Try to surround yourself with your own weaknesses

As a little boy, Bart Balis (SME Excellence, 2005) dreamed of becoming a pilot. Instead, he became an entrepreneur − and although he’s not flying an airplane today, his company is really going places.

Bart is the CEO of Brouwland, an international wholesaler of home-brewing and wine-making equipment. Bart entered the company (which had been started by his father) at age 18 − and because he had started out so young, he went to Vlerick to learn all about managing and professionalising a business.

Bart Balis: “In a nutshell, I never would have been able to realise my business dream without Vlerick. Our SME was growing and we needed to establish an international marketing and sales strategy, keep our financials up-to-date, and create a cohesive middle-management team.”

“One of the biggest advantages of the SME Excellence programme is the high-level exchange of experiences. In every single session, I gained important insights into management and finance. I saw that I needed to develop my mid- to long-term financial strategy − and that’s been key to our growth and stability.”

Key message:
“I could give you loads of tips! The most important: try to surround yourself with your own weaknesses − that is, hire in competencies that you yourself don’t have.”

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