Aimee Shaw is a business reporter focusing on small business

Small Business: Making a living as a consultant - Wolf & Fox

LazyAz founder Aryaman Taore (left), Lucy Mansfield and Wolf & Fox founder Toss Grumley.
LazyAz founder Aryaman Taore (left), Lucy Mansfield and Wolf & Fox founder Toss Grumley.

Consultancy firm Wolf & Fox offers business solutions for small firms. Founder and director Toss Grumley opens up about his past and where the business is at today.

A brief description of the business

Wolf and Fox is a consulting firm specialising in helping people start or grow their business. We have been operating since September 2015 and have steadily grown throughout that period.

What inspired you to start this type of business?

The need to help people. I've started multiple businesses myself and wish that I had more access to support along the way.

So many new business ventures fail even though the idea is good. Sometimes people just need a little bit of assistance to get the fundamentals right or fill gaps in their knowledge.

How big is your team?

We are currently a team of three.

I specialise in consulting and general business practice, Lucy is our marketing specialist and Leigh is my PA and the office manager who makes sure everything runs smoothly in the background.

Where are you based?

Our offices are located at the bottom of Albert Street in Auckland, but I work in both New Zealand and Australia. We're always online and communicate using the latest technology which enables us to work from anywhere.

How old are you and tell me a little about your background?

I'm 27 years old and grew up in Grey Lynn, Auckland. I dropped out of school early, just after hitting 16, and began working as a labourer. I eventually found my way into a role as a warehouse assistant at an organisation and worked my way up to become the general manager. While in this role I began creating companies and managing property deals in my own time.

I returned to study in 2015 to gain a Master's degree; an MBA from Warwick Business School in the UK, which I'm currently completing.

Founder Toss Grumley.
Founder Toss Grumley.

How is your business different to your competitors?

Most of our competitors offer courses or a set menu of services, whereas we provide a service based on what each client needs from us. We provide a more tailored and niche approach.

The services we provide for our clients vary depending on their skill sets and at what stage they are at in the business.

In terms of revenue, profit and turnover, how are you scaling?

Revenue is currently growing at around 20 per cent per month which is fantastic, and I have to practice what I preach, right?

As we are getting close to full capacity with clients, we will continue to seek out the best individuals to join us and support the growth.

Profits are healthy and I'm re-investing into the business so that we can provide the best service possible long-term.

What are your long-term plans for the business?

We're seeing phenomenal growth and I would love this to continue, as the more businesses that succeed the better it is for New Zealand. We have clients in both New Zealand and Australia, and would like to add the UK in the long term.

As we grow, we will need to hire more specialists to continue to provide every skill set our clients may require.

All of your team members are under 30 years old, why is this?

It just happened. I don't believe age is a barrier, and have always felt that you should hire the right people to complement your strengths and weaknesses, no matter their age. I choose my team based on skills, but attitude and personality are just as important, so having a smile on your face and tonnes of energy and ideas is essential.

Wolf & Fox founder Toss Grumley and employee Lucy Mansfield.
Wolf & Fox founder Toss Grumley and employee Lucy Mansfield.

Where did the name Wolf & Fox come from?

My sister gets full credit for this one. It's a fairytale about a wolf and a fox. The wolf persuades the fox to do all of the work finding it food in the forest. I felt the name fitted perfectly for this business model as my team and I are the foxes, there to plan and help execute the wolves', our clients', work.

What do you do in a typical day?

My title is ''director'' which is what I use across all the organisations I'm part of.

I believe a company director should be responsible for the strategy and wellbeing of a company and that is what I endeavour to do every day.

Find people who know what they're talking about; not all advice is good advice.
Toss Grumley, Wolf and Fox founder

An ideal day for me involves solving and answering hard business questions for my clients and moving positively towards their goals. I split up my week with different activities so I may have entire days working on one thing, deeply focusing on my work, while the next I might have a quick catchup with three different clients to plan their next steps.

What's the best thing about running your own business?

Being in control of your path and decisions. You have the ability to create a great workplace, have happy staff, have financial freedom and also the excitement of dealing with constant challenges. There's nothing quite like it.

What advice do you give to others wanting to start a business?

Don't listen to the negativity.

The same people that tell me I'm completely mad for making certain decisions are the ones telling me I'm so lucky a few months later when it all works out.

Find people who know what they're talking about. Not all advice is good advice, so if you're listening to someone make sure they know about the subject they are speaking on.

- NZ Herald

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