Saturn Group director, Rob Young talks to Gill South about the recruitment consultancy's succession planning company, Platform 1 and how it is helping business owners.

The New Zealand economy is made up of around 95 per cent small and medium sized business. They are the backbone of the country with almost 40 per cent of the total economic output and 30 per cent of the workforce. Many of these business owners are baby-boomers who are over 50 years of age and have no succession plan, or if they do, their thoughts are that a trade sale would realise the accumulated wealth in their business and enable them to retire. This is unlikely to be the case.

Platform 1's purpose:

Platform 1 was established to help turn business owners into successful business investors with the support of a unique programme specifically developed to help them achieve this goal.


The programme is called the 'Leadership Transition Platform' and it introduces new thinking and business processes. It is designed to help business owners realise the full potential of their business by releasing capital, building value, structure and efficiency whilst transitioning them away from day-to-day, hands-on management.

The transition platform introduces talented outside equity partners usually as a GM or CEO. Their objective is to grow the value of the business.

The six step process

To support the programme, Platform 1 has developed a six step process in conjunction with our advisory board members who act as personal and collective advisors and work alongside the client, throughout their journey.

It is vital to business owners that they have quality advice. The advisory board is made up of very successful and well respected business leaders who are stepping up to the plate to work with SME owners, providing them with the skills, business templates and support they need during a very challenging stage of their business and personal life.

Growing business owners' wealth

We have facilitated in excess of 40 leadership transition programmes over the past 10 years with a track record of being able to grow the business owner's wealth by two, three and sometimes four times, while they work fewer hours and enjoy a more balanced lifestyle. Increasing the business size and profitability also has positive spin offs with new employees coming on board.

Having a core expertise in executive search enables Platform 1 to find the key executives for this vital transition role while our "step on board" programme has specific HR and induction programmes to follow.

Helping business owners reach their personal and business destination is challenging but rewarding. Platform 1 never underestimates the trust that goes with this responsibility and the importance of its success to the business owner, employees and those around them.