Bas van der Lans from Van Ons visits the Ministry of Economic Affairs

SMEs in the Netherlands – especially companies in the middle segment – ​​do not yet sufficiently realize that traditional revenue models are definitely being overhauled. The main cause? Technological developments are moving faster and faster. Entrepreneurs in SMEs know that they 'have to do something' with these technological developments, but they don't know how.

What questions can they actually ask, for example to their web agencies? And how do they know whether those web agencies have enough knowledge to answer those questions?

Partly due to the current economic boom, entrepreneurs in the Netherlands are not focusing enough on optimizing, improving and strengthening their digital strength. There is an economic risk exactly there.

It will be published in November Handbook for Digital Effectiveness, written by Bas van der Lans and Robert van Eekhout of Van Ons from Amsterdam. They are also launching a national movement to make SMEs in the Netherlands more digitally powerful.

Bas van der Lans: “We were inspired by the phenomenon of Digital Power when officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs visited our office in Amsterdam in the spring of 2017. We then exchanged ideas about whether SMEs in the Netherlands are digitally powerful enough to compete with the countries around us. The question is whether entrepreneurs and companies make enough use of the technological possibilities that are already available in their marketing and sales.”

reality check

At the beginning of October we – in turn – visited the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) to once again talk to officials about this theme. Bas van der Lans: “Entrepreneurs in the mid-segment of SMEs see digital marketing as 'elusive' or 'not tangible enough'. The associated IT department is still too often a separate island in the organization.”

It is very important – for the Netherlands as a whole – that steps are taken. For example, the majority of SMEs see their own website as a digital business card (“I can be found”), while a website should primarily become a platform for sales and communication, making use of all technological potential.

Independent advice

Bas van der Lans: “We are convinced that entrepreneurs need to discuss these themes much more with each other in order to generate impact. There is more productivity to be achieved in the middle segment of SMEs. A new business economic ecosystem must be developed. The key to digital strength is access to independent advice. This is only possible if entrepreneurs talk to EACH OTHER.”

Goal for 2025

“It is therefore our ambition to ensure that Dutch entrepreneurs no longer make bad investments in ICT and digital marketing by the year 2025. This will make the Netherlands more digitally powerful, entrepreneurs will then make much more use of the technological potential and we will all become more competitive as a result. Moreover, by then SMEs will conclude that they can deploy employees much more efficiently. In short, more digital power in SMEs is good for the Netherlands!”

Would you like to pre-order the Handbook for Digital Effectiveness?
This is possible on, available from November 21st.

from left to right MSc MA Sarah-Lee Tilly, drs. Marian Sanders, Bas van der Lans