Business Development Group offers new insights to Advanced Accounting business partner Marko de Vries

Business Development Group offers new insights to Advanced Accounting business partner Marko de Vries

Business Development Group offers new insights to Advanced Accounting business partner Marko de Vries

At Advanced Accounting Aaran McLeod brought business partner Marko de Vries to the team two years ago.  For the first year Marko worked as an employee while they went through a careful process of making sure they could work together effectively and were a good fit for running a company together.  Good team culture is important at Advanced Accounting, and fortunately it was what Marko was looking for too.  He also needed to get his head around what it would be like moving from employee to business owner, a position he had not been in before.

Marko has a strong background in accounting and finance. Finding he had a natural affinity for numbers he had trained first in accounting and then completed a BBS majoring in Finance at Massey University. After finishing his training Marko worked in the accounts department at The Manawatu Standard for a short time before gaining employment at local finance company —Speirs Finance.  Looking to connect with friends and family overseas Marko took off on a working holiday landing himself a job as an investment banker in London in a large corporate environment. He returned six months later to a job at accounting firm Brumby Simpson Partners Ltd which eventually got taken over by accounting firm Allan McNeill.  It was through his employment there that he received excellent mentoring and was able to work his way through becoming a registered chartered accountant (CA).  Marko spent seven years at Allan McNeill before the opportunity to work with Aaran McLeod arose and offered what he’d been looking for—a chance for growth in his career.

Aaran and Marko recognised that their different personalities were complementary. It meant they had their own specialist areas based on their strengths.  They learned to respect each other’s boundaries and adapted when necessary to suit each other’s quirks.  Aaran is a more fast-paced action man who comes up with ideas, whereas Marko is more considered and operations focused.  Both of them have similar values, are family oriented, and possess a strong drive to help people achieve their goals.

Running Advanced Accountings Business Development Group (BDG) is Aaran’s domain – he is passionate about supporting people in business and bringing them together in a supportive environment.  Marko was under no pressure to attend but felt intrigued, and despite being an accountant, he had only been in the shoes of an employee, so he felt it would be a good course to gain a look at the whole picture of business ownership.

The benefits gained from attending BDG have been multi-faceted allowing Marko to learn more about looking ahead and making plans for business in the future as well as gaining a lot from listening to other business people’s experiences.  Marko knows that a lot of what he learned will be useful advice for his clients and feels he has a much fuller knowledge of many aspects of business ownership, identifying that it is more than just financial.

Marko’s position as someone entering into a business partnership was unique amongst the BDG but turned out to be a great opportunity to understand the theory behind the practise of how Advanced Accounting already operates.  He was able to verify that Aaran practises what he preaches and felt grateful for the team culture Aaran had worked hard to grow.  Marko learned what working on your business entails and feels he has a much fuller knowledge of business in theory and practise with the advantage of seeing business through a variety of different business owner’s eyes.  While he’d experienced in practise the benefits of a clear organisational structure, leadership and the importance of having a strong vision and purpose, having the opportunity to visit the theory was useful and insightful.

BDG helped Marko make more inroads in his transition from employee to business owner and helped him identify responsibilities that he hadn’t considered before.  He knows that business is not easy and that it can be a scary and isolating experience if you don’t have other business people to talk with. It also helped to fine-tune the way Advanced Accounting do things with Marko and Aaran working from the same content and reinforcing their practises.  Marko found there were always new insights to be gained from listening to others which suited his natural philosophy of always learning.

Marko can see the benefits for someone in his position—moving from employee to business owner—attending the BDG pointing out that “you don’t know what you don’t know” and he would recommend the Business Development Group to business owners at any stage of their journey through business.

Experience and Business Development have been a Recipe for Success at Boho Café.

Experience and Business Development have been a Recipe for Success at Boho Café.

Experience and Business Development have been a Recipe for Success at Boho Café.

Jeanine Gribbin and Mace Cook brought an ‘eclectic’ mix of background experiences to their business Boho Café located in Awapuni, Palmerston North.  Mace is an IT Business Analyst and Jeanine has a large helping of experience, from working as a customs broker, lashings of hospitality work (here and overseas), to fundraising and management in the not for profit sector.  In amongst this Jeanine completed a master’s degree in creative and performing arts management.

Jeanine and Mace spent fifteen years together with their children in Auckland but always wanted a lifestyle they felt they couldn’t achieve there.   Six years ago, they moved to Carterton, Mace and Jeanine knew they still had a move to make.  Mace wasn’t keen on the daily Wellington commute for his work as an IT business analyst and switched to commuting to Palmerston North. This put the opportunity to move to Palmy and set-up a café in motion.  After six months at home in her semi-rural property, Jeanine felt there was a lot of opportunity in the food scene and decided to set-up a suburban café where she could slot into a cosy community environment which is her happy place.   With good infrastructure already in place (the building had previously been a restaurant and later a pub) Jeanine had had her eye on the place for a while and jumped at the opportunity to set-up her café.

Jeanine’s style suits her ‘Boho’ café.  There is an eclectic display of items from typewriters, teacups, artworks, plants and mismatched furniture in an ever-evolving style.  It blends the old and the new for a one-of-a-kind, life-well-lived look, that expresses their personalities.

Jeanine feels their business is going from strength to strength.  Two years down the track Boho is a licensed café that makes most of their products in-house.  The café is open six days and two nights, can cater for functions both in-house or as out catering, and run their own always sold-out themed nights and events where they partner with a dynamic sommelier to bring some amazing food and wind matches.

While Mace had owned a business before, this is the first business for Jeanine and she recognises the challenges that owning a business presents. Through attending the taster event to the Business Development Group (BDG) Jeanine’s interest was piqued and it appealed to her life-long learning philosophy. She knew that the Business Development Group could be an ingredient for success and was grateful that funding from CEDA assisted her to take part in the ten-month course. Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group helped Jeanine confront issues she knew she should be dealing with that get put aside in the busy-ness of day to day running of her business.  Through spending time together once a month Jeanine felt invigorated by the group.  Support gained from Aaran McLeod and other business group members has kept Jeanine feeling more buoyant and equipped to get through challenges—business ownership can at times be an isolating occupation.  Jeanine feels the content provided offers an ongoing opportunity to improve her business and is a great resource.  Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group has had a massive impact on the way Jeanine runs Boho Café.

She has learned to delegate more, feels empowered, has imbedded core values for employment and has encouraged innovation amongst her team. Systemisation strategies were a great takeaway lesson as well as gaining insights around her own personal development.  While Mace, being a business analyst, is very detailed in his planning Jeanine has more of a ‘get it done’ kind of attitude and has found the BDG provides a good foundation for approaching tasks in a methodical way, providing structure and food for thought.

Jeanine recommends the BDG to other business owners as it allows time and space to work on and grow their businesses. Everybody knows that successful businesses work on their businesses and she has found it rewarding to see growth and development amongst the team.  Watching other businesses achieving key developments through taking part in the course had been exciting.  She feels there was great comradery amongst the group and found the new insights and dynamics refreshing.  They were able to share downtimes, offer encouragement, sometimes find simple solutions, and importantly have a laugh. While their businesses were all unique it was heartening to realise that other businesses have their own challenges.

With their vision firmly in mind Jeanine and Mace have set to work on their long-term plans.  They’ll be growing the events and catering side of their business as well as making sure they keep their existing customers happy. Jeanine’s ‘boho’ attitude lends itself to being agile and able to respond to customer needs.  She knows that there is always much more to do but feels they have made a solid start, and strategies offered by the BDG have contributed positively to their overall vision.

Total Stockcrates Built on Existing Skills at Advanced Accountings Business Development Group

Total Stockcrates Built on Existing Skills at Advanced Accountings Business Development Group

Total Stockcrates Built on Existing Skills at Advanced Accountings Business Development Group

A regal office at Total Stockcrates in Feilding is where you get a window into managing director Robin Fellingham’s unique personality. You can tell a lot about him by looking at his quirky displays and the modified filing cabinets with spanners for handles, which he created himself. There’s also a handy window opposite his desk that provides a view straight into the expansive workshop where a team of seventeen employees work on building and repairing stock crates.

Robin knows stock crate work from the ground up having taken a job as welder gained from skills learned during his time as a fitter and turner in his youth.  Skills he has gathered from having a rural background, experience on dairy farms, as a traffic cop, working in employment consultancy, life insurance, with Coco-Cola and with Amway have offered excellent and diverse training for future business ownership. Owning a lunch bar taught him that owning a business and making a profit were two completely different things.

Through his job as a welder Robin had a business opportunity come his way. After navigating a few difficulties in a business partnership, he decided to go solo and lead his own enterprise. He believes “entrepreneurs don’t start businesses, technicians start businesses and then learn how to do everything else” and he doesn’t subscribe to working remotely, instead finding value in being there day-to-day. If he was going to own a business, he wanted his finger on the pulse and the ability to make decisions when needed without the hassle of consulting others or compromising in areas that he didn’t agree with. He brought skills with his hands, a good understanding of legislation, marketing, and people skills with him in his arsenal of experience.

Taking the risk to start a business has been a good one for Robin who has been at the helm of Total Stockcrates for eighteen years. Robin took part in Advanced Accountings Business Development Group (BDG) because Aaran McLeod came highly recommended to him by his bank manager.  After attending the preview session of BDG he felt that in comparison with previous business coaches he’d experienced, what Aaran offered was great content and support for a reasonable price.

Robin attended BDG with expectations he’d gain a more in-depth understanding of business, and he feels he gained some valuable insights.  He found that overall, he wasn’t doing too badly, and feels that BDG has had an unquantifiable and ongoing impact on his business, and maybe more so on his own personal development.

Robin would recommend BDG to other businesses “in a heartbeat” believing that it is good value for money and “you don’t know what you don’t know”.

Total Stockcrates will be building and repairing stock crates in Feilding with Robin cementing plans for the future in place. With a future mapped out long-term, he has a plan for how he’d like things to go for the next ten years.  There’s a reason he’s put so much time into making his office so comfortable—he’s planning on sticking around.

Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group set new Targets for Hardy Rifle Engineering

Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group set new Targets for Hardy Rifle Engineering

Dan Hardy – Hardy Rifle Engineering

Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group set new Targets for Hardy Rifle Engineering


Hardy Rifle Engineering was built from Dan Hardy’s lifelong passion for hunting and the outdoors as well as his strong interest in engineering, especially in high-quality weapon components.

After initially finding a place to indulge his interests as an Armourer in the military, Dan found himself engineering and building parts for himself and his mates in his spare time as a hobby.  Eventually he decided to leave the military to pursue his passions full-time by launching into his own business where he could focus on high-end engineering and manufacture of guns and component parts.  The shift from working for the military to being in business for himself was a massive change but Dan was up to the challenge.  With his father and other family members being accomplished business people, Dan had business knowledge in the blood and felt it was a very natural progression for him.

After ten years developing and growing Hardy Rifle Engineering Dan took the opportunity to attend Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group (BDG) to continue learning and grow his business.  Dan understands the value of continuous learning but as a man of high standards was only interested in high-quality content.  Aaran McLeod’s professional and straight forward approach seemed like the right choice and didn’t feel pushy or salesy.

Dan hoped to see his business through fresh eyes by attending the BDG and expected to get excited and enthusiastic about developing his business.  He was not disappointed, and feels he got far more than what he expected from the course.  He found that there were many occasions where sharing other group members’ business experiences was incredibly insightful.  Dan has taken a massive amount away from the course finding the content alone was powerful, but what he gained from other’s experiences was also hugely valuable. There were unexpected discoveries too like finding he had underestimated and overlooked the power of marketing.  While his company has an innovative culture, and Dan prides himself on his creativity and new product development, he found he needed to make massive changes around marketing and has since hired a dedicated marketing manager.

BDG made a huge impact on Dan’s business helping him initiate making changes the day after the first session.  The whole team at Hardy Rifle Engineering is evolving as a result of the course. Apart from the revelations around marketing, Dan has explored his company vision and values, worked on building a good team culture, examined their sales techniques, and massively improved their reporting and monitoring processes.  They are collaborating with long action-packed meetings assessing their reporting and monitoring results and making huge achievements.

Dan has already recommended the BDG to other businesses recognising the huge potential for growing and sustaining a profitable business with a great culture.

After spending ten years setting good foundations in place and growing Hardy Rifle Engineering to the business it has become today (employing twelve staff and having international stockists), Dan is excited about the next chapter for his business.  With his sights set on a target to invest himself more into new product development, increasing his team, and establishing a distribution model in U.S.A, Dan expects Hardy Rifle Engineering to experience massive growth in the not so distant future.