“Prior to joining TAB the opportunity to share my ideas and
day to day issues was limited to my accountant and some of my senior staff.
Having an opportunity to meet with other business owners with remarkably
similar issues was empowering.”
“Since joining TAB I have resolved a number of difficult employment-related issues, but more importantly gave me the motivation to step back long enough and complete a Strategic Plan, with the invaluable assistance of Karen Van Eden. Critical for our future growth and longevity.”
“TAB gives me an environment that challenges me as an
individual and reminds me of my responsibility to my staff and customers”
“Bruce is a treasure of experience and professional
connections of which I have taken advantage. One on One Coaching has help me
confirm my thoughts and provided connection with other professionals to help
resolve issues that ultimately strengthened my business. I would have no
hesitation in recommending Bruce and Karen and TAB to any business owner. You
don’t need to go it alone.”
“I felt quite lost and drowning in my weekly responsibilities, that is, until I became a member of The Alternative Board,”says Barbara Rivers, Managing Director of The Makers Atelier in Christchurch. The Makers’ are a curtain and soft furnishings manufacturer with a work space of 190 square metres and 9 staff.
Barbara finds value in being involved in The Alternative Board peer group process.
“I was in two minds as to either startup fresh or purchase a business with clients, staff and production in place. The business I purchased had a good name but was in a state of being rundown and required a lot of energy, marketing and customer relations. The latter two, marketing and customer relations, were things which I knew I was good at.”“My biggest challenge was that I was pouring money in each month to keep the business going, paying staff, working with old pricing structures, and the challenges that I had were make or break for the success of the business,” she adds.
“Working with The Alternative Board has helped me realise that these are growth stages. I have been given tips to deal with these challenges, in a controlled and practical manner.”“There’s a real respect with the other Board Members of The Alternative Board. I see results quickly after each Board Meeting because I’m empowered to do so. It has been an invaluable process for me because I felt quite lost and drowning in my week-to-week duties and responsibilities. Having the backup support of The Alternative Board has helped me to achieve and grow each month.”
Barbara has learned lessons from being a Member of The Alternative Board.
“The biggest change I have seen in me has been accepting that I am the boss and not just a co-worker. I believe that the staff are happier in their working environment now. With the help of The Alternative Board, I’ve become very clear on our business message and vision.”
Barbara’s top tip to other business owners is to work in your new business for a year before you make changes.
“Understand it and its cycles and, most importantly, ask the customers what they value before you change.”
The Alternative Board peer group process of accountability allows Barbara to ensure she keeps very clear with her business message and vision.
Lee Dewerson has put in the hard graft and for many years has worked 60-hour weeks relentlessly, learning all there is to know about the Audio-Visual technology world. Lee is now a Co-Owner and Operator of Safe N Sound Limited, a high-end retailer and installer of audio-visual systems, which has branches in New Zealand and Australia.
Lee finds value in being involved in The Alternative Board peer group process.
“Despite starting out as an electrician, my true passion was always audio. So about 15 years ago, I worked in the automation side of things for various companies in Auckland. I wanted to suss out the industry and learn all there is to know about the audio field. I got to the stage where I was ready to go out on my own. This hard work has led me to where I am today, with my own business.”
Being a Member of TAB has provided Lee with lots of lessons—an important lesson includes being more deliberate and taking the necessary time to do things right.
“I’ve learned to take my time and not to rush things. Things take time. I now make sure that I know exactly what the client wants and the best way to do it. I ensure that I understand all of the products and all of the people involved. By attending Board Meetings you learn a lot about your own business. You also learn a lot about yourself, especially from different perspectives.”
Lee explains further.
“When you run your own business, you can get narrow minded and tunnel vision can easily set in, especially as there just aren’t enough of you at that one level. It is good to have everyone’s opinion. I’ve resolved several issues while sat at the Board table with the other Members.”
Lee’s other tips to business owners are to make sure that capital is available to fund growth, work as much as possible, don’t give in and, most importantly, don’t overspend. The Alternative Board peer group process provides the support and accountability that allows Lee to stay true to these tips.
Robyn Lonsdale is General Manager and part owner of the well-established Temple Water Technologies Limited, which has been in operation for 17 years. Robyn works alongside her husband Chris Lonsdale, who is the Founding Director of this water treatment solution provider, primarily to the dairy industry. Robyn gives an insight into the history of Temple Water,
“I joined Temple Water 10 years ago to help out my husband, Chris. Even at that time, though, we both knew that we would benefit from professional coaching to fully develop the true potential of the business.”
Robyn explains how they came to be Members of The Alternative Board.
“The global dairy crisis hit, and it was in this environment that I got a call introducing me to The Alternative Board. My curiosity was piqued. Deep down I knew we needed help to get through this time, as achieving our goals seemed to be getting harder. It didn’t seem to me that we would get there on our own.”
Robyn made the commitment to The Alternative Board and hasn’t looked back.
“I went to a sample board meeting and was most impressed with the process. Not only did we get a personal coach but we got access to all the other wisdom and experience held by the other Board Members, who are business owners.”
Robyn explains further,
“At our Board Meetings we discuss the issues we are dealing with. All of us have different issues at different times and have tried different things to overcome them, and I’m finding ‘pearls’ every time we gather around the Boardroom table. These people have no other agenda, just my best interest and the best interest of my business, and that is priceless. The Membership fee is structured in a realistic way to the size of our business making the coaching relationship more sustainable for the long term.”
Temple Water has seen positive business growth from being a Member of The Alternative Board.
“Since beginning our relationship with The Alternative Board we have incorporated another business, creating a satellite of ourselves in the local area, and we now have 6 employees. My Board helped me with the challenges of staff, as we haven’t really experienced this area of the business before, whereas others on the Board have.”
During tough economical times, Robyn chose to trust the peer group process of The Alternative Board. In turn, by trusting the process, Robyn has grown as a business woman, and, importantly, her business has grown, too. Robyn urges other business owners to explore The Alternative Board process.
“Learn to trust the process and the shared challenges of the other Board Members. It is a growth process and all of us who sit around the Board table get lifted up by the process, knowing it is a safe place to share our challenges with one another and help out with wise and creative solutions.”
Most people don’t go into business to do the books, but Craig Hibbert did!
As part-owner of a retail sports store for 25 years, Craig was responsible for keeping the books, but, like a lot of small business owners, he had no idea what he was doing. Craig chose to up-skill and qualified as an Accounting Technician with the New Zealand Institute of CharteredAccountants.
Craig founded ‘Bookworks’ in 2004, motivated by the continual avalanche of client records which he’d received in shoe boxes. Craig’s forte is fixing messes in his clients’ software.
Craig finds value in being involved in The Alternative Board peer group process.
“Running your own business by yourself is lonely, having the understanding and support of the other Members has been crucial in my decisions. Sitting around the Boardroom table, with my peers, has shown me that I am not alone. I spend most of my time fixing clients’ software messes, as well as training and supporting my clients in a one-on-one situation,” he explains. “I am an Approved Trainer for MYOB, QuickBooks and Xero, and because of these accounting qualifications, I bring that extra level of knowledge and experience, filling the gap between client and accountant, because having been in both positions, I know that neither one understands the other very well.”
“I’ve learned to take more time over my decisions in order to consider all aspects. I now make the decision for myself and not the others, when it’s right for me and because it’s right for me.”
Craig attributes the success of his business to the approach of treating his clients and their businesses as though they are his own, and by doing what he says he’ll do when he says he’s going to do it. The Alternative Board peer group process allows Craig to remain true to his word by enabling him to be consistently and consciously accountable within the business world.
“I urge all small business owners to seek support and advice from others when and where you need it and, importantly, that you act upon that advice.”