People are at their best when they use their talents-when they are doing what they are good at. But how can you manage this as a company? The six employees and freelancers of &Talent in Groningen have their own ideas about that. Ideas in which NOM saw something and wanted to invest. "Together we have given a new impetus to our field."
The company, which started in early 2010 under the name &Talent, wanted to give a whole new impetus to the field of Human Resource Development, with a focus on talent development. "That topic was still quite new at that time," says owner Gerdy Geersing. "And we also wanted to implement all kinds of innovations. For example, with innovative methods in books but also online, combining good content with a fun and light-hearted design. For this we needed money. We approached several publishers, but they were reluctant. They thought our plans were too ambitious. "
To a higher level
And ambitious they are at &Talent. Advice, workshops, trainings, tests and the development of (online) talent tools, no means are left unused to take talent development to a higher level. Gerdy: "Within our industry, there already existed several agencies that dealt with personal and career development, but not many companies that took an innovative and broad approach. That's what we wanted, but how do you do that as a company? Where do you start when you're just starting out?"
Substantiation and enthusiasm
&Talent's search for a financier ended with NOM. "At the time, we had been looking for some time for companies that help entrepreneurs get ahead. Online, we ended up at NOM. 'Too ambitious' turned out to be as absent from their dictionary as it was from ours. They saw our innovations as something positive. I think our thorough substantiation and enthusiasm helped with that, even though we were a maverick among the many tech companies."
Initially, for Gerdy and her colleagues, NOM sounded like too big a name. "As if only very large and age-old companies could apply there." Nothing could be further from the truth. "Size, fortunately, is not what matters. Innovation: that's what NOM is looking at. The critical questions we sometimes got were sometimes awkward. 'How will you continue to develop? How do you see the future?' But they did get us thinking about our services and products."
Saved a lot of time
Not only financial support was important to &Talent. "Of course that got us off to a flying start and that was very nice. But in addition to that, NOM has always thought along and supported us with all kinds of practical advice. For example, about making liquidity forecasts or putting our activities under one name. Their knowledge of entrepreneurship has saved us a lot of time."
We were an outlier among all the techies
Talent in map
The book by &Talent caught on. And so did the online tool with which employees within organizations can map out their own talents. Meanwhile, the three owners - Gerdy, Jan-Kees van Loon and Geert-Jan Geersing - have already set their sights on the future. "We want to develop further as a company. We are still paying off NOM and even after that they will remain an important sparring partner.
Entrepreneurs have one thing in common
Whether Gerdy has any tips for other businesses in a similar situation? Yes she does. "As entrepreneurs, we have one thing in common ... when we have something in our heads, it happens. But don't be hasty and look carefully at the terms. What will it cost and what will it deliver? At &Talent we have had good experiences with NOM, but sometimes there are simpler or more advantageous solutions such as a loan from the bank. Above all, look at your own goals and expectations and make sure the funding fits these. A good story of your own helps.