Jarik Oosting From Smartranking.nl 'I undertake mainly on intuition'
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Jarik Oosting of SmartRanking 'I undertake mainly on intuition'

Already at fourteen, Jarik Oosting started his first business: selling tropical fish. He built the accompanying website himself. That "trick" landed him his first job at a web development agency when he was sixteen, where he expanded his knowledge and skills for several years. Until, at nineteen, he decided to start his own business.

Oosting registered his company SmartRanking with the Chamber of Commerce and easily marketed his expertise in search engine optimization while still a student. He is now 3.5 years and many adventures later. Oosting recounts. Among other things, about the funding process that didn't become a funding process.

'Money is not my motivation'

'Of course money is important to me. I have to pay my employees, as well as fixed expenses and, of course, support myself, preferably so that I can also do fun things. But money is not my motivation. My motivation is that I am really building something. That my company is growing, that we can help our customers so well, that my colleagues are having fun. Then when I see a branch of our customers along the way, it becomes very tangible,' Oosting says. 'I could make a lot more money with my background in Information Science if I had made other choices, but this is what I enjoy most.'

Search engine marketing as a key success factor

So Oosting's stated growth ambition last year was not based on wanting to make more money. He wanted to be able to offer his expertise to more and more companies to help them grow. 'Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is an incredibly important success factor for businesses. But also complicated to fathom. A good SEO strategy addresses several facets: technology, content and authority of the website.

You have to know what you are doing to really get higher in search engines. There are also constant changes in the algorithms that determine positions," Oosting said. That is why he recently chose to really focus entirely on SEO with SmartRanking. Earlier, SmartRanking performed a number of other online marketing activities, which are now no longer actively sold to clients.

Focus as a growth strategy

This choice was exciting, but paid off almost immediately. Oosting: 'This is what we are best at, this is what we like best, this is where we really add value. Moreover, we are now much more interesting as a cooperation partner for marketing agencies, because now we are never their competitor. It was a really important lesson to have a clear focus. Since then, we have also been growing faster.

The choice for focus did not come completely out of the blue. Oosting already felt that something had to change, but concluded what exactly after conversations with his business coach and during the funding process with Flinc. "I find a coach very valuable. I have no partners and although my colleagues are honest and open enough to address me when I do something clumsy: I don't directly discuss strategic issues with them. That's why I like having someone to look with me and be critical of the choices I make or the considerations I have.'

Looking for growth money

Oosting came in contact with Flinc last year when he thought it was time to make a growth spurt. "I thought: if I want to become a serious party, I need clout, especially financially. So funding made sense to me. I envisioned that I could then give sales a big boost by hiring sales and account managers, then scaling up in people to incoming work. After a round of research, I saw that Flinc assists in that kind of process.' They then worked together to formulate funding needs and a business plan. A valuable process, Oosting says. I didn't have a business plan at all and putting everything on paper for once was an important and instructive process. Flinc is knowledgeable and honest, exactly what you need as an entrepreneur.'

Funding pressure

SmartRanking turned out to run so well that Oosting easily qualified for funding. In fact, the offer was already there. But the conclusion of the process with Flinc showed: no funding was needed at all. With the new positioning, Smart-Ranking was perfectly able to grow on its own and that route had important advantages for Oosting. 'First of all, I find the contact with our clients very valuable and fun to maintain myself. In addition, funding also means extra responsibility and pressure. Now I have all the reins myself, only my own money is in the company, which gives freedom and flexibility. Our growth should be a result of hard work and excellent service to our customers where happy employees are most important to me. This feels like a strategy that suits me better and I can still fulfill my ambitions.'

Just so on

Oosting names it more often: his feelings, his intuition. When it comes to employees, for example. He quickly senses whether someone fits into the team. He also finds a click with clients very important: "Sometimes you feel right away that it is not a match. That a client doesn't trust you or that it doesn't feel right on a personal level. These days I say no to that. I operate mainly on intuition.

Of course numbers are important, but they are never all-encompassing. A gut feeling is sometimes more relevant than forecasts or an amount below the line. This strategy has brought me a lot so far, so I'm just going to continue like this.

Click here for the SmartRanking website.

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