Customer in the spotlight: success entrepreneur John Jansen

Dutchman John Jansen must be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the low countries over the past two decades. A good twenty-seven years ago he founded DynaFix, a repair company with an innovative vision of screening, repairing and overhauling phones. It would set the tone for dozens of similar projects that the South Limburg native then subsumed under the name “DynaGroup. In no time, the organization grew to become the Benelux market leader in smart integrated services and solutions for the total supply chain. In 2019, Jansen sold his last company: it was time for a well-deserved sabbatical. And for a book. That we were allowed to print. In tête-bêche still.

“Feel free to interrupt me if I digress too much. My brain sometimes works faster than I want it to, and then my words also dare to shoot in all directions.” John Jansen has to laugh about it himself. As driven as he is as an entrepreneur, he is so enthusiastic and open in life. “Anyway, that chaotic thing is actually also my great gift,” he continues. “My head manages to make connections that others don’t see. As a result, I come up with unexpected ideas and solutions. You know, my childhood was pretty tough. As a child I learned to shut myself off from that difficult environment and create my own world. From a young age, I had to find my own way. To cope with my problems, I came up with all kinds of crazy solutions. I later applied that approach and way of thinking to different industries.”

“My brain is a turbulent thing, but it helps me see solutions that others are often blind to”

Smart process improver

As “crazy” as his ideas may be, as an entrepreneur John Jansen is extremely thoughtful. Feel free to call the Dutchman a serial entrepreneur: over the past twenty-seven years, he successfully stomped more than twenty companies out of the ground in a variety of sectors. In all, he employed a good 10,000 people during that time and raked in numerous awards. In addition to repairs of smartphones, laptops and coffee machines, among others, DynaGroup also provides logistics services, offers IT, insurance and healthcare solutions and installs products such as televisions, washing machines and printers in people’s homes and offices.

“And say it all started with a heady idea in my garage sometime in the early 1990s,” Jansen looks back. “I was repairing medical equipment at the time. At a certain point I thought: if I can do this, I can also repair phones. About forty percent of the products sold broke down during that period. Moreover, the repairs took an incredibly long time. So I came up with a solution to repair phones faster – within 48 hours – and to optimize the entire logistics involved. Later I did the same with coffee makers. Then with laptops, drones, and so on. Each time, the approach was the same: I saw a problem in the market and looked for a solution. Then I brought together the right people to realize that idea, which translated into the improvement of numerous processes and the development of new supply chain concepts.”

Tête-bêche book

Just before corona, John Jansen sold his last company. After decades of grueling work, sometimes up to 80 hours a week, he needed a rest. “My work had become a kind of drug to deal with the difficulties of the past,” he confesses. “By working unrestrained a lot, I suppressed that pain. I always felt that way anyway. After selling my businesses, I needed a period of reflection. I wanted to re-energize. Over time, I started writing things down. What had happened to me over the years. What was good and what wasn’t. During covid, that gained momentum. I talked to a lot of young people who were struggling with themselves, their jobs, their businesses. It gave me the idea to compile my experiences in a book. Because by bringing all those separate stories together, maybe I could help others?”

Jansen hired a ghostwriter and compiled his life story with some 30 practical examples for entrepreneurs. We then translated that duality as a printer into a book in tête-bêche or reverse printing: the bio-text starts at the “front”, the tips and tricks start at the “back,” so that the final pages of both pieces face each other in the middle of the book.

“On the one hand, I tell my story, with my own anecdotes, but also with input from partners, employees and clients. If you then turn the book over, you discover thirty life lessons. The biggest message here is that business doesn’t actually have to be difficult. You have to believe in what you are doing and then give space and shape to your imagination. This is not always obvious, but at some point you will get there. Don’t get stuck on things that don’t work out. Try again and again if necessary.”

“Don’t get stuck on things that don’t work out. Try again and again if necessary.”

Strong corporate culture

1,000 copies of the book have been printed, but Jansen is already thinking of multiplying that print run. “I’m really impressed with the work done,” he says. “Not only from the quality of the printing, but also from everything around it. I visited a number of printing companies. At Buroform I had the best feeling: I saw people who are eager to deliver a top product. It is a young and fun team that works proactively and fulfills all agreements. I find a lot of myself in that way of working. The culture in my companies has always been an anchor. Your employees have to carry the values of your company, but you also have to create a framework that makes such a thing possible. People need to feel good in an organization. At Buroform, I feel that positivity and drive. There is something there, a story that every employee believes in and wants to rally behind.”