For over 20 years, Merlijn Boshuizen has been at the helm of Plan A Event Management, an event agency based in Amsterdam. Plan A, with the dedicated support of, among others, Jorrit Bakkum from AXP Advisers, guarantees a vibrant series of events. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Merlijn shares, “20 years ago, I started with a friend. We were inexperienced and both had full-time jobs. Within a few weeks, we had our first clients, and it was a bit of a hustle. After 2 years, he went back to Scotland, and after 3 years, I quit my full-time job to focus entirely on Plan A Event Management.”
Plan A Event Management organizes various activities, including corporate parties, fully catered weekends for tourists, and bachelor parties. They have even converted an American school bus into a party bus. The agency specifically focuses on small-scale events where fun and experience take center stage.
Merlijn’s biggest entrepreneurial success? Carsmash! In this activity, groups of people smash cars that are ready for scrap. He had seen this in Germany and thought, “I can organize this too!” Since 2017, they have been running Carsmash. Reuters covered it, and the news went worldwide. Merlijn says, “You know those fun items you often get at the end of the news? Carsmash even made it there! It’s a huge success and always fully booked! Not only friend groups, but also companies often do it during team-building events. We don’t need much publicity because we take professional photos during the activity, and participants often share them directly on social media. This is perfect marketing for us.”
For Merlijn, this was the highlight of his entrepreneurial journey. He introduced something unique to the Dutch market and turned it into a great success. Especially during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this concept proved to be perfect. The event could be executed on a small scale and took place outdoors, making it an ideal activity during this period.
Merlijn continues, “This year we celebrate our 20th anniversary. The foundation of my entrepreneurship is fun and joy. We all have to have fun together, and I see the element of play in everything. Things come my way, and I always want to seize opportunities. Of course, we had tourism and market trends on our side. But I look at the world with an open mind and seize my chances.”
Much has changed in the past 20 years. The laws and regulations have become much stricter. Merlijn says, “Amsterdam is getting busier and much more expensive. We are also affected by that.” The Amsterdam municipality started the ‘Stay Away’ campaign last year to deter young British tourists. Merlijn says, “The funny thing is that this actually generated more traffic to our website, and we got busier.”
The biggest challenge was the COVID-19 pandemic. He continues, “Back then, we thought: if we survive this, we don’t have to fear anything anymore. What I recommend to everyone is to surround yourself with a good network. I have a good lawyer for legal matters, a good IT guy, and a business coach. It’s always nice to discuss your business with a neutral person.”
For their financial matters, Plan A Event Management uses the services of AXP Advisers. Merlijn met Jorrit Bakkum during an event. Merlijn says, “There was an instant connection, and when we were looking for a new financial service provider, the choice was quickly made. AXP helps us with tax returns, preparing the annual financial statements, and payroll administration. When we recently had a gap in our financial department, Patrick was there to fill the gap immediately. Jorrit is always ready to think along and act as a sparring partner. He thinks along with us about changes and what is needed for them. He contributes to our vision and how we should organize our company. For example, if we need to make an investment or create a new budget, he can think about how feasible it is. What I appreciate the most? The flexibility and the short lines.”
Would you like to benefit from the advantages that AXP Adviseurs offers for your business? Whether it’s administrative support, financial advice, or efficiency enhancements, we’re here to assist you in achieving your business objectives. Contact us today and discover how we can co-write your success story. We look forward to collaborating with you and taking your business to new heights.