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You’ve got to have the will to keep changing 

Franchisee Jurian Duijzer runs the Intertoys store in Dordrecht’s city centre. His team consists of 17 employees, including his sister Angelique. Jurian, 40, lives in Papendrecht with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time, he is a goalkeeping coach and President of the junior section for the VV Dechtstreek football club. Jurian studied Higher Management, worked as a Manager for several major companies and served as the Sales and Marketing Director of a publishing company. He is recently appointed Chairman of the Intertoys Franchise Association.

Intertoys has been part of Jurian Duijzer’s life for 39 years. The old paper-tape calculator sitting on the desk in the small office reveals the family history. Five years ago Jurian took over the business from his father, who developed it from nothing into a flourishing store with blood, sweat and tears. 

The expertise Jurian acquired in his corporate career prior to the takeover has turned out to be invaluable to his work as an independent entrepreneur. Jurian: ‘Putting other people first is something I’ve really had to learn. As ambitious as I may be, I now realise I’m nothing without my team. I believe in my staff – they are the ambassadors of your company. That means you must invest energy in each other and have the will to keep changing.’
Just how essential change was became clear to Jurian during the recent economic crisis. ‘The crisis wasn’t all bad; it kept me on my toes. If everything is going swimmingly, there’s a risk you will start losing your edge. It’s during times of crisis that you start to scrutinise your processes and start looking for opportunities.’ For Jurian, it is essential to have the support of the holding company right behind him. ‘There are three regional managers in the Netherlands who are available to assist and support franchisees. They help you to manage the format effectively and their role is crucial. They support you, for example, with negotiations on the building you are leasing and help provide solutions when sales are slack. They are always there for you when you’re stuck. And that does happen from time to time. I certainly take advantage of the opportunity; I can always pick up the phone and call my contact.’

Jurian does not regard the fact that independent franchisees need to follow the format rules as a restriction, but rather as a source of opportunities. ‘As an entrepreneur, you need to have an interest in Blokker Holding. The sheer amount of knowhow and ambition you find among people there is really inspiring. Something like Nextail, which is an important development in the industry, is really something to be grateful for. As the Chairman of the Franchise Association, I like to explain to employees how important omnichannel retailing is for us. Sure, you have to stay true to the format – you opened the franchise for a reason, and the holding company has the expertise you need. But I absolutely have input of my own as well. Look at it this way: Intertoys is the framework and if you do your best everything will fit within that framework. The holding company is responsible for purchasing and marketing and for defining the total identity. This enables me to focus completely on my customers, which gives me the freedom I need to excel as an entrepreneur within the parameters given. For example, I get to order a small quantity of my own products, which is very important given the fact that local needs change constantly. I also have the freedom to manage my social media the way I want. Sure, we are given certain guidelines, but I remain responsible for my own sales and staffing policy. What matters is that I have a strong organisation behind me, which is certainly the case.’