Case Study: Jason Snashall, Yacht Broker & Owner of Orakei Marine

Posted by Kate De Lautour on May 9, 2024 9:31:09 AM

 Jason Snashall was introduced to The Icehouse by the BNZ at a time when he needed help, now he wants to share the same message with other business owners.

Jason Snashall is a yacht broker and the owner of Orakei Marine in Auckland, a company specializing in both new and used boat sales and service while also managing Orakei Marina. Chatting to the BNZ led to a conversation about how The Icehouse could help him grow his business and a BNZ scholarship gave him the push he needed to join the Owner Manager Programme.


Jason Snashall

| Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you passionate about?

When it comes to my business, I'm certainly passionate about boating which is what's led me into the business I'm in today. I love everything to do with getting out on the water. I'm regularly scuba diving or out fishing. Whatever I'm doing, I'm not too far from the water.

My family didn't grow up with boats. I think it was the scarcity of boating that drew me to it. I'm from Perth, Western Australia, and I grew up on Scarborough Beach. I was introduced to scuba diving at school, and I loved it. I joined the Australian Navy as a clearance diver back in 1993 and that’s where I learned how to drive boats, maintain boats and it really ignited my passion for boating.

| You started the business Orakei Marine – how did that come about?

I worked on super yachts for eight years and while on one in Bermuda, I met my Kiwi wife. Eventually, we settled down here in Auckland and as I didn't know the New Zealand landscape, I didn't have a hell of a lot going for me really - who wanted to hire a captain, an engineer and scuba diver with a business degree? But I put it all together and started a business. And that's where we are today - doing everything marine and boating and putting all my years of knowledge in the marine industry to work for private clients.

| How did managing the Marina extend into the boat brokerage business?

I had a business partner back in the early days and with our knowledge of the marine industry, we started providing services to the berth holders here. We provided good honest Kiwi service to boaties. And then one day a client came in and asked us to sell his boat because we knew it better than anyone else and he liked our fresh honest approach. Our boat brokerage business was born and now we are the dealers for the likes of Jeanneau Sail & Power, Prestige Yachts, Wellcraft, Amel and Fleming Yachts.

| What's a piece of advice that you would give yourself knowing what you know now in terms of business?

It would be to not take things in business personally. Everything I’ve done was about following my heart and the things I enjoyed, and I put a lot of love and dedication into my business and my clients. When I made a mistake, I would take it personally. That’s one of the many things I have learned from the Icehouse - you have to make mistakes and when you get knocked down you just need to get back up and keep going. Another big take-home I got from the Icehouse was working on resilience and taking time for myself. I now have a non-negotiable regime where no matter what, no matter how busy the business is, I take off to see a personal trainer twice a week - I'm even rebuilding a car with my son and doing French lessons at the moment too.

| What led you to The Icehouse Owner Manager Programme and what changes have you made since then?

Covid was incredibly tough, and I was making the sort of decisions I had never had to make in my life. Decisions that affected my staff, my business, and my family but I got through it and then we had “the great resignation” which hit us hard and at that point I was really looking for help.

I was scanning the internet, listening to podcasts, reading books and then a contact from the BNZ introduced me to The Icehouse. I’ve been with the BNZ bank for a long time, and they have always been fantastic – they gave me a scholarship to help me get into The Icehouse for which I am very thankful.

I was blown away in the first Icehouse session and I spent the time really working on the business. I didn't realize there was so much help out there and the help also came from the other colleagues in my group, they were having the same issues, and we were all working out how to deal with it.

I realised that the business needed to be more professional with organizational charts and good job descriptions – I had been shooting from the hip up until then, and now I'm running the business as a proper business. The new structure that I created opened doors for me to make the new hires I needed including a general manager who has got my back. Now when I'm taking a break, I know that someone's there to support me and I’ve got great management in place. And the place runs when I'm not here, which means I can get to the boat shows I need to travel to and for the first time I can take a holiday in January with my family.

It wasn’t rocket science but I just couldn't see it in front of me. I really did feel like I was swimming in an ocean alone.

| What's a personal or professional goal that you're currently working towards?

I would like to see if there's a way of helping others who are facing the issues I've been through because one of the things that really got me through the tough stuff was that camaraderie of the people in The Icehouse getting behind me and telling me that there was light at the end of the tunnel. And so, a future goal for me will be to try and help others in that scenario as well.



Learn more about the Owner Manager Programme here.

Learn more about our partnership with BNZ here.


Topics: Case Studies, Auckland, BNZ, Owner Manager Programme

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