Is 2017 the year to turn that great idea into a successful small business? Here are the top tips from company owners profiled by the Herald.

Get the right team around you

Web agency Method Studios has spent 13 years in the digital business space and co-founder Sam Ramlu says getting the right team around you is crucial.

"We've had to wear a lot of hats so as quickly as you can, you should try and expand your team, even if it's being a little bit smart about it."

Back in August, Ramlu told the Herald the firm had offered unpaid internships to get people working on projects before they became full-timers.

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"We've always been the type that have tried to do it all ourselves, but it can be really hard as a small business," she said.

"A little bit of help along the way is only going to help grow your business."

Put yourself in the mind of the customer

Beekeeping business BeezThingz is helping sustain New Zealand's bee population by renting hives to businesses and corporates.

Managing director Julian McCurdy says putting yourself in the minds of customers is the key to success. "You've got to put yourself in the mind of the customer and really understand what they want to get out of it," he said.

Awareness on struggles bees and beekeepers are facing had become widespread, thanks to McCurdy's efforts to educate the public.

His philosophy: "Do good things and the money will come."

Don't be afraid to try new things

Business to business service Recognise & Reward is familiar with trying new things. Co-founders Gary Adam and Angela Pile say trial and error is the way forward with any venture.

Having previously run a successful bathroomware business, the pair now operate in the corporate space with their gift offering.

"Starting a business is scary when you start off, and even now there's times where you think, 'Oh God, what are we doing?' but you've just got to take the leap of faith and do it," Pile said.

Adam's advice: "Try things. They're not all going to work, but you've got to try things."

Take advice from those in the community

Wellington-based bin firm Method Recycling aims to promote positive behaviour change in the office. Founder India Korner suggests seeking advice from other people in the business community.

"We [have] got some really good accountants on board. They really helped us drive the strategy of the business and just put some simple things in place like an advisory board and helped us along the way," she said.

"We sit down with our advisory board every two months. They've got such different skill sets so getting their advice is really helpful.

This is also echoed by workplace uniform designer Matt Nash.

Nash, the owner of MN Uniform, says finding a group or network of other business owners to share advice with is highly beneficial.

"Find a group or network of other business owners where you can have honest conversations about how hard business can be sometimes," he said.

"Sharing mistakes and mis-steps with others can be the best way to problem-solve and build a sense of community around your business."

Be prepared to work hard

Accident consultancy firm Crash Management helps those involved in road accidents deal with claims and roadside assistance.

Managing director and founder Karen Knight says be prepared to work hard.

"If you think 12-hour days are too onerous, the SME [small and medium-sized enterprise] environment is probably not the place for you," Knight said. "If you've done your research, believe in your product and are confident there's a market for it, invest your heart and soul and commit 100 per cent."

Don't start a business without a plan

Auckland-based Devonport Chocolates has been operating for more than 25 years in the artisan chocolate industry.

Managing director of the family-run business, Stephanie Everitt, says you shouldn't start a new business without a strategic plan.

"Get a business plan in place. It can be a one-pager, but you need to know what you want to be achieving," she said.

"Cash flow is a big thing for small businesses so you need to know how you're going to pay your bills when they first come around. It might be a bank loan, but you have to have a plan in place, and know your ins and outs money-wise."

Stick to your core values


managing director Mike Murphy says you should not be put off by other people's views or opinions.

"The main thing is to stick to your core values no matter what people may say. Don't be influenced by people's opinions," Murphy said.

Lisa Voigt, owner of Waikato-based art studio Soul Gallery, also agrees.

"My advice is to find a formula that works for the people in your business and a formula that works for people coming into your business."