Reflections after five years Timpoc Consultants – Klaas Molenaar (January 2019)

More than years ago I founded Timpoc Consultants. And we have learned a lot.

The basis of our success? 

Our passion.

We succeeded in setting up an international network company primarily focused on promoting inclusive finance and inclusive entrepreneurship. We know what we talk about, and we have done so with passion. Most certainly that passion is the key of our success. 

All our members of this virtual set up not only know what they talk about, they like their work! They like to cross border s of imagination, to leave the beaten path, Consultant for Timpoc want to be sure that their work will eventually be to the benefit of enterprising people in our society. Not to prepare a report, but to generate real results. 

A virtual or physical set up for a consultancy company? 

Loose, but internally strong set up.  

We operate in a virtual, fluid way, without physical infrastructure. No offices, no permanent – support – staff, no professionals on the pay-roll. Indeed, quite a learning process. We know now much more how to handle this. 

Certain functions need to be organized very precisely: Administrative support and accounting require clear (and strict) arrangements with third parties. Too easily a fact that is overlooked. We were lucky that we could enter into several subcontracting arrangements with other small entrepreneurs to render such services. 

Thirdly the network of existing and new clients needs to be developed constantly. Yes, you can send out regularly messages to all contacts in a mailing list. But the chance that they will read your message is slim, and it is too optimistic to think that they will (re)act immediately. They might recall you when need arises, but do not count on it.  That is why spend much time on personal contacts. 

The major lesson: virtual is nice but you always need that face-to-face contact at any time with a variety of persons: the support organizations, the potential clients and most of all with the colleagues. You cannot just rely on digi-communication … you need the direct contact, the smile, the raising of an eyebrow and the challenging questions to be answered on the spot in order not to lose the intellectual momentum. That brings about the necessary spirit, critical attitude and innovative mind in the company.

Why not on your own?

Consultants are loners, who do not want to work alone.

Stubborn persons, not easily to be linked to an organization in a structural way. They (pre)tend to know what they want, have their own ideas. Of course, they like to stay in personal contact with others, but they do not necessarily need a permanent – employment- relation with a company. They like long-lasting relations and over time you learn with whom you can work.

we know that it pays off to be a specialist in your field. We work indeed with small teams of specialists. Preferably with professionals familiar with actual place of work, the country / region we are supplied to deliver our sevcies. That helps us not only understand the local conditions but more importantly to come up with solutions and suggestions that can be adopted rather easily. We did do in Ghana, Peru or Ethiopia. 

And you have to allow all to work on their own, emotionally tied to network, but with their own independence. Allowing all network members to develop their specific but very complementary expertise. And as long as people appreciate the added value to belong to the network, there is no need to formalize such. So, we continue building on the strength of the virtual network.

Inclusive entrepreneurship or inclusive financing?

The two go hand in hand of course. 

Over the years we continued to concentrate on stimulating enterprising people to participate in society: inclusive entrepreneurship and financial inclusion. Clients and colleagues are quite aware of our experience those areas and seek our collaboration in variety of assignments, not only in the South, also in Europe. That also gives is the chance to plough back lessons learned; you might see that as a reversed transfer of know how South – North; and a reflection of the fact that old paradigms are not valid anymore. 

What is new at all?

Society changes fast and calls for innovative services.

Changes in our society call for new ways of enterprising and changes within people lead to a new way of looking at employment and entrepreneurship. Diversity, mobility and connectivity offer new opportunities for enterprising people. Traditional focus on entrepreneurship is subject to change as well and calls for new forms of entrepreneurship. 

With less focus on life-long (self)-employment people can now combine work with self-employment, or opt for part time entrepreneurship. New forms of enterprising emerge with the hybrid one probably becoming more common in our modern society. And new forms of financing are required as well. We have been one of the frontrunners in this field with our network members continuously bringing in new ideas to consider. Something to be proud of indeed.