Paco Horse Products

As an entrepreneur, you are often on your own. A sparring partner who occasionally gives his unvarnished opinion can then be very nice. So when entrepreneur Pascal Klein Kalvenhaar heard about the sounding board programme of Entrepreneurs Soundboard, he did not hesitate for a moment. He contacted advisor Paul and it clicked immediately.

Pascal had many ideas and a lot on his mind, so he thought it would be good to get an unvarnished opinion from someone else. Someone who asks, “Did you do this? Did you factor that into your decision?” He was missing that a bit. He contacted Entrepreneurs Soundboard because the marketer he worked with had good experiences with it.

Pascal started Paco Horse Products back in 2013. He did this alongside his job. From 2016, Pascal decided to focus on Paco Horse Products full-time. He enjoys being an entrepreneur; “there is a lot involved and what I like best of all is when a large project is completed and I see at the delivery that everything is right and fits together. The customer did what he had to do and I did what I had to do. Together we stand and look at the result with a broad smile. Then we take pictures with the photographer for the website. That’s the icing on the cake.”

The sounding board process, under the guidance of former entrepreneur Paul, made Pascal think about a number of issues, which he would otherwise have been too quick to ignore in the delusion of the day. Think of insurance matters, but also margin technicalities, annual accounts and so on. As a result, he himself started looking at his business differently. This also applies to the parties Pascal works with. Adviser Paul lets him look at different options and so they are constantly at sparring. In the end, he lets him make the choice himself, but he gets extra input. Pascal: “This way, I start looking at my own decisions from different angles. Because of his enormous experience, he can help me tremendously.”

Because Pascal considers himself quite impulsive, he has to accelerate and keep going by himself. Through contact with Paul, he thinks longer about his decision or consciously waits to make a decision so that he can discuss it with Paul. Whether that is about buying a company car or something else. He goes through the consideration carefully and looks at what is involved and is happy that Paul comes up with good ideas on how to flesh out a decision.”

Consequently, this has made Pascal much more thoughtful now and more critical of the parties he works with. For instance, he now works more with contracts and records agreements more often. In this, Paul is a good thinker. Paul lets him develop a long-term vision.”

Consultant Paul indicated that Pascal is a very good person and sometimes too good. He advised him to be tough sometimes too. Furthermore, they spar a lot about the facets involved in doing business. This ranges from procurement, finance, strategy, short-term and long-term to sales.

What has advice been most helpful so far?

Pascal replies, “I find it important to work with people with whom I enjoy and feel comfortable. Over the past two years, I have had to make difficult decisions. I made agreements with people, in which the supplier did not fulfil its agreements and left me hanging. I did everything I could to rectify the situation. It took me an immense amount of effort to say goodbye to that party. Anyone else would have no trouble there, because that supplier simply screwed up. I really stand by the relationship I entered into with someone. A partnership means we both show our best side and set something up together. With Paul, I naturally talk about this. Situations like this make me more cautious. He makes me realise that there are more possibilities. There are more suppliers to work with.

On the other hand, I also think my loyalty is my strength, which I have built up over the past 20 years in the business. Clients stick with me. I think I have a high favour factor. I am open and honest. Customers always deal with me directly. If something goes wrong, I fix it. I sort it out.”

Pascal especially recommends a sounding board process to sole traders. This is because the company is then looked at from a different angle. An outsider looks along from a distance and therefore has relevant insights, which the entrepreneur himself does not or not quickly realises. By sparring with an outsider, the entrepreneur becomes more aware of his business.

Mentor: Paul Schunselaar
Entrepreneur: Pascal Klein Kalvenhaar
Company: Paco Horse Products