Focus on the Bay of Plenty

Posted by The Icehouse on 20/06/2023 12:00:00 AM

The Icehouse runs dedicated programmes and coaching services for Bay of Plenty business owners and their teams. It’s a privilege to work with talented and passionate business owners, leaders, and their people, who share a desire to unleash the exceptional economic potential of the beautiful Bay. 

Focus on the Bay of Plenty_ Blog_Image

Located on the central northeastern coast of New Zealand’s north island, the Bay of Plenty contributes 6% of the nation’s total GDP, boasts an annual GDP of $15,833 million and a compound annual growth rate of 7% per year over the past decade (Ministry of Innovation, Business & Employment, 2021). 

Tourism, hospitality and agricultural services play a significant part in keeping the Bay working – migrant seasonal workers constitute approximately 9% of Bay of Plenty’s workforce (MBIE). 

The current mood among the business owners we speak to is cautious – due to concerns about the economy, inflation, and a host of other familiar challenges organisations locally and country-wide negotiate on a regular basis.

“This reflects the critical conversations I'm having with owners right now,” says Jamie Brock, Icehouse Business Owner Programme Director, Bay of Plenty Regional Lead, and Icehouse coach. “However, the canny business owners are making use of this time; thinking about where their business lies currently, what they want to get over the line in the next few months, and what they need to do more of.

“The region’s faced numerous challenges since Covid but has been pretty resilient. The mood is settling down, but there is a nervousness and cautiousness around what’s ahead, despite many of the businesses I talk to achieving and exceeding their budgets.” 

If now is a good time to reset, recover and plan, what can owners do today to strengthen the business? “These are the ideal moments to take stock and examine what needs attention – the things owners simply haven’t had time to address these past few years. Popular topics at the moment are culture, people, leadership, sales & marketing – all are an excellent use of any sort of quieter period.”

This echoes Aaron Harvey’s Business Owner Programme experience (a practical six-month Programme for Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay business owners.) Aaron is Operations Manager at Rapid Lawn in Papamoa and a Programme alumni. “My job is probably more general management at this stage and the staff management side is very important. We have close to 30 staff, and I picked up some really good tools around managing staff properly, building morale and the importance of keeping good people.” 

Top of the wish list among many of our Business Owner Programme alumni is a desire to tap into a diverse local community (Pakihi Māori make up 12% of businesses compared to 6% nationwide, according to Statistics NZ), sharing experiences with other business owners, and utilising the power of the Bay’s – and The Icehouse’s –  extensive business network.

“I was absolutely blown away to be part of it [Business Owner Programme]. I loved it and just sitting in the room, hearing people's origin stories and what they do and why they do it was unbelievable,” says Ray Everest, founder and owner of Future Focus in Tauranga. 

“I want people out there, especially Māori and Pacifica, and women in business, to know that [the Programme] can really affirm that what you are doing is brilliant – and also fill some important business gaps. 

“[I loved] hearing from the other business owners – their struggles, how they're getting through them, how they're pivoting, what sort of level of innovation they're trying to attract or create, where they struggled and what didn't work.” 

Nathan Hall, Managing Director of Chemwash Rotorua and Hamilton, is a Business Owner Programme and Icehouse coaching alumni. “On the Programme, it was good being able to sit with a group of other business owners. Whether it’s staff or work or whatever, you've all gone through the same thing at different times. Being able to talk to other business owners in a safe environment… you can be pretty open and honest around what you’re doing.”

Nathan is equally enthused about his Icehouse coaching experience. “Without Jamie [Brock], we probably wouldn't be in business anymore. It got to the point where I didn't enjoy coming to work. We started using Jamie in May 2021. The big thing for us is the accountability that you get. You’re a business owner, the guy at the top, everybody looks to you, but who's holding you accountable for the things you need to be doing? 

“Jamie came in and said, ‘You guys have got to sort your structure out. You’ve got to work out who's doing what and how are you going to do it?’ It was quite simple, but we needed somebody to show us how to do it. We've been meeting with Jamie monthly ever since because we can see the value he adds to the business as a whole.”

A critical agricultural and horticultural hub with a unique forestry and wood products industry, the presence of major ports for international trade, and a thriving tourism and hospitality sector boosted by exceptional energy and manufacturing industries, the Bay holds a special place in NZ business and we’re proud to support its astonishing potential.
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Topics: Jamie Brock, Coaching, Business Owner Programme