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Small to Medium Business Chaos to Control Podcast
50 minutes | Jan 17, 2017
Paul Quicke & Jolene Stockman Quicke of Giggle Taranaki – Winner of Taranaki Emerging Business 2016 on the passion, drive, and commitment behind the accelerated growth of their business.
Today I talk to Paul & Jolene from Giggle Taranaki. This husband & wife team started their business years ago while still doing their “Day Jobs’. This is the story of their rapid growth and the learnings they have had during this time. One of the standout things you get from talking to Paul & Jolene is their unwavering and all encompassing passion for their business. What also stands out is their commitment as Husband & Wife Team to having a joint vision and the success of their business, and how they have managed to bring this to fruition while still managing to raise a young family.
44 minutes | Nov 21, 2016
Systemising your business so that it is ready and attractive to sell
Today I talk to Gordon Gower. He recently sold his business Ecomist Taranaki after 20 years. During these years, and in particular in the last 5 years Gordon mindful that he was going to sell. As such he set about systemising and documenting every thing in the business, so that it wasn’t depandant on hm on a day to day basis. He was also conscious of exiting himself from the being the face of the business, as again the business could run without him. This is a great chat about importance of thinking about and working on your exit plan long before you either need or want to sell it.
74 minutes | Nov 6, 2016
Helen Griffiths of Rumpus Room. Why you should never be afraid to take calculated risks. If you are not happy, then do something about it.
BRINGING PLAY BACK INTO OUR LIVES: HELEN GRIFFITHS Today’s interview with Helen Griffiths teaches us a thing or two about critical areas in business such as marketing, technology, operations, and finally, getting our business’ message understood by our clients. Helen Griffiths finished at the Cardiff University with a degree in Speech and Language Therapy. Wales-born Helen and her then-fiancee, Hugh, got married and worked in different industries. Hugh, with his Information Technology background, worked in that industry. Helen worked for a secondary school in Southampton, managing services and giving support assistance at the institution. She was then required to do graduate studies in primary education. Then she got her second degree and qualified as a primary school teacher. On holiday to New Zealand in 2005, Helen and Hugh, over a bottle of wine, decided that New Zealand would be a good place to bring up their children. Being risk takers, the couple decided to give it a shot. The move to New Zealand was easy for Helen and Hugh to make. According to Helen, it was an opportunity for them to shake things up in their lives. Since Hugh’s family moved around a lot when he was growing up, it was not difficult to convince him to make the move. At that time, their children were 5 and 8 years old. Helen then worked with the Ministry of Education while Hugh continued working within the IT industry. Three years later, they decided to take another risk, opening up Rumpus Room in 2013. At the time, Hugh found himself in the position where he wasn’t getting the satisfaction that he wanted at work. Seeing that Helen and Hugh considered entertaining people their strength, the idea of Rumpus Room seemed to morph into its own identity Initially Huw & Helen investigated franchises as a way to get into the business. However, after doing their research, they decided they preferred having more creative opportunities as well as being responsive to the needs of the community. They were determined to create a community asset unique to Taranaki and one which Taranaki could be proud of. Helen and Hugh researched around Family Entertainment Systems, which the industry is called and through their 18-month intelligence research, the concluded that there was a gap in the market and Rumpus Room was launched.
42 minutes | Oct 18, 2016
Simon Mulligan of Taranaki Civil Construction on he importance of knowing your limits in business and playing the long game.
The Art of Managing Growth: An interview with Simon Mulligan Managing growth and aligning it with your company’s vision is a tall order for most businesses. Today’s guest, Simon Mulligan of Taranaki Civil Construction has been able to manage its processes and human resource very well. Incorporated in 2004, this company has been led to its level of success under the leadership of Simon Mulligan and Shayne Bunn. Having a clear vision in mind, Simon has developed a business model that was born out of years of experience in the industry and taking advice from trusted mentors who have helped him along the way. Simon’s experience working in and around multinationals has helped him get an in-depth understanding of structures around CAPEX and other business activities related to construction. As tempting as it is for most business owners, Simon and Shayne have been able to keep their expenditures to a minimum and still manage to be efficient. Knowing which processes to outsource has also proven to be one of Taranaki Civil’s strengths. They have been able to build strategic alliances that have helped them grow. Being a family owned business Simon and business partner Shayne (Brother in-law) have been able to strategically develop a unique point of difference of being able to undertake 90% of their projects using in-house resources. . Unlike their competitors, their size, capability, and flexibility give them the leverage they need to stay relevant in the market. The flexibility in their decision making processes has allowed them secure key contracts and become a well-recognized and respected force in the industry. According to Simon, the buck stopped with them and although they have an operations manager who runs the day-to-day operations, they still stay in the loop and give their support where needed. Recognisng and maximising talent has also helped in Taranaki Civil’s growth. Clear-cut roles had already been established from the start based on each owner’s strength. The culture of family remains strong within Taranaki Civil’s organisation. They recognize that their employees have lives outside of work, and in all reasonable situations encourage their staff to maintain this work life balance. Simon knows that a happy home life produces happy and loyal employees, and thus a more product
34 minutes | Aug 17, 2016
The complicated world of insurance, and how to pick a broker to best serve your needs.
The complicated world of insurance, and how to pick a broker to best serve your needs. In today’s episode of, From Chaos to Control by The Project Guys, Craig interviews Mike Lay, owner of Foresight Financial Planning. This particular episode is interesting because it gives the listeners a peek of financial planning. Mike brings over thirty years of experience in Financial Planning firstly in the U.K, and the last 11 years in New Zealand. What makes Foresight Financial Planning different from the big insurance companies is that they offer personalized advice to clients on their personal insurance needs. They insure people, not assets. Insurance is important because mitigates the risk to your business and family. If something goes wrong, it’s something you wish you had. Insurance covers certain scenarios if something doesn’t go on as planned. “It’s not about telling people what they do. It’s about providing them with information and assistance so they know where they’re potentially at risk or where their business is at risk” A question Mike frequently gets is, “What should I do? What’s the average?” Mike doesn’t believe that there is anything in business that you can say is the average. If the business has debt, it’s important to insure that if anything happened to you, your fellow directors, or people who rely on the business, that there will be money available to get them through that. It’s having a backup in case of illness or death. If you have a backup plan, you will be able to maybe bring somebody in to run the business in your absence or at the very least, you can get rid of debt and have a business continuity plan in place. Not all brokers and advisors are the same. One of the key differences is the agreements that the brokers have in place with the actual insurance companies. Some brokerage firms have access to the whole market in New Zealand while others financial agreements in place to work with just one or two different insurance companies. This can obviously determine and dictate which policy ends up getting sold to the client. Likewise there are two different types of governing rules and qualifications that brokers and people giving advice have the option of working under. They can be either an Authorised Financial Advisor (AFA) or a Registered Financial Adv
42 minutes | Jul 24, 2016
Rampage Fitness: The Couple behind its Success
Rampage Fitness: The Couple behind its Success In today’s episode, Craig talks to Allan & Fiona Ross of Rampage Fitness. A husband and wife team, they have grown their business into a mini empire and have made their mark in the fitness industry in New Plymouth. Allan and Fiona moved to New Zealand from Scotland. At that time, Allan was working in the Oil and Gas industry while Fiona was a midwife. Fiona kept developing herself as a midwife and eventually decided to branch out into the fitness industry. She started teaching aerobics but trained to become a personal trainer. During that time, she did Post Graduate courses in Sports medicine, so she was able to combine the medicine side of things with fitness. Fiona has embarked on a journey of self-development. Eight years ago, they ventured out into the fitness business. At that time, the business was bleeding and the previous owners decided to offer it to existing shareholders and employees. Fiona was already training clients there. It was a massive undertaking for husband and wife. They had to do some major revamping from Day 1. Initially, they worked on the gym at night and Allan got by on a few hours’ sleep. Little by little, he then scaled back his hours at the oil and gas company he worked for. Working together has been a breeze for Fiona and Allan. One thing that’s obvious is the respect they have for each other. They also enjoy working with people and have different roles. Allan does the work Fiona is not interested in. He works on sales, maintaining the computer systems, and management of their people. To get a better feel of how it is to run a gym, Fiona and Allan have travelled all over New Zealand and worked out in different gyms. They were then able to get different concepts and integrated those with their current model. They constantly see what improvements they can make to their current business model. It was setting up their first gym where they had to do most of the hard work. They made sure their systems were in place. Once they ventured into their second and third gyms, things were much easier for them. Part of their strategy was to partner with somebody who can run their business and have ownership. This has also helped take off the pressure from them. Being in the industry, the
42 minutes | Jul 18, 2016
What Value are you getting from your Accountant -Interiew with Andrew More from MoreCA
In this episode, Craig speaks with Andrew More, Owner and Managing Director of More CA, a chartered accountancy firm. Andrew has set out to add value to his services by not just helping his clients with compliance but also offering them real world advice, assistance, and guidance. When asked about the kinds of problems Andrew helps his clients with, he explains that his practice puts an emphasis on the ethos of collaboration. This involves brainstorming with his clients to solve issues and problems they are faced with. They work with technology to facilitate processes and ensure accuracy in the figures, along with other specialists to help improve their clients’ businesses. Unlike the run-of-the-mill accounting firms most business people see once or twice a year, Andrew is more hands on. He engages with his clients on a more regular basis and encourages them to ask questions no matter how simple they may seem. Andrew has had to differentiate More CA from the rest of the traditional accounting firms by adding more value to his clients. One way More CA has done that was by educating the practice’s clients on what they must expect from their accountants. As he starts to work with his clients, he asks four basic questions such as What is your structure? What are your issues? How do we contact you? What are your goals?” More CA’s purpose in asking the clients what their goals are is to determine whether their personal goals and business goals are in alignment. Once they understand what their client’s goals are, they can advise them on the manner of which will be relevant to helping them achieve their goals. When asked about what he enjoys about being in business, Andrew mentioned that he enjoyed working with his clients. In his previous job, he knew he could offer them more than what the same old accountancy model offered. Andrew feels that he has succeeded in what he has achieved. However, he says his goals are constantly changing. These goals push you to be better and not content with who you are. He reviews his goals about once a year. His assistant, Claire, holds him accountable for his goals. Sometimes, his friends and family do the same. Most of the time, he engages in introspection and what he calls “self-review.”
20 minutes | Jul 11, 2016
Business Mentors New Zealand - Kiwis helping Kiwis. A unique program available to SME Businesses, that is helping them achieve great things.
In today’s podcast, Craig Oliver talks to Kayleen Schoeman of Business Mentors New Zealand via Regional Development Agency Venture Taranaki. Kayleen, acts as the Program Coordinator in, Taranaki, she has helped 100's of business owners find mentors for the challenges that they face. Kayleen has worked with all kinds of businesses including, Liqourland. The mentoring program has helped its owner, Amie Murphy build a customer base. As a result, she is able to find the right focus for her business. For Green Meadows beef, their mentor helped them manage cash flow through growth, build a new production facility, and establishing a growing a market in a new business. For Kayleen, this program is similar to a professional matchmaking service. Her role is to manage and recruit mentors to the program. She then matches the businesses with the new mentors. When the clients come in, she interviews them and finds out what their challenges are. She also sizes up their personality and finds out what the client’s expectations are of a business mentor. Her current target market consists of startup small-to medium-business owners who are interested in a six-month accelerated mentoring program that may need that extra push and guidance in putting a comprehensive business plan together. The other main target markets are for businesses that have less than twenty five staff members. She also manages a community mentoring program designed for community groups and non-profit organizations. Typically, most of Kayleen’s clients press for marketing because that where they feel they need the most assistance. However, she has found that strategic planning and staff management were some of the other main challenges that she has been approached for. Often once the work with the mentor has started and they have peeled back the layers of the business, they find that other factors come into play. The benefit of having a mentor is that clients are able to have a sounding board with somebody who has no emotional connection to their business. Mentors are able to brainstorm with them and even give their unbiased opinion. Having a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at their business model helps. For a one-time registration fee of $225 plus GST, businesses get free mentoring services for twelve months. However
37 minutes | Jul 4, 2016
The story of Green Meadows Beef, and the success of their Paddock to Plate business model
Green Meadows Beef is an unique family business providing grass feed beef direct to the consumer. This is the story how the Carey family have built their business of providing raw materials to the end user and the way they have used social media to take it to market Today’s guest is Nick Carey, Director and General Manager of Green Meadows Beef based in Taranaki. Green Meadows Beef is a unique family business who have built their business primarily using online and social media platforms. The business has experienced tremendous growth over the last five years. Craig and Nick talk about what started as an offbeat idea that has become big business for his family. In 2012, his family decided they wanted to add value to their products. This propelled them to launch a paddock to plate system. This involved shipping products from their farm through their own processing and distribution channels. Their direct-to-market through online sales has formed a big growth part of their business. Nick’s father, suggested for them to try and market their beef product directly to the consumer. They sat together as a family and formed a new way to get their products to the market, and soon, they recognized the opportunity of selling online. This propelled them to launch a paddock to plate system. This involved shipping products from their farm through their own processing and distribution channels. Their direct-to-market through online sales has formed a big growth part of their business. Nick started his career as a commercial lawyer in Wellington and New Plymouth His role in this new family business was in the development, branding, and logistics. Soon enough this was taking most of his time and he eventually decided he needed to quit his job as a lawyer. That was a leap of faith for Nick, who has had to adjust to being an entrepreneur. There were four key problems Green Meadows Beef was solving for the consumer. These were (1) Time saving (2) Ease of purchase (3) Quality assurance, (4) Provenance. Nick and Craig also talk about how wildly successful My Food Bag has become. It is a website that allows it’s customers to order a f
41 minutes | Jun 27, 2016
Charlotte Ward - Silk Spa - Owner of multi award winning Beauty Spa on the benefits of making time to work on your business.
In today’s episode, Craig interviews Charlotte Ward, the owner of Silk Spa, an award winning beauty therapy clinic in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Awarded New Zealand’s Top Salon in 2014 and a finalist for New Zealand’s Best Clinic/Spa for 2013, Westpac Business Excellence Award winners for Employer of Choice and Service Excellence. Silk was also the regional winner of the North Taranaki Supreme Top Shop Awards for 2012/2013. Charlotte has an interesting story to tell as a business owner. She started out working part-time because she was a mother. She had a skill set she knew she could use and she went for it. Her awards didn’t come immediately. She strived towards them. She never rested on her laurels. Among her biggest challenges and learnings was trying to juggle her time in between her baby’s needs. She worked on the floor and had someone assist her with her baby. She also woke up at 4am to do some work. In the last couple of years, she has been able to pull out of giving treatments herself and focusing more on running the business. She is now concentrate of the marketing of the business. Charlotte has an interesting take on her own transition from being a mum to being a business owner. She describes running a business and a household to be similar, except that her staff was more reasonable than her children. However, she was constantly faced with juggling her time between her children and her business. The Silk Team is composed of women who have a strong passion for what they do and for Silk. Working in a fast-paced industry, Charlotte says that she and her staff focus on keeping up with the latest developments. Being in the beauty industry no longer means that painting nails is enough. She says that there are new treatments out and it’s constantly evolving. Silk has won several awards, and Charlotte credits her team for these. She explains how awards highlight the need for processes and systems in the business, and that this even related to the service awards. It is all about the client receiving a consistent experience. Saying this the winning of the awards didn’t come overnight for Charlotte and her team, there was a lot of trial and error to find the best solution.
35 minutes | Jun 27, 2016
Sam Tyson - 2015 Master Plumber of the Year. The importance of seeing yourself as a businessperson rather than a trades person.
Today, Craig Oliver of the Project Guys, interviews Sam Tyson of Climate. Climate are plumbers, gas fitters and HVAC specialists. In 2015, Climate was awarded New Zealand Master Plumber of the Year. Sam and her husband, Lee, a former police officer, took over the business six years ago. Both had no previous experience in the plumbing or HVAC industries but were able to perform well. Sam had a business development role and was working with the previous business owner of Climate. It came to a point in his business where he wanted to sell off a part of his business, and over a cup of coffee, convinced her that this would be a good opportunity for her to purchase. Six weeks later, they were in the throes of it. Sam and Lee felt they were quite a good team and that they would work together quite well. This has proven to be true. What appealed to Sam was the concept that everybody needs to be warm in their homes. She also saw that there were areas where they could grow and expand their business. They started with 7 employees and over the years, their business has grown and now has 27 employees. There have been some highs and lows and realizing that they needed a more balanced income through the years, they bought a plumbing company and made a planned integration into their business. This has worked really well for them. In 2014, another plumbing company approached them. They did the negotiation dance with the owner and within a month, they purchased the company and integrated it into their systems. Dealing with domestic plumbing issues became their battle cry because it threw them and everyone became very active. When Sam and Lee first purchased the business, their main focus was to get their under the table, get into it, and learn it from the ground up. She also had to learn the sales side of it. Their first year was about survival. Sam equated it to having a new born baby and having no idea what she was getting into. She then got through it as best as she can, putting one foot in front of another. Being a woman and being new to the business has been helpful because she came into the business without her ego and was able to ask the guys what they should be doing. It was a change for them because they were used to having somebody in charge, telling them what to do rather than somebody asking them what they should be doing. They had to change their thinking and put more ownership into their work. Sam has been successful inte
42 minutes | Jun 9, 2016
Sarah Lee of Job Squad The Importance of a Written Job Description in Recruitment and How to Attract the Best Candidates.
Sarah Lee, General Manager of The Job Squad, runs a company that recruits potential employees for businesses During the Dot Com Boom, Sarah came to New Zealand as an IT employee, working on a project in Toys R Us, designing a system for them. Then she thought she could make some money putting some contractors there herself. In the bigger cities, recruitment is based on job descriptions and finding the skills to match them. However in provincial areas such as Taranaki, 85% of the jobs go through word of mouth and shoulder tapping. However, Sarah warns that this is not a good practice. Personalities have to match the job. There are three types of people, according to Sarah. The Firestarters, Lawnmowers, and Well Poisoners. A Firestarter is someone like her where nothing is a challenge and everything is possible. A Lawnmower comes in and is behind a Firestarter. Well Poisoners can go in and poison the pulp of a company within three days. As an example, on Facebook, Firestarters start the thread. Lawnmowers like and share the post. Well Poisoners make the negative comments. You would want to hire a Firestarter for a startup company and trust their instincts. On working with family, Sarah advises against it. She says it is one of the worst mistakes you can make and it’s going to be a nightmare for employees to deal with. When writing a job description, be very, very specific. Do not cut and paste from templates. You need to be honest because people respond to honesty. Her job descriptions have a different flavor. She avoids clichés. Her title for an advertisement for a bath company was “Is the Bath Half Full?” She also put in a lot of terms common to the industry. As a result, she is able to screen applicants. The ones that get the meaning or the message are clever enough to have worked out it’s for a bath company. They’ve read the ad and are bright enough to pick up her little messages in there. Her screening is done. If she gets a lot of people from overseas or foreigners, they don’t get the humor or the sarcasm or any of that, so they screen themselves out. There’s a method to the madness, according to Sarah. If you cut and paste someone else’s job as most people seek and try to do, you’re always gonna get what you’ve always got. If you want a real person to fit your business, you have to stand out. One of the main mistakes employers make is
3 minutes | Jun 8, 2016
Episode 000 - Introduction to The Project Guys Podcast.
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