Life goes on and you can survive any failure, and if you learn from your mistakes, you will come out even stronger and more resilient than before.

 

Frank Zweegers is a highly successful businessman and entrepreneur. He was born in the south of the Netherlands to a family of entrepreneurs with a strong track-record in the farming industry.

Frank is the founder of investment company ZBG. Not bound by convention or any preconceived sectoral bias, from his first investment onwards, Frank has always invested in people. He believes in surrounding himself by highly motivated and skilled people, that can be trusted to do whatever is in the best interest of their -and with that – his company.

Due to this innovative approach, ZBG’s portfolio has varied over the years. In more recent times, Frank Zweegers’ portfolio has coalesced around the three main business areas of real estate development & investment, agriculture and technology. In each area, ZBG’s businesses aim to have a long-lasting positive effect on the future.
With a growing world population, Frank Zweegers understands the great importance of helping farmers to utilise both their productivity and efficiency. An example of this is precision farming which focuses on developing new technologies, equipment and methods to achieve exactly that. It is therefore an important area for ZBG to look for investment opportunities.

Similarly, ZBG has invested in an innovative technology company that speeds up the development and approval of innovative medical devices and machinery that help patients be diagnosed in a smoother, quicker and less painful way whilst also improving therapies that cure diseases and other health issues.

Frank Zweegers is also a well-recognised investor in the real estate development world. The growth in popularity of urban living especially in key international cities, is a main driver for his real estate projects. The aim is to provide millennials access to the city lifestyle, which is becoming an increasing challenge due to the shortage of quality housing and office space in many markets. Developing new, more sustainable real estate projects is helping to solve this societal problem.

Where did the idea for ZBG come from?

Being born into a family of entrepreneurs inspired me from a young age to set up my own firm. The moment I became particularly interested in investing was soon after high school which led to me eventually launching ZBG, an investment company with interests spanning across real estate development and management to food & agriculture, manufacturing and technology.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The key to a productive day is to start the day off with reading up on what is going on in the world. To ensure I am kept up to date on all current and foreign affairs, I subscribe to three different newspapers which I religiously go through prior to starting my day. Fitness has always been a part of my life. From swimming in high school, playing tennis in the weekends to the relentless focus on fitness as a daily routine, I have always prioritized health and wellness in order to stay competitive in everything I do. I passionately believe being healthy and physically fit has a direct correlation to happiness and success, whatever your personal definition of that may be. After a long, busy day at the office, I always try and take time away from work in the evenings to unwind and aim to get at least eight hours sleep a night. Most of us run on far too little sleep and I find if you get enough rest, you will start each day on a high with a positive mindset and able to tackle any challenge that comes your way.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am very fortunate to work with such a great team, I find that surrounding myself with creative, entrepreneurial people who inspire me on a daily basis really helps to make my vision and aspirations come alive.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The increasing trend that more and more businesses start to realise is that making a profit is not enough. There now needs to be an additional, more meaningful purpose, a certain relevant contribution to society, making the future cleaner, healthier, happier, and overall better.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Understanding the world and the problems the world faces so I can get inspiration on how to improve the lives of people by teaming up with the right entrepreneurs/companies/people. In addition to this, self-education is key. Discovering new ideas that are unrelated to your business can release your creativity and give you a new lease of life.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Frank Zweegers – you need to believe in yourself and don’t worry about things that are out of your control. Life goes on and you can survive any failure, and if you learn from your mistakes, you will come out even stronger and more resilient than before.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Investing money in an idea that may not turn out to be profitable but improves the lives of others gives you a far better feeling than investing money in a highly profitable idea that brings nothing to improve the lives of others (except for the investors). I have setup a charity in Africa where we have developed housing, education and healthcare for orphan children, this is indescribably satisfying experience.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I follow my own instincts. I prefer to invest in people rather than just business plans. This of course has sometimes led to (financial) disappointments in my time, but it does not break my spirit when I know the people I invested in and trusted did everything in their power to make a success out of their idea.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Surrounding myself with talented, professional and extremely driven people and giving them the freedom to take chances and do what they feel is right. I find this type of trust and freedom inspires people to reach goals they never dreamed possible.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have had many. But every failure is an opportunity to learn, to gain new insights and to improve future decisions and actions. People often mistakenly think that failure is a step backwards. It is in fact a stepping-stone to success, because someone who has survived failure has gained irreplaceable knowledge and will learn and grow from their mistakes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I find that it is often challenging for entrepreneurs to get the recognition they need for their great ideas from the right investors. On the other hand, it is tricky for investors to know which ideas are worth investing in and those that need financial help. A Tinder-like app that brings the two parties together might not be such a bad idea.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I loaned my nephew just under 100 dollars so he could set up a dog walking venture. This covered basic expenses of getting set up such as buying spare leashes, harnesses, a good supply of dog waste bags and so on. This not only gave him the opportunity to do something he enjoys but most importantly introduces him to starting up his own business and simultaneously teaching him the concept of money, that it is earned and not given. This also teaches him life skills such as responsibility, maintaining a schedule, managing clients, learning to negotiate pay rates, budgeting, and buying supplies. Unfortunately the business has since lost his interest after several weeks as it turned out to be hard work on a continuous basis. I now tease him about him owing me my investment money to the point he is becoming quite worried.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I often use Blendle, an online news platform that aggregates articles from a variety of newspapers and magazines. This allows me to read more in-depth news articles.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham because it is one of the best books on investing ever written.

What is your favorite quote?

I have many, but a quote which resonates with me the most is “if I don’t run the day, the day runs me”.

Key Learnings:

  • Keep yourself informed. Make sure you know what is going on, not just in your business, but in the world as well. This way, you will be able to foresee threats and weaknesses in your business and take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Learn from your failures. No one is successful 100% of the time. But in each failure lies an opportunity to learn. Why did this fail? What should have gone differently? Is that a factor I could control? If not, how could I have foreseen this? All of the answers to these questions not only help you avoid a similar mistake in the future, but it will help make your endeavors even more successful.
  • Don’t just seek out monetary profits but try to fulfill another purpose as well. This will make you feel much better about yourself in the long run. The new focus of corporations should be focusing on improving society rather than simply making profits for shareholders.