A partnership of chance

Blue Ninja Business Support is a consultancy company run by British business partners and trailing (amazing) spouses Louisa Stewart and Julie Taylor in the Netherlands. We are celebrating our first year in business together on the 7th November 2019. We reflect on our journey over the past year from finding our feet as British expats to setting up and running a business as entrepreneurs and partners.

Louisa and Julie met in a chance encounter on the 7th November 2018 through a local Facebook group post. Shout out to David MacGregor for what was a random post about Dunfermline, Scotland to which Julie posted she had lived 10 minutes down the road in South Queensferry and Louisa had spent time in Inverkeithing, another small town close by!  After a quick coffee meeting between two strangers, it wasn’t long before we realised that we had complementary skills and ambitions.

“It was fantastic to not only connect with Julie as a fellow Brit, but to find someone who also was in the same position and had the same work focus was an amazing opportunity”. Louisa

Australian born and bred, Louisa has run an award-winning virtual administrative (VA) business for the past 6 years. Yorkshire lass Julie has many years experience in the banking sector, most recently as a self-employed professional. With more than 30 years of combined business experience (although we don’t look that old!), we both quickly realised our strength is working together.

Starting out from Louisa’s attic office overlooking a picturesque Leiden canal, the partnership was born. Blue Ninja NL was formalised at the end of December 2018 and we registered at the business centre at the World Trade Centre (WTC) The Hague, taking opportunities to network there and familiarise ourselves with the Dutch business culture.

What exactly do we do?

Blue Ninja specialises in streamlining and optimising processes and procedures. We both have strengths in different areas of information and project management and analysis which complements our skillsets extremely well and brings a lot of value to our clients. This could be as simple as reviewing clunky or broken processes and offering trusted advice and solutions, to more complex project issues that require in-depth analysis and mapping.

We also look at systems and software to provide potentially low-cost/proven options for businesses. This is important for businesses to be provided workable solutions that don’t hinder the team, the deliverables or the overall goals. We are not about reinventing the wheel but making sure you have the right wheels for your business.

When businesses approach us they don’t always know what they need. Something may not work efficiently but the team aren’t sure what the issue is. We’re team players and want to make sure people succeed from the CEO level to the junior staff so we’ll ask the awkward questions to get to the root of the problem and help to fix the issue once and for all.

We are a trusted resource to our clients and are approached time and time again to look at other processes and procedures to bring advice, guidance and efficiency to the business.

Where in the world are we?

Louisa and Julie are based in Leiden which is a beautiful, well-connected city between the bigger cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam in The Netherlands. We feel very lucky to have found an amazing city to live and work. Louisa has lived in four countries including Australia, Scotland, Germany and now The Netherlands. Julie has lived and worked in four as well, mainly in the UK – England, Wales, Scotland and also The Netherlands.

We both have years of experience working in beautiful countries and with many different cultures around the world. We love travelling to new and exotic places not only for work but for downtime and relaxation. At a count, we have in total been to more than 40 countries around the world (with more on our lists) including:

Australia | Austria | Belgium | Bulgaria | Canada | Croatia | Cuba | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Egypt | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy (+ Holy See)| Japan | Latvia | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico |Monaco | Morocco | Netherlands | Norway | Portugal | Singapore | South Africa| Spain | Slovenia | Sweden | Switzerland | Thailand | Turkey | UAE | UK | USA

“We’re both so happy to be Blue Ninjas and are working together to help businesses implement effective processes and procedures both in The Netherlands and internationally”. Julie Taylor

What’s next?

Our plan is to continue providing excellent service and support to our current clients – that is our priority. We will continue to grow our team of ninjas and really focus on what a difference excellent processes and procedures can make to businesses. We hope to start a podcast in 2020 and develop some excellent tools and resources on how to set up and manage processes in the workplace.

Our strategy in our first year has been to bring our skill sets together into a cohesive strategy and partnership. We’ve achieved this very effectively in a short amount of time and are celebrating our ongoing successful partnership with a stable and growing client base as well as an ever-increasing quality network of contacts. We are about sharing and supporting each other, and our aim is to keep our relationship positive and happy.

We have a laugh every day and try to keep in mind our personal goals as well. We’re both working on our Dutch language skills and are hoping to be more bi-lingual in the coming year! This will really strengthen our connections with Dutch contacts as we are keen to seek opportunities with not only English-speaking international companies but also local Dutch businesses.

On a more personal level, we want to keep on top of our work-life balance and include more time for fitness (will we run a 5km in 2020??) and our separate interests (Louisa is a singer and Julie loves photography). Organising our partners is a bit of a full-time job too…the life of trailing spouses!