Expat Entrepreneur: Tiffany Jansen
New enterprise 'Little Broadway', which focuses on “bringing a little bit of Broadway to the Netherlands”, has got off to such a flying start that even its founder Tiffany Jansen is surprised.
Name: Tiffany Jansen
City of residence: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Name of company: Little Broadway
Date of company launch: October 2009
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going?
Little Broadway focuses on “bringing a little bit of Broadway to the Netherlands.” Currently sessions in musical theatre are being offered to students at international schools throughout the country. The programme lasts 6-12 weeks during which time students learn about dance, music and theatre. An original performance is given by the students in front of family and friends on the last day of the session. Eventually, I would like to expand to include adult classes as well as sessions in Dutch schools, both in Dutch and English as a second language programmes. Little Broadway has been growing at a very steady rate since the company opened.
What do you like about doing business in the Netherlands?
Everyone is so enthusiastic about Little Broadway because so few similar opportunities are offered in the Netherlands. Setting up my business was no trouble at all and registration at the Kamer van Koophandel (Chamber of Commerce) and the Belastingdienst (tax collector’s office) and setting up bank accounts went so smoothly. There is also an astoundingly large international/expat community in the Netherlands, which is where my current clientele comes from.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
I’ve experienced very few frustrations doing business in the Netherlands, which may simply be due to the nature of the company and the services offered. Filling out quarterly VAT (tax) forms is a bit of a pain, though having a Dutch partner to translate some of the heavy-duty vocabulary one comes across in such forms is a huge help. Having to get a new Good Behaviour Report from the Gemeente (city hall) for every school I offer the programme to is not the most convenient thing in the world. Luckily for me, all of my clients so far have been English-speaking, so I have not yet had to deal with language issues. This seems to be a frustration many expat business owners have here in the Netherlands
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
None really (knock on wood) other than the slight inconveniences listed above. Given the nature of my business, finding clients is not an issue and word of mouth is serving Little Broadway quite well. As I said before, set-up was completely headache free and done very efficiently. What I was not able to communicate in Dutch to those working in the various offices I needed to visit in order to set up the company could fill in the blanks in English. However, at the rate at which Little Broadway is being booked, I may soon have to begin hiring other Little Broadway teachers. I have a feeling the logistics of that will be a big enough hurdle!
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
I began during the crisis, so I know no different. Little Broadway’s growing success means I will soon be pushed to hire extra teachers – it almost frightens me to think of how booming business will be once we pull ourselves out of the crisis!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in the Netherlands?
Just do it! The Netherlands – from what I’ve heard and experienced – is a wonderful place to start and run a business. Most Dutch people speak excellent English and are more than willing to do so. I would recommend having everything translated into English if you do not speak Dutch so that you can really be aware of what you’re getting into and read all the fine print.
Little Broadway Logo
How does running a business in the Netherlands compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
This is my first experience with running a business.
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