In early 2021, we had announced a new addition to Wonderflow Board of Directors, Jan Bennink. Now in a newly released interview with the former Advisory-Board-member, we get a better idea of who Bennink is. More importantly, why he has taken a more strategic seat at our table and how his extensive leadership experience in mostly FMCG and CPG will help shape Wonderflow.
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
I would say driven, direct, passionate, a perfectionist, and an optimist.
What is the favorite aspect of your career?
I am working with people, creating a vision, and motivating the team to achieve results.
What are some of your hobbies, favorite foods, and sports?
I love to travel and discover new worlds and cultures. Tennis is my absolute favorite sport, and for food, I love pizza and pasta!
What are the biggest challenges a Board member faces? Can you tell us about one?
The biggest challenge for a Board member is to know enough about the business to add value without becoming too operational.
What is the difference between the board of directors for big companies, such as Coca-Cola, European Partners, and a scale-up like Wonderflow?
These are clearly very different roles. In bigger, more mature companies, the company is in a more established flow. The mission is clear, and strategies have been established. The board role is fundamentally one of oversight.
In a scale-up, on the other hand, there are lots more things to discuss and discover. You are creating the future continuously; it is a very dynamic process. The role of a board member is to work with management to provide counsel, guidance and act as a sounding board, which is very exciting.
What do you think will be the impact of your experience on Wonderflow?
I hope that with my experience of having managed many businesses in different parts of the world and having seen various stages of a business’s life cycle, I can help Wonderflow reach its fullest potential, which is enormous.
What are your ambitions, and what do you see in Wonderflow’s future?
I think the sky’s the limit for Wonderflow. Wonderflow is unique because it can provide consumer feedback in a very simple way and help to give clear indicated actions on how to improve a product or service.
Wonderflow answers a long-standing need for good and reliable consumer data. Plus, the fact that Wonderflow can get the critical data on one page is easy to access, making it a perfect tool for product improvement.
There are so many more exciting things we will be able to do with this tool, such as discovering consumer trends and making predictions. Wonderflow is only at the beginning!
Also, that is the reason why I invested in the company; these kinds of innovations do not happen often enough.
Can you share any examples from your previous experiences where insights from customer feedback significantly impacted the business strategy?
As I have worked my entire career in FMCG, the consumer is absolutely key in that market. You are constantly looking to improve your product and to outshine the competition. You spend enormous time and money on consumer research.
My biggest example is the development of Actimel, which resulted from finding out clearly that consumers were looking for a product that helps to strengthen their immune system.
What made you believe that Wonderflow has what it takes to succeed?
When I was first confronted with Wonderboard, I was so intrigued by its simplicity and the information it provided that I was “sold.” Combined with the enthusiasm of the founders makes it truly a “win-win.”
What would be the advice you’d give to a young entrepreneur?
Follow your dreams, do not give up.
You will go through many ups and downs. Make sure you create a strong team around you with people you can trust and compensate for your own “shortcomings.”
Be extremely demanding, but stay fair and open at all times.
Treat your people like you like to be treated.
From FMCG to B2B AI-based customer feedback analysis at Wonderflow: what are the most valuable lessons you’ve brought with you?
The consumer/customer is key and the way to grow your business.