Frans van Vijfeijken
An active entrepreneur who has a highly developed instinct.
“Where does my time yield the best results?”
Seeing as Frank van Vijfeijken is the co-owner of Van Vijfeijken Import and Export of Trucks, real estate developer, and investor in e.g. ICT start-ups, he’s the epitome of a self-made successful entrepreneur. He’s always searching for change and responds to it. He reads a lot about innovators and other people’s development. Moreover, he sees opportunity where others see obstacles. And that’s what makes him a successful entrepreneur. He’s very proud of what he and his father have achieved in business thus far, but he says he’s far from finished.
In addition to his busy entrepreneurships that requires him to regularly go on ad hoc trips to foreign countries, Frank is also a family man. He’s been together with his partner for more than six years and he’s a proud father of two very sweet daughters and his beautiful son is the latest addition to the family.
A commercial spirit at an early age.
During his teenage years, Frans was busy buying up run-down mopeds, fixing them up and reselling them, regardless of not having a driver’s license.
And earlier, at the age of eight, Frans’ grandparents took him on a trip to Spain. One morning, his grandfather asked him if he could get some bread from the bakery. When he returned with the bread, Frans was allowed to keep the change. He liked that a lot, so the next day little Frans asked if he should go to the bakery again. And during the remaining days of their holiday, he’d get bread for more and more fellow campers. He kept pennies and other small coins inside a jar, and by the end of the holiday he’d collected more than 85 gulden (Dutch currency before Euro). He wanted to use this money to buy very nice New Balance sneakers. However, these were then sold for 125 gulden, but his grandfather said he’d pay the rest because Frans had worked so hard for them. Not only was this a nice reward for Frans, but it also strengthened his early commercial spirit.
‘Veemarkt’ in Utrecht, the start of car trade.
Frans’ father was a car (and van) dealer. So, he’d visit the Veemarkt in Utrecht – the epicentre of both national and international car trade – weekly. Frans regularly joined his father and hence he’s always been sort of an entrepreneur.
After secondary education, Frans went to the IVA in Driebergen. Given the car trade that he grew up with, this seemed inevitable. But his goal was not just becoming a successful car dealer, he wanted more than that. It was too soon to know what his future would be like, but he was sure he wanted something new rather than being bound to work for his father’s company.
And that was for the better, because Frans’ father and uncle ran their business together and they each had different ideas for future developments of their company. His uncle didn’t think Frans was suitable for the company, so Frans chose to let his father and uncle finish what they started without interfering.
Frans graduated cum laude from the IVA Driebergen. After that, he started a commercial job at a company that’s specialised in special steering, suspension and suspension systems for trailers. He was responsible for activities on the German market. Hence, he soon gained a lot of international experience.
At another stage in life, Frans worked for an Opel dealer to set up a revitalised sales department for company cars. Simultaneously, the Opel Movano (van) was introduced. In the foreseeable future, Frans had set up a well-running sales department. Not only a successful result, but also a special achievement at such a relatively young age.
Do you want to play a bigger game?
Definitely in the family business.
The year 2000 marks the moment when Frans’ father and uncle split up on business as a consequence of the different roads of thinking. Thus, Frans’ father continued alone after a buy-out.
For Frans, this meant he’d permanently join his father’s company. And henceforth he’s involved in the daily business that goes on there. His father had a more conservative lookout, but Frans was always looking for change and new possibilities.
Focus on special offers.
Van Vijfeijken’s range of products soon changed rapidly, because more and more business relations demanded delivery vans and, regularly, trucks.
The process of purchasing used cars – both nationally and internationally – went smoothly for Frans. Hence his father gave him more and more space to run business and make important decisions for their company.
Mainly because Frans also considered the presentation of potential sales to be very important. This was something his father paid less attention to. But now the company grew rapidly. In addition to trucks, more and more ‘specials’ (vehicles) were purchased and then resold.
Now, Van Vijfeijken is also active on many foreign markets. In 2014, Frans took over a business that supplies trucks and cranes in Spain. This business was going through a tough time and Frans wanted to help the owners (father and daughter) to bounce back. So, not only is Frans a successful entrepreneur, he’s also a people person. All staff (25) were offered a contract at the Van Vijfeijken company – a way out of the Spanish business that went bankrupt. Frank stopped the downfall of the Spanish business. “If there’s no potential, then we must make the decision to stop immediately, and not let the energy and investment flow away”, says Frank. But Frank’s help allowed the Spanish business to grow back their potential for success.
Real estate development.
Today, Van Vijfeijken Import and Export of trucks is a key player on the international market of ‘specials’, trucks provided with a crane, mobile cranes, concrete pumps, concrete mixers and other heavy trucks and trailers. Nothing’s too special for Van Vijfeijken. They know how to find quality within and outside Europe. Many countries worldwide have become an important market for sales.
Seeing as Frans purchased the business’ plot of land from its landlord about 20 years ago, there’s no doubt that Frans wants more than just the process of purchasing and reselling special trucks. They have now built up an extensive real estate portfolio. Several plots of land have been added to the business park in Son en Breugel, hence the business has recently moved to a more spacious location that was also purchased as real estate. “Real estate is part of my future plan”, says Frank. It creates so many opportunities for my entrepreneurship and I love to develop business and set up plans that can be successful.
Investing in start-ups.
Frans is well-aware of his own growth and ambitions for entrepreneurship. This is also the reason why – in recent years – he has been investing in ICT-oriented start-ups that are run by mostly young developers. “If there’s a good plan, I’m more than happy to invest so that it can become reality. Of course, I’m aware of the risks. Hence, I don’t focus on just one developing business, but multiple. It drives me to support new business plans and innovations.
Don’t delay but make decisions faster!
Nils’ coaching has given Frans a positive outlook to the future. It helped him clarify not only his goals for business, but also his plans for his personal life. First, he would often delay setting such goals. This has changed a lot since he started the coaching sessions with Nils. I no longer delay making decisions, I always take immediate action. I am confident about the decisions I make in business as well as my personal life and this helps me to organise my days better. I can determine where my time would yield the best results. This also helps me to trust the good people around me more and more.
I am constantly looking for good people who can keep up with the growth that we are experiencing, and people who can make a contribution to our development.
Be self-critical and find the will to improve.
Frans’ self-critical attitude has laid foundations for the astounding development of both his business and personal life. He is not easily satisfied with what he achieves, and he has a strong desire for self-improvement.
Frans follows a very idiosyncratic schedule, but he is always open to criticism from others – mostly because of his lust for new challenges and success. From a small boy who went to get bread from the bakery for his grandfather, Frans has grown into an innovative and successful entrepreneur who is far from finishes – as he says himself!
“Do not delay making decisions. Take action!”
Anything you ever wanted
you either have it, or you weren't willing to do what was required to get it.
"First say to yourself what you would be.
And then do what you have to do."
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."