As a new year begins it is commonplace for the change in the calendar to spur this type of reflective action and then lead to decision making and changes in direction. It's important, at this time, to take stock and understand the environmental aspects which influence the success of you and your business.

Last year was a really good year for Zenith Solutions accentuated by a lot of effort and exciting work and we are equally excited about 2014, especially as we look to develop "the Hub" - our new office and business solution centre in St Georges Gate.

What has been evident to me, particularly over the last year, has been the economic environment and how the strong performance of our local and national economy is producing increased activity and investment across the board - which is translating into greater confidence and improved performance.

You have to be happy that local and international economists are expecting New Zealand to be a high performer in 2014, which is something we as a nation do not want to put at risk come October at the ballot box - no need for change here.


Another quality of this type of environment is people setting up new enterprises or re-invigorating existing businesses or old favourites.

The "new" - when you next purchase a coffee from Recaffienate on Taupo Quay, you will notice that some enterprising locals have opened a yoga studio and juice bar serving plant-based foods, juices and smoothies. @thepetredish is an example of a business which is specialist/boutique in nature setting up in a smart location - with other complementary businesses close by to capture both planned and "impulse" spending. Mrs Bell is already a fan, and soon I, too, will try them out.

The "reinvigorated" old favourite is the Riverlands Fun Park. Without wanting to reveal my age, I won't state when this facility opened for the first time but it is sufficient to say that it has been a part of the Kowhai Park offering for some time. We visited there with Junior Bell as part of a birthday party for his mate on Saturday and, because he couldn't stop talking about it, we returned on Sunday. It was fun to see the children getting enjoyment from the go cart track, which I remember tearing around as a teenager.

One thing which was clear is that the proprietors have invested in tidying the place up and getting the equipment (most notably go cart No4) to a high working order. It's also great value for money and provides entertainment for children and parents alike.

I find myself writing a lot about supporting local businesses and this is no exception. So, with the long weekend coming up and a weather forecast which looks OK (fingers crossed) take the family down there and support the team - they are doing a great job.

They have taken a calculated risk in setting this up and good on them. Success for local businesses is good for the community as a whole.

And long may the economic indicators continue to be pointing skywards as this provides a fertile environment for these and other businesses to thrive.

Russell Bell's Zenith Solutions is a specialist Wanganui business advice and consultancy practice