Small business: When life changes brings business change

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Lisarna Wynyard. Photo / Birgit from Image Lounge
Lisarna Wynyard. Photo / Birgit from Image Lounge

Lisarna Wynyard, runs Mini Manager, a consultancy where she works alongside business owners who are struggling with the day to day running of their companies. Wynyard, who worked for 18 years in telcos, set up her new business after her son, Kyle Heath, died in a car crash at the age of 20, two and a half years ago.


Support after the tragedy and new ideas

Kyle was a delight with a wicked sense of humour. After he died, I hunkered down for a while but it was a turning point for me. I was a member of Mike Ashby's The Breakthrough Company and was in the midst of selling my two Vodafone digital dealerships when Kyle died. I was the only woman in a buddy group of fellow entrepreneurs at the time the accident happened and these guys just rallied around.

They said: "You have your family and friends to support you through your grief.

Let us help you and support your new business plans." I went on to sell my East Tamaki dealership, and then thought: "Gosh it would be so helpful to have someone like me, not a General Manager, but someone more hands on who could come in and help a business owner with their systems."

I know what it can be like when you go to see a business mentor. You leave with a huge list of "to-dos" - then get back to the office and the phone still rings and the list gets moved aside.

What motivated me

I was influenced by the death of my son in setting up this new business, in that he was the one who would take control, he was a "take life by the horns" sort of guy. He was a real motivator. Now he's not here, it's my job, I need to make things happen. I thought Kyle would do it, I will do it. I will fulfil these dreams. The first year was slow but the last six months have been really busy.

The more of us that are involved in making small business healthy, the healthier our economy will be. I see employees who think because you own a business you are wealthy. They don't understand, so many people are risking everything for their small businesses.

The next step

My next company, Micro Manager, is in development at The Icehouse, who I found through the Breakthrough Company. My idea for Micro Manager, a productivity app, came when I was frustrated with accounting for time. There are many productivity programmes but nothing that did what I needed it to as a freelancer. I wished someone would do it for me, but I thought, I'm going to do it for others.

It is very exciting for me, something that I never would have done. I never dreamt I would take a challenge like this on but with the support of The Icehouse I now have the ability and tools to do it. As part of their process I may decide not to go ahead, but that's an important part of the process.

If I had not lost Kyle, I would not have had done this, working with the Icehouse, setting up Mini Manager and now Micro Manager. The last couple of months have seen me so excited about the possibilities. There's definitely a market for my work and my app. I now have the courage to say, I've got nothing to lose. When you've faced the level of pain I have, nothing else scares you.

Next week: How do you foster a more corporate culture in your SME when there's only a few of you ? How do you make your small business look like a big business?

- NZ Herald

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