Start with a problem
During his studies at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Habets was already active as an entrepreneur. He made his entry into the logistics sector not with the intention of eventually starting a business, but to identify a major problem in a large market. Habets: “I just jumped into the deep end. Above all, you learn by doing: You can’t foresee all the mistakes and you have to embrace them.” It turned out to be a major hit.
Build the right team for every stage of growth
Shypple’s organisational and human resources strategy has played a critical role in business growth. “Each growth phase requires different qualities; you need other people to grow from 0 to 1 and others to go from 100 to 200,” says Habets. “As an entrepreneur, it is important to be aware of which growth phase your company is in; depending on that, you need to choose a different strategy. The first phase requires generalists and builders. The second phase, people who can put in place an organisational structure and process. The third phase, talents who can manage growing teams well.’’ Now, in their current phase, Shypple hires experts, who excel in one field, and, in this way, builds out the C-level management. Despite the current shortage on the labour market, Shypple still knows how to find the right staff. “To be able to attract young innovative talent, you have to know how to speak the language of 2022 and offer the right motivations,” says Habets. For example, Shypple consciously responds to the wishes of young people, especially in the field of secondary employment conditions: flexible working at home and in other locations, a sabbatical to be able to travel, and offering shares of the company. Therefore, young talent nowadays opts more often for startups and scaleups instead of ‘corporates’.
Dare to sail through the storm
The first months of COVID-19 were challenging times for Shypple when factories and ports in China closed — the main export country for Shypple’s customers. At first COVID-19 was a burden, but it later opened new doors as customers had to work from home. The online platform is a win-win model for both clients and brokers: it puts an end to labour-intensive mail traffic, which is also outdated, drastically reducing personnel costs. In addition, it delivers efficient, real-time information to customers. Nevertheless, the aftermath of COVID-19 still weighs heavily on the industry due to the bidding game for available containers, caused by a hick-up in the chain, which brought the flow to a standstill. Despite the turbulent times, Shypple continued to grow by walking in seven-league boots as Habets dared to go ahead and further expand his organisation.
In the early years, Shypple had the ambitious goal of growing by more than 20% every month, which they achieved with flying colours. For the future, global impact is central to realising strategic growth, with the aim of around 100 to 150 percent per year. Shypple’s mission is to increase access to international trade for everyone, no matter where you come from in the world. Habet’s ultimate dream is for Shypple to go public on the stock market, with an IPO. However, he is not in a hurry and knows that he needs to calibrate the right steps for the future. Successful entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint.