FT Journalistiek is the name under which Frans Tilstra has been working for the last 15 years as
a creative copywriter, market researcher and business developer.
My first ever job right after college in Utrecht, The Netherlands was as a consultant advising organisations on how to make sensible management decisions based on their own available data. I have never stopped doing this since, albeit in different occupations and using different sources of data. The last six years I have been consulting SME’s on doing business fair and sustainably in international markets, primarily East-Africa. Prior to that I worked for 8 years as a research journalist and interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in many different markets. I believe important decisions in any company – albeit on product development, sourcing or marketing – should be based on thorough research of any available facts and figures, not on hunches.
Lean, Agile, Scrum or whatever you want to call it, the importance of taking small steps forward, analysing results after every move and learning continuously has been recognized in many different economic fields. The time of making important business decisions ‘on a hunch’ (and being proud of it) has gone. If you’re still running your company on nothing but your own intuition, you’re missing out on a whole lot of interesting information that many of your competitors are making good use of. The first thing that springs to mind is using open data to analyse market demand. Google is a good source of such data, but not many people know how to appreciate the richness of it. It is this kind of information that I use to help SME’s to tap into promising but underserviced markets, instead of going through the pain of creating totally new ones that might not yield the expected results. In my experience, it’s the shortest and most fun route to lasting success.