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.