Drainage Plus NZ Ltd is a drain-laying company owned by Alan Gardner that is fresh out of the blocks. With fourteen years’ experience behind him working in drainage Alan has had no problems growing his business from a one-man operation to taking on staff and looking for more within four months of starting.
Like many business people Alan never started out thinking he would go into business. After leaving school, he worked in a factory making farm products and eventually gained an opportunity to work as a drainlayers apprentice. Alan loves working outdoors and getting to use all the ‘big boys’ toys as part of his job, as well as having the opportunity to help people with their drainage requirements. A personal connection to Aaran McLeod from Advanced Accounting found him encouraged to start his own company with Aaran coaching him through the process. Alan felt he was ‘just a drainlayer’ (he’s not), so Aaran ironed out the process of starting a business for him.
One year in Drainage Plus NZ Ltd has experienced strong growth. Now a team of three and ready to expand to include more employees Alan has had to work hard on the tools and juggle the bookwork at night. With wife Lara at home from her job at Westpac on maternity leave, she has been able to take on some of the accounts to free up more time for Alan to focus on other areas.
With Aaran having already helped Alan set-up his business by offering invaluable advice and support, Alan knew he’d likely get something out of attending the Advanced Accounting Business Development Group (BDG).While he was concerned that his business experience was short and that it may impact what he got out of the course he found that it was ‘actually brilliant’. Alan found that regardless of where you are at in business you can apply what you learn however you want and get great reference material that will be useful into the future.
Alan gained a lot from BDG and found it was nice to get away from the day to day running of his business to look at things from a distance, and to spend time with people who understand what it’s like to be in business. Identifying strengths and weaknesses at the beginning of the course helped to focus him on what he needed to work on. Alan gained value from watching how others dealt with challenges and enjoyed celebrating the successes together and offering support to each other in a trusting and confidential environment. The importance of setting up good systems and writing down processes were key learning points that Alan has taken away with him. He also gained more knowledge about how to run a business and learned from others’ experiences. Alan and Lara feel it definitely had an impact on the business with better staff interactions and great business growth. They identified that they needed to think about cashflow and preparing for risks that could affect their business, which in their case a big one is the weather. Alan also learned a new approach to recruiting staff to maintain good team culture and that he needed to keep ahead of new technologies and maintain a competitive edge.
Alan recommends the BDG to anyone in business no matter how long they’ve been operating, finding it has set him up for a great start and made him think about things he would not have otherwise considered. With a future vision to grow to a size where he can step back a bit more and spend time with his family Drainage Plus NZ Ltd is on track to a successful future.
Peter Wintringham is a man with plans that are executed with precision. Starting from the age of sixteen he has mapped his pathway towards a successful future, pursuing his dreams and passions with conviction.
Pete’s journey started at the end of a broom in an engineering workshop where his fascination with welding saw him practising welds during his lunchbreak. Eager to get on the tools fulltime Pete wasn’t going to wait around for a paid apprenticeship, opting instead to pay for his own. By the age of twenty he’d set himself up with a contracting business and purchased his first home. At the age of twenty-two Pete’s outlook on life was shaken when he found himself in the midst of the Bali bombing and decided he wanted to get out there and see a bit more of the world. Selling up his house to go and explore Pete wanted to make sure he didn’t lose everything he’d worked so hard for, so he based himself in the industrial hub of Birmingham and worked in engineering departments at a chemical plant and a titanium manufacturing plant to develop his career and see the world, gaining experience he would otherwise never get in New Zealand. After ten years Pete and his partner drove around the world on their way back home to New Zealand.
Reigniting his business TIG Stainless Ltd in 2014 Pete has gone from strength to strength putting in many hours to grow his business with a reputation that is ‘stainless’. Pete specialises in servicing, building and installation of critical-hygiene engineering and welding, taking on projects from some of the largest local food, dairy and chemical producers.
After seeing the Advanced Accounting Business Development Group (BDG) advertised and attending the pre-taster course, Pete thought he’d give it a go, especially since CEDA funding was available which was a useful incentive. Pete wanted to experience how other businesses navigated their way through challenges and found the breathing room away from the intensity of his workload to be a welcome change. He felt he always came away feeling more positive and recognised that business can be a really, lonely and isolating place. Connecting with other people and observing other’s strengths and weaknesses was very fulfilling and of great value. It’s also an aspect of business development that Pete is interested in continuing.
A new vantage point helped Pete look at his business overall and helped him make some necessary changes. He realised that “you don’t know what you don’t know” after being exposed to new ideas and good guidance from Aaran. Help with identifying time-consuming tasks that he could easily outsource led to making some great choices towards freeing up some time.
After regularly working more than eighty hours per week Pete is finally having weekends off, managing his time better, being more structured and is thinking about what type of lifestyle he wants to have. He has also recognised how crucial it is to have time to spend on your business rather than just working in it and he has been working on putting good systems in place and streamlining processes. Having completed the course Pete knows what areas he needs to work on and the content he has come away with gives him constant access to the information.
Pete drives himself at full speed and holds himself to impeccably high-standards and making the choice to grow his team has been a tough one. After attending BDG he felt encouraged to make the decision and he’s proud of the two tradespeople he’s brought on to join his team which he selected for their high-quality workmanship.
Gaining new tools to examine and assess your business and identify weaknesses as well as networking with other business people were really worthwhile aspects of BDG and Peter would recommend it to other business owners.
The future for TIG Stainless Ltd is to continue developing their cutting-edge technology and grow the team so that polished, high-quality work can continue to be delivered in a high demand industry.