Business Development Group is an Ingredient in BABCO’s Success Story

Business Development Group is an Ingredient in BABCO’s Success Story

Jeremy and Alice Hocquard have the ingredients for success that have put Brick and Artisan Bread CompanyBABCO—on the map.  Starting two years ago with pizza ovens and a food truck, as they prepared for the huge investment of setting up a bakery, they made the move to their current location after one year in business. Just a year after opening their bakery on Albert Street in Palmerston North they’ve already expanded into the next-door shop and refurbished.  BABCO is a bakery that is becoming iconic, but according to Jeremy they are simply rising to the challenges they’ve laid out for themselves.

Jeremy has taken an interesting path towards opening a bakery having at first studied vet science straight out of school before realising he didn’t want to pursue that interest any further. He went on to study music in Wellington and it was there that he found himself working in the hospitality industry and discovered an interest in food.  After breaking his back Jeremy couldn’t work for a couple of years while he dealt with surgery and recovery, but that didn’t stop him from using his downtime to learn more.  Combining his love of food and strengths in science Jeremy gained a food science degree majoring in wine science.  He spent four years working within the industry in the Hawkes Bay before moving to Palmerston North to study photography and design at UCOL where he met Alice who was doing a videography major.

BABCO is not the first business that Jeremy and Alice have owned having previously started a photography, videography and design company together.  Jeremy also spent six and a half years setting up and working in E-commerce businesses but got sick of sitting in front of computers.  He felt the pull towards food, and with a science degree specialising in fermentation, creating artisan pizza and bread were good options. With business experience and the ability to create their own top-notch marketing and branding materials their plans were baking hot!  BABCO has experienced phenomenal growth with Jeremy and Alice both working incredibly long hours to keep things running smoothly and manage the growing pains.

Jeremy heard about Advanced Accountings Business Development Group (BDG) through his brother-in-law who had taken part in it the previous year and recommended it. While their business was running well they recognised it was important to make sure they were doing the best job possible to achieve their goals.

Jeremy feels the BDG has been great for BABCO and he has implemented useful strategies he learned through attending the course. He has enjoyed observing how other businesses work and has created better systems for tracking his progress.  Jeremy and Alice no longer refer to their employees as staff preferring instead to focus on viewing them as a team.  They’ve also instilled a sense of accountability into their team culture where everybody owns up to their part in a problem and moves on. BDG has definitely made an impact on their business resulting in taking a step back and handing some jobs like system creation to other team members so that Alice and Jeremy can focus on their larger plans.  They gained the support they needed to push go on their plans to expand into the next-door shop and have even adjusted their plans for the future.  Jeremy and Alice have lots of dedicated planning and goal-setting sessions and have a five-year plan for their business expansion.  They’re committed to their investment of working long hours in the short-term in order to achieve their goals to bring more food-based outlets to Palmerston North and they’re both eager to get on with their plans.

Jeremy has recommended the BDG to other business owners feeling that it has been incredibly valuable to BABCO and future business plans.  Being introduced to new content on the course allowed him to step-back and assess his business in a new way and helped him take a new direction.  Working with Aaran McLeod helped Jeremy and Alice maximise the potential of their future plans because Jeremy and Alice don’t do anything half-baked—watch this space.


The Business Development Group laid Strong Foundations for Success for Drainage Plus NZ Ltd

The Business Development Group laid Strong Foundations for Success for Drainage Plus NZ Ltd

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.

TIG Stainless Ltd Built Strong Relationships at Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group

TIG Stainless Ltd Built Strong Relationships at Advanced Accounting’s Business Development Group

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.

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.