Luciano de Vries’ Unorthodox Path to Entrepreneurial Success

Entrepreneur
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Luciano de Vries, a Dutch entrepreneur and founder of multinational companies in food production, logistics, sustainability consulting, and more, has taken an unconventional path to success. With extensive experience navigating diverse business cultures and operations across Europe, Africa, and North America, de Vries has cultivated adaptable leadership strategies and learned how to expand productively into unfamiliar territories.

While studying tax law at the University of Groningen in his native Netherlands, de Vries began promoting events for his college football club and student society. During a school break in Spain, he was hired to do a similar job and realized the potential for earning money through hard work. “That’s when I found out that making my own money was quite something I would like because if I worked hard, I invited more people, and I earned more money,” he recalls.

De Vries fondly refers to the early stages of his business ventures as the “love phase,” characterized by a hands-on approach and enthusiasm. “Actually, I would always call it the love phase of doing business. You do everything yourself, everything is fun, having a great time,” he shares, emphasizing the importance of passion and enjoyment in entrepreneurship.

As his companies proliferated, expanding across Europe and into the United States, de Vries faced the challenges of scaling and learning on the job. “In the last four or five years, we made the switch from my garage. It was actually my question toward a company with 250 employees and still learning every day,” he notes, highlighting the importance of continuous learning and adaptation during the transition from a garage-based operation to managing a larger company.

Navigating Global Business Ventures

With experience leading multinational companies in various sectors, Luciano de Vries emphasizes the importance of hiring adaptable, learning-oriented team members. “Hungry to learn, no 9-to-5 mentality. They always must be a good fit with the team. Of course, there can be arguments, and people don’t always need to align. But they must accept each others’ opinions and look for solutions. Create a team where everyone wants the best for the company. The vision of how to reach it can differ, but always be constructive,” he advises.

To drive global cohesion, de Vries balances his personal leadership style while adapting to local preferences. “I don’t think there is a need to change if your way of leading is through leadership. If you lead by example and work hard, people will follow you. Of course, it can never hurt to read into different cultures. But if you make sure that you also relax with people and find out more about them and their culture, it can go well,” he explains.

He also emphasizes the importance of hiring and developing local leaders to understand market nuances and investing time in connecting with global team members and partners abroad to build trust and alignment.

“The international teams in my case are all locally led by independent directors. On a group level, we work with advisory boards that help each other. And once a year, we go on a trip all together,” de Vries adds, highlighting his approach to remaining flexible while staying grounded in core leadership values underlying the global company vision.

De Vries identifies lack of communication as a significant obstacle in global business and encourages understanding of different roles and responsibilities within the company. “Lack of communication or lack of the right communication is when people don’t know what the other is doing, how much work a task is, or what the responsibilities are. If you give them a look into each others’ jobs and roles for, let’s say a day, that really helps people. That’s how good communication can start,” he suggests.

Lessons Learned and Inspiration

Luciano de Vries’ global business journey highlights the importance of hard work, adaptability, cultural awareness, and a people-first mindset in driving growth across continents. His unconventional path from party promoter to CEO of Gaet Holding and director of Bayswater Capital inspires aspiring global entrepreneurs.

His success story demonstrates how embracing unique journeys, cultivating a global mindset, and blending the best of different business cultures can lead to multinational success. His crucial leadership lessons, including hiring local experts, investing in relationships, remaining flexible, and prioritizing communication, provide valuable insights for entrepreneurs navigating global business ventures’ complexities.

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