career; together with my old friend Taco Hendriksz I entered the field of restructuring and business recovery.

Business Case Restructuring and Business Recovery

I know Taco Hendriksz from elementary school. He went to a polytech for a degree in economics, then studied law and became a financial specialist for several major organizations. By the end of 2004, we met again when I returned to Smals B.V. to pick up the pieces. He just resigned as CFO from a real estate company and offered to help. It was the beginning of an intensive working relationship which will last through 2010, and for Taco it was a stepping stone to becoming an independent financial-legal consultant. His great talent is not only his ability to stick to a plan, but also to get behind a computer at the onset of a project and sort out the messy finances in no time. I trust his accounting blindly which allows me to focus completely on the organization and its restructuring. Our cooperation is best characterized by hands-on, roll up your sleeves and move forward.

In March of 2005, my advisors in the Smals B.V. rescue operation asked me to help them out with a construction business in trouble. They want me to stand by the owner who can't seem to get a grasp on the emerging events. To recover the business, he needed to start over again. Improper investments brought the company down: he went into container construction while the market was declining, and neglected his core business.

I visited the company together with my business partner Taco Hendriksz who will take on the financial part of the equation. We made a business plan to reboot the company, leaving behind the container division and shifting the focus completely to construction. We filed for bankruptcy and presented our plan to the bankruptcy executor who was responsible for the settlement in the case. By the end of June, we had a second meeting after he spoke to the entire staff. Our conversation was very brief. A supplying company held up a large shipment of container parts due to the delay in payments, then decided to take on container construction itself and offered our entire personnel a contract with their firm.

The message was clear: 'You can start over, but there is no one left.' In addition, the social security office needed clarity before the first of July, we had two days to make up our mind. Luckily, the owner still had a prefabrication company that was good to go, so we only needed production capacity. After making some phone calls, we found enough capacity in the vicinity to outsource our construction work, and the next morning I called the bankruptcy executor to inform him of the positive outcome.

After the successful business recovery, we discover a huge construction business not far from our location. They have some office space vacant, and so we move the business, draw up contracts to outsource our construction work with them, and hire a couple of planners to coordinate the workflow. With our construction work now subcontracted and the prefabrication of the products still in our own hands, the company became very flexible and low-cost.

We restored a solid future for this company and all debts were settled in the end. For me, this was a definite new challenge in my career and many new business recovery assignments followed.

In only a couple of months, the construction company was fully recovered and continued to thrive in its core business. From here on, NovaVisie expanded its practice from acquisitions, takeovers and succession to the restructuring and recovery of businesses that are at risk of going belly up.

Business Case SVT Branding & Design Group: the restructuring

At the beginning of 2008, after the completion of the buy-out of SVT Branding & Design, and my business partner Rik van den Berg and I started participating in the company, we hit a bump in the road. Two major clients, ANB AMRO en C1000, left us and we lost significant revenue. A reorganization was inevitable. A couple of months later, I stepped back as managing director to cut the cost and our third partner Hans van de Pas would manage the restructured company by himself. Fortunately, the year 2008 closed with a small profit.

As often is the case, the loss of two major assignments turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As opposed to our fellow agencies, SVT was ready to take on the economic crisis that hit us in 2009. The wide variety of smaller clients and the reduced overhead cost helped us to survive these challenging times.