Burial or Rebirth of Dutch Notary Business Model?

Officer 02 - colored cartoon illustrationToday in the Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf” an article was posted about the fall of revenue of Notaries/Solicitors of 30 to 40%.  “A big war” is going on between Notary offices who lower their rates in order to keep up with the competition. Or in other words… in order to survive. “200 notaries united to fight the battle because the market enforced the prices going down!” “The New Stamp” will put an end to lower prices. Anyone who charges lower prices will be friendly asked not to do so. AMAZING.  Mmm… do Notaries wear sunglasses? Are they too blind to see what their clients really want?

But  where have we seen strong decrease in revenue  before? CD-sales? In the music industry? Where established firms like e.g Warner was outperformed by newcomers with new business models like Sellaband? In the car industry? In the airline industry where Ryanair and Easyjet rule the market nowadays? 

What should Notaries do nowadays… ?  I think they should understand that they can not change the market but rather themselves should adjust to the changes. Why? Clients do not see the added value of their services as contracts are available on the Internet. Their services are not transparent. Why paying € 1.400 for setting up a company? Or € 1.200 for wedding papers?  Can Notaries do something about it? YES they CAN! Take off their sunglasses and do BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION! 

Take a look at the practices in the other regions, Estonia for example. Looking at Estonia would not be your first thought. However, we can learn a lot from them. The idea is to facilitate the entrepreneur in boosting the economy (not the Notaries bank account). For setting up a business you have 2 options: 1) through the Internet (if no notary is required) and option 2: at Notary office. And do you know what the second option costs you? Depending on the number of parties involved and the transaction volume you pay for a BV (Dutch Limited Company) only € 70! 

Being served by an Estonian Notary feels like flying Easyjet. A different model. No over the top offices, no staff overload, no Notary with Mont Blanc pencils but just a beautiful designed office where you can shop for a Notary signature in only 20 minutes. By the way in the public computer corner you can pay your bill online. Pick up and delivery of papers on the next day. Wow Dutch Notaries… what about that?


Electric Business Models

IMG_1470Have you ever experienced the wonderful feeling of driving an electric scooter bike? Today I did. WOW! During the lunch break of our Business Modeling session with the Dutch based company QWIC run by Taco Anema and Michiel Hartman I had the opportunity. Sailing on your bike with no sound at all through the busy streets of Amsterdam-Zuid. Wonderful. I’d love to have one! See how Jan Selen (JAM) visualized my moves in this picture here…

During our session together with Twenty Twenty – Minnemijn Smit en Foris Croon – we explored different models. Strange. People are still afraid that they are not able to reload their accu. But how many fuel stations do we have near our home? Do we have the opportunity to get fuel at home? No! So? Afraid to do something environmental friendly? And what about the models? Freemium? Charge for accu’s only? A subscription or lease?

Anyway, I don’t care. My next car is a QWIC!

2009, time for change…


The bubble

The Madoff bubble...

2008 is a recession we have never seen before… Amazing! I thought after crisis like the Internet bubble and Enron we have had the worse. What I see now is that people and companies start looking at themselves… laying off people and cutting the budgets. But what to expect if you stop investing in time and resources? 2009 needs to be the trigger for this turning point…

What is interesting about these economic downturns is that it can create opportunities… New and smaller parties will come up, those who have not wasted their time staring at their own organizations… 

The history is full of these examples… Companies and industries emerged as a result of market dislocations. I will mention a few…

Out of one of the darkest depressions around 1873 the telephone was born as well as General Electric and the lightbulb. The panic of 1910 made Ford come up with an new way of thinking about operations and manufacturing. The oil crisis in 1973 marked the birth of the personal computer and the recession of the early 1980s gave us the proliferation if PC’s led by Microsoft, IBM, and Apple. The invention of the World Wide Web and the commercialization of the Internet coincided with the recession of the early 1990s (which really started in 1987 with Black Monday), and out of the ashes of the dot-com bubble came companies such as Google, Amazon.com and eBay, with new business models that have upended the way we innovate, transact commerce, and communicate. And the current crisis starting with the banks and continued with the bubble of Madoff…


The real smart entrepreneurs will not get along with the cutting budgets and laying off people. They have more important things to do! The will create the turning point in 2009 by means of finding new business models that will make things work…

This article was inspired by Jeff Stibel, Harvard Business Online

(new) Media business models?

Last night the first Dutch Media Professionals eventmeeting of the Dutch Media Professionals (DMP) was held in the “Rode Hoed” In Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The DMP is a successful linkedin community that grew to 4.000 members in only a couple of weeks time. The event was around “the New News”. What happens if the user gets all the content for free? 

Almar Latour manager editor Wall Street Journal online elaborated on their choice for their business model. Initially some wanted to give the content for free, some wanted to be paid for. At the moment WSJ has 1 mln online subscribers each paying approx. $100 to $150 per year. Almar explained that the choice for their business model was found by means of experimenting and understanding the behavior of their subscribers. Free users enter sideways, have general interests (politics, lifestyle) and are NOT familiar with the Journal. Subscribers who pay for content WANT to pay for content as they have special interest. As a result of this WSJ started to develop both a free website and a paid subscription website specially designed for the audience. Free subscribers site is different, it has tools, widgets and newsreel.  

Another discussion was around business models of free and paid for newspapers. Bart Brouwers (chief editor free newspaper Sp!ts) and Barbara van Beukering (chief editor Parool). Basically the newspaper is either paid by the reader/ subscriber or the advertiser. But advertising is decreasing. A huge problem. What are the newspapers doing to resolve this? Het Parool started to expand their business model into a new area:selling wines, dvd’s and books to their audience. By this means they are less dependent on advertising. The free newspaper Sp!ts had a very interesting new revenue stream. Besides advertorials and advertising they use guaranteed content. By this mean the advertiser will get – besides their add – a positive news item content-managed by the Sp!its. In the debate it was questioned whether this is right in terms of free press and the role of the journalists. A poll in the audience showed that only 20% was worried about this development.  Bart explained that they are exploring new business models every day and this is not the last model they will come up with…

The start…

the business model agency

I always wanted to run my own model agency. And now I do. On business models. It is called Business Models Inc. This agency draws, describes and improves business models through offering support, organizing speeches, training courses and workshops worldwide. I work closely together with the experts on business modeling Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. 

Our focus is to create an online and offline platform for business modelers. The Business Model Hub. Here we want to connect business modelers all over the world. Here people can learn all about business modeling, share experiences and develop new connections. We will provide training courses online, tools for business modeling and you can watch videos of leading business people.  

Curious about our business model? We are too! We do know what we are aiming for but we don’t know what we will find on our way. And that’s very exciting! We will assess models, check out nice models, models that pay off, models that do not pay off.

Want to be part of our journey? Follow my blog. Here I will keep you up to date. I will inform you on the business people we talk to, how explore our own business model, and whom we work with to make it work. So are you ready? I am. Continuing the journey…

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