This week we're talking with Martine Teeselink in Tribes Utrecht Central Station. We don't have to search for the right office for long, because we see a well-known view, with a post-it stuck on the window! If you look at the website of Outdo, you will see a wonderful overview of the central station with a very cool slogan on a yellow note (nice to know: this is not printed, but handwritten by Martine!), and exactly that is the view of Martine and Karen.
Together with Karen van Riel, who is currently busy with a phone call, Martine founded Outdo four years ago. Martine: 'We help entrepreneurs in the industry, IT and technology fields to bring their marketing and sales activities to a higher strategic level a. We offer an intensive program of one year, in which entrepreneurs (often CEOs and directors) follow workshops, and in which we give them advice. Martine and Karen offer these entrepreneurs, in addition to specialist knowledge, very practical tools: 'We have, for example, sales scripts for the first conversations, but also templates for articles, the preparation of trade fairs, and so on. We've got so much that I can't even list it anymore!’
What’s special about the ladies of Outdo is that they are not 'hourly bill' advisors, who often leave you on your own after a period of time with a beautiful PowerPoint, or a huge advisory report. You still can’t get started, since you don’t have the knowledge you need. Martine continues: ‘We help companies to they can deal with matters themselves at the end of the program. We have weekly contact with our customers, in order to find their real problems, and to give them an advice’.
Martine and Karen have a special history. ‘Before we started with Outdo, we didn't know each other at all! We were both on a network event, when Karen indicated in that she would like to start her own business. She had read somewhere that companies founded with more than one person are more successful. I spoke to the same man later, and he 'dragged' me along to Karen. We had a connection, and from that moment we started brainstorming. Karen has a strong sales background, and I worked for a software company as a project manager. When we started with Outdo, our focus was on communication, hospitality and customer service. In order to bring our company to the attention and to attract customers, we have started to follow marketing studies ourselves. We soon found out that our clients were looking for that very same knowledge, and since then we offered marketing in our workshops as well’, says Martine.
About a year ago Martine and Karen moved to Tribes. Martine says they were on an 'office safari' 2 years ago: 'We rented an own office, but it was very quiet. I like to have people walking around when I’m working, but Karen likes the peace and quiet. We visited almost all the offices in Utrecht but couldn't find a good place to work. When our contract almost expired again, I decided to look once more for another office. By chance I came across the - then - new Tribes Utrecht Central Station, and convinced Karen to go and see one more location. When we came here, I felt like I was in a dream office: glass walls, bright spaces and people around everywhere. I love the fact that there are people walking back and forth in the corridor, while you can sit in your own closed, quiet office'.
Martine does not feel like she’s 100% business nomad, but she makes optimal use of the flexible workspaces. ‘This week I started writing a book: Marketing for complex technical products. I write a few hours every day, and I like to get out of my normal ‘flow’ for a while, so I’ll go and sit downstairs in the flexible workspace area. It’s also getting busier at this Tribes location, and I really like that!