Richard Beaumont is Director at Ardmore Nurseries, Founder and Director of start-up, Agovor, and an Owner Manager Programme alumni.
This Kiwi Business Story is based on a podcast from 23 November 2023, and all figures quoted are from that time. You can enjoy the complete podcast here.
What does a day in the life of Richard look like?
It is a little bit different at the moment since we're living in the city of Dublin. We're over here for a year on a second OE with the kids, so they can spend some time with their grandparents. But I'm actually going to be at a co-working space at the Guinness Enterprise Centre, working on a start-up that came out of when we went into lockdown – Agovor, a robotics company.
Tell us more about Agovor.
(Agovor is helping shape the future of horticulture with robotic towing machines)
I find it really exciting. I love new technology… it's about embracing new technology… and if you can be part of the journey with these companies, then you can help with those solutions and make sure that they're the best to meet industry needs, because without that kind of partnership, we're not going to get as quick or as good an outcome.
How did Ardmore Nurseries come about?
It’s a family business. Ardmore Nurseries, at its current site, has been there for 50 years. Prior to that, it was Beaumont’s Nurseries, which was established in 1931 back in Manurewa. That was my grandfather and his father; Harry Beaumont and Arthur Beaumont.
Different family members have owned and run it – my uncles, Barry and Allen, and then my parents, John and Susan. At the moment Kara, my sister, and myself, are the owners. It’s a wholesale plant nursery, selling B2B, primarily for the landscape industry. The family has always had a real passion for plants and that's why it’s stayed in the family – keeping that passion for plants and growing.
What does the business look like today?
It’s a great industry to be involved in – a friendly, happy place to work. There's lots of plants everywhere! There's a great team culture. We spent a lot of work in building that culture, which has been really beneficial. [There’s been] a lot of work with the Kaizen Institute. Continuous improvement and looking at how we could do things better has been the key driver there. It has been great to see the staff involvement with that as well.
If you could give yourself a heads up knowing what you know now, when it comes to running a business, what would that be?
Probably about focus, and being as focused as you can, as early as possible, on what it is that you really want to do and really where you want to head… taking that bigger picture approach. And scheduling more regular workshops on working on the business early on!
How did you hear about The Icehouse?
I think it was my sister who told me about them and suggested that I should do the Owner Manager Programme (OMP). She probably thought I needed a bit more upskilling!
What impact did OMP have on you as an owner and a leader?
I think the separation from the business was really good; how the course took all the business owners away from their business and family and everything. So that separation was great.
[Plus] cementing a lot of the work that we've already done was really beneficial, in knowing that you're on the right track or right path. And then the networking was great – having a group where you could talk about similar things that you were going through. It was amazing on the programme as we went, hefty things that different owners were going through, but [that you] also could put in perspective, and knowing that, some of your things are ‘not so bad!’
We were fortunate enough to be in a position to get an Operations Manager, which was great. So I guess part of doing OMP was that around that time I was thinking of living overseas for a year. So that just helped with that – and giving me the confidence in the business that going away for a year would be okay, and then also giving me the confidence to spend more time in the start-up. Doing a whole lot of business work on that programme helped with the new start-up as well.