For entrepreneurship, one learns by doing.

In

The Entrepreneurial

Lesson,

entrepreneurs

share how they themselves became wise through damage and shame.

This week: Corinne Vigreux, co-founder of TomTom, on the rapidly changing tech world that underlines the importance of a good team.

  • Entrepreneur:

    Corinne Vigreux

  • Founded companies:

    TomTom, Codam

  • Entrepreneurial lesson:

    "Provide a team with many different types of skills."

TomTom was founded 29 years ago by four ambitious entrepreneurs, including Corinne Vigreux.

More than 4,500 people now work for the company and it has grown into the European market leader in so-called location technology.

The navigation giant had to adapt to the market in uncertain times, but survived the economic crisis and is now also holding its own during the corona pandemic.

Besides TomTom Vigreux also founded Codam;

a free coding school in Amsterdam.

The basis for a company that is always on the move?

"Your company is only as good as your team, so make sure you have a complementary group," says Vigreux.

Can you name a situation that showed you how important the team is within your company?

"TomTom has grown up selling stand-alone navigation systems; we were the first company to make digital navigation accessible to everyone. With the advent of built-in navigation solutions and free navigation apps, the success of our business was endangered."

"Every day companies bleed to death because they cannot adapt."

"This was the time for TomTom to develop further. And look now: we no longer only sell separate navigation systems and apps to consumers, but now also supply technology to car manufacturers and major tech companies such as Microsoft and Uber."

“Every day companies bleed to death because they cannot adapt. Just look at the companies that were at the top ten years ago and compare this with the companies of today. You see a completely different landscape emerging. To be able to adapt quickly, it is essential that you have a complementary team with a lot of resilience. "

A good team is therefore crucial to keep your company afloat.

But what makes a team function well?

"A successful team consists of people with skills that complement each other. Someone is good at finance, another at sales and marketing, and yet another is good at technology."

"I notice that it works very well to make clear to employees what your vision is so that they feel connected to the organization. It is important that everyone in the team understands their role and responsibilities, and feels free to express their ideas. to share."

What was an important moment that the TomTom team experienced together?

“Last year we celebrated having sold more than 100 million navigation systems in our company's history. Another recent example is that the Fiat 500, one of today's smallest electric vehicles, came onto the market with our navigation system. a moment of pride for our entire team. "

"In achieving such a success, it is therefore very important that you take the time to look back and celebrate with the team what you have achieved together."

How do you deal with it when someone does not perform his or her task properly?

"I always treat employees as adults and with respect. If I see that the performance of a task is not going well, I am very open and honest about it. Such a conversation is often focused on whether they still like what they do. I think that when employees are in their place, the company has a better chance of success. ”

Do you still enjoy doing business?

"Absolutely. Entrepreneurship is about creating. You see a problem and you approach this problem in a positive way. When I look back at what we have done with TomTom, I sometimes think: how great is it that we map the roads of the world. Moreover, we have saved a lot of marriages. After all, couples argue less in the car. "