Interview with Tim Scholte, CEO of Mascus

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Tim Scholte, CEO at Mascus International BV speaks about amazing and successful project Mascus, the biggest website in Europe in construction machines and number 2 in the World. Mascus started in 2000, the company has been growing very fast with more than 30% per year. Today over 2,7 million people visit Mascus every month. Find out all about marketing, competition, business issues, teamwork and business tips to work in Internet for young entrepreneurs.

Cranesy: The Company was established in …. ?
Tim Scholte: Mascus started in the year 2000. It was founded by three material handling companies to sell of used equipment. They quickly learned that running a website is a totally different business. In 2004 it was sold to a Media firm Alma Media. Alma Media is a very strong listed Finnish publishing company. They own newspapers, job portals, car portals etc.
After 7 years of tremendous growth they sold the company to us. I am a Dutch entrepreneur and with the help of an investment company I was able to buy Mascus.
Mascus is a unique company. We have our own offices in Finland, Sweden, UK, Denmark, USA and Benelux. However we have also 38 license holders operating the Mascus brand in 38 countries. We are the only website that has local people on the ground in every key market. As all used construction machines travel all over the world we have translated Mascus in 42 languages. We sell subscription to dealers and traders in the construction sector and heavy machinery sector. For a small subscription per month they can list their machines on our website.

C.: How many users Mascus collects today?
T. S.: Mascus has been growing very fast with more than 30% per year. Today we have 290,000 machines on the website, with 110,000 in construction, 6,000 cranes. Over 2,7 million people visit Mascus every month. We are the biggest website in Europe in construction machines and number 2 in the world. We have more than 7,000 dealers using Mascus worldwide.

C.: Today, Tim, you are CEO of Mascus, but how have you been interested to Construction Sector?
T. S.: In all honesty I am at first an Internet entrepreneur, my true passion is with the Internet. However after working 5years in this sector I have started to really like this sector as well. There has been some great pressure due to the crisis in the last few years but we see a lot of positive news. I think 2014 will be a great year!

C.: Who/what inspires and motivates you every day?
T. S.: As an entrepreneur you have to be inspired 7 days per week. With more than 100 people working for Mascus I consider it to be a great honour leading this company. The unique thing of Mascus is that we have one website and all these nationalities. We organise now in March a meeting in Amsterdam and we have people coming from Japan, South Africa, USA…etc. 20 nationalities all discussing one home page!

C.: Required qualities to work in your Team?
T. S.: You need to have a global vision. Problems in France are different from the problems/challenges in the USA. Furthermore we are all practical, result driven and customer focussed.

C.: Is there a competition with other international e-marketplaces in this sector and how do you obtain attention of customers?
T. S.: In every market there is competition, but our particularity and strength comes from the fact that we have over 100 Mascus people on 5 continents working for the success of our services. Local people, understanding the local needs and culture of our customers.
Regarding Italy, we have not been able to present ourselves as well as we wanted until now. Stella Kosma, is now in charge of developing Mascus in Italy and things are moving in very positive direction already as we see Italian dealers joining Mascus every month.
Mascus has a very efficient marketplace. For a low price advertisers get a subscription and they can start placing ads on our website. The strength of Mascus is a wide range of services. We have built for example more than 400 websites, which we can do for a very low price. We also have developed a software solution for the bigger global companies. For example Volvo CE works worldwide with Mascus as a back office system.

C.: “Start Up” tips for young entrepreneurs?
T. S.: As a young entrepreneur you need to do three things;
1. Listen to one or two smart people, ignore the rest.
2. Don’t be afraid to adapt your product/idea. Be opportunistic.
3. Work hard and get a business partner who thinks different. Make sure you have enough cash in your plan to make it to break even.

C.: Your Strengths?
T. S.: I think I can motivate and challenge people. I love to put customers first.

C.: What are the mistakes one should avoid to reach success?
T. S.: If you work without a vision and clear goals you will never get there. You need to know where you are going.

C.: Any favorite Quote? Which one you can offer to Men in Construction Sector?
T. S.: If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail.

C.: According your opinion, do the list of most common business-mistakes of entrepreneurs today?
T. S.: I speak to a lot of entrepreneurs who want to start a website. They always underestimate a few things:
1. Internet traffic is not for free. Everybody is competing for the same key words
2. A unique concept can be copied rapidly
3. It is hard to get consumers to pay for something
4. Lack of a financial plan

C.:Your rules to work efficiently, productivity and serenely in the office?
T. S.: Give people responsibility. Then you win. If everybody is motivated by the job and the location they are working, they will take ownership. Then rules are unnecessary.

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