With continued global disruption and rapidly changing consumer behaviour, one local accountant is encouraging Rotorua businesses to shift the focus from responding to unprecedented times to preparing for an unpredictable year ahead.
"If there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it is to be ready for the unknown and prepare to adapt quickly," Money Metrics Rotorua owner Kelly Lelieveld said.
"Combining this experience with the basic principles of ensuring your company is financially fit for the future will enable companies to navigate the new norm."
The qualified chartered accountant has seen a noticeable change in the mindset of business owners. Many are venturing into business for the first time, and there is more awareness of the need to access cash reserves on a rainy day.
"In the last eight months, clients that had strong working capital who were focused on reducing unnecessary costs experienced less stress and more positive financial outcomes than others who didn't," Lelieveld said.
"When a company has working capital it means they are in a position to pay their current liabilities with current assets. It is a good sign of short-term financial health and during Covid it has meant those in a strong position have been able to look after staff, pivot their business model and in some cases even grow.
"Preparing a careful forecast, following a budget and being mindful of where their money goes will help business owners make intelligent decisions. They will have a better chance of responding to abrupt changes and have the ability to capitalise on new opportunities."
She highlights that no one was able to accurately predict how 2020 would pan out and what eventuated was unexpected for many.
"Aside from the government subsidy, the drive to support locals and an extraordinary domestic tourism market became a vital safety net for some clients and a great opportunity for others," she said.
"It has given them time to adapt and refocus on what they need to do to prepare the future".
Local support instrumental for businesses
One success story during the pandemic has been Money Metrics customer Deep Kumar, owner of Giovanni's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria at Lynmore Junction.
"Nothing about our business has been the same, but at Giovanni's we were lucky," Kumar said.
"We had always based our business formula on having a good location and establishing a strong connection with our local community so we weren't reliant on tourists.
"When we emerged from lockdown, the support from locals was instrumental in helping us get through and we cannot thank them enough."
But that support wasn't going to be enough to prevent redundancies among his valued Giovanni's staff, some of them family. In an industry being heavily affected by Covid, the young entrepreneur was already in the process of opening a new restaurant in Christchurch, but set out to explore other opportunities to retain his team in Rotorua.
The prospect to buy Mamma Rosa Pizzeria on Pukaki St arose when the prior owners put it on the market after lockdown. Believing it was the right time to invest, and with sound financial planning behind him, he purchased the restaurant.
While turnover appears more seasonally affected, Kumar says "when it's busy, it's amazingly busy". In August, Giovanni's revenue was up 20 per cent on last year and he is expecting this summer to be his best on record.
Horticulture funding boosts students' careers
The latest round of a funding boost for Bay of Plenty horticulture students to help further their education and career pathway into this vital industry has closed.
New Zealand's provider of the full suite of estate planning services, Perpetual Guardian, was calling for people to apply for the Frank Sydenham Trust Scholarships, which closed December 4.
The applications for the Frank Sydenham Trust Scholarships will see 10 Bay students receive a significant boost of $10,000 each.
Perpetual Guardian branch Manager Jan Middlemiss said while Perpetual Guardian was actively involved as a trustee in managing the Frank Sydenham Scholarships, the real reward came when recipients were rewarded for their passion.
"There is no question that students regard this scholarship as an absolute privilege, and it is always received in a spirit of humility and celebration.
"The horticulture industry is essential for our country, and Frank Sydenham was one of first to achieve a Masters in horticulture, paving the way for many."
Since 2002, there have been 35 scholarships awarded, totalling about $250,000.
Past recipient Emily McKay, who received scholarships in 2019 and 2020, said she was "humbled and thrilled" when she learned she was a successful applicant.
"Horticulture is so vital for New Zealand, as it provides a substantial income as well as raising our profile as a horticultural country.
"This has been more important in recent years due to environmental sustainability issues, such as PSA [a bacterial disease that affects kiwifruit vines], which highlights the importance of quality local produce for our economy.
"The Frank Sydenham scholarships help raise awareness and interest in the horticulture industry.
Vanilla company diversifies into beauty products
A local vanilla brand is about to boost its stable with the introduction of a new hero product.
Best known for producing vanilla beans, paste, extracts, powders and syrups, Heilala Vanilla is now diversifying its business offerings with a new beauty product that harnesses the anti-ageing properties of the vanilla bean.
BIOBLUME is a brightening facial oil comprising VanilleActiv2, a patent-pending ingredient the company has been testing since 2016.
VanilleActiv2 is made from two unique, bioactive compounds extracted from the lipid fraction of Heilala's vanilla bean, which works to increase the production of collagen, cell regeneration and renewal. Lipids are the skin's natural fats and play a crucial role in maintaining the strength of the skin's protective barrier, which retains moisture and protects the skin from damage.
The product has been four years in the making as the Heilala team has worked behind the scenes, testing the anti-ageing properties of their vanilla beans.
Heilala has opted to use Kickstarter as a launch vehicle because of its ability to harness the power of community to help bring the product to life, something Heilala is passionate about.
Once the Kickstarter campaign has concluded, the product will be available for purchase via www.bioblume.co.nz
New beauty business opens
A new beauty business named Seva Day Spa has opened on 17 Marguerita St, Fenton Park.
The day spa started with the vision of providing relaxation to people by maintaining the highest standard of treatments, that's what SEVA means and is about.
Soti and Nikola come from two different backgrounds and have worked together for the past three years, which they say has made the journey of Seva Day Spa possible.
"With an amazing blend of beauty/spa industry and hospitality, we strive to make our clients feel worth a million dollars when they walk out of our door."
Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind chair retires
Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (Blind Low Vision NZ) board chairman Rick Hoskin has retired after years in the role.
The foundation, which has an office in Tauranga, wishes Rick Hoskin well on his retirement and has acknowledged his passion and commitment to the organisation.
Hoskin has chosen to retire from his governance role after 11 years on the board and nine years as chair.
While in the position of board chair, some of Hoskin's achievements include being instrumental in setting up Foundation Properties Limited (FPL), a subsidiary of RNZFB.
Hoskin helped steer Blind Low Vision NZ through the global financial crisis, then under leadership of chief executive Sandra Budd, and more recently through the Covid-19 pandemic, with current chief executive John Mulka at the helm.
RNZFB (Blind Low Vision NZ) is pleased to announce its new board chair is Judy Small. Small has been a member of the board since 2013. As a client of Blind Low Vision NZ since she was 4, she is well versed on needs and issues of blind, deaf-blind and low-vision New Zealanders.
Fraser Alexander, who joined the board in November 2017, will be deputy chair.
"I wish to acknowledge and thank Rick for all he has done for the blind, deaf-blind and low-vision community for over a decade," Small said.
"I look forward to taking up the opportunity to lead RNZFB and carry out the goals and priorities in Our Vision, Your Future – Strategic Plan, 2020 – 2024.
"I am excited and energised to carry on the important work of Blind Low Vision NZ in our mission to empower New Zealanders who are blind, deaf-blind or have low vision to live the life they choose."
The board will next meet in February to determine who their ninth member will be.
Bay-based medicinal cannabis company establishes Clinical Advisory Board
Katikati-based medicinal cannabis firm Eqalis Pharmaceuticals has formed a Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) to seek advice from key medical professionals in order to ensure Eqalis products meet the needs of doctors, pharmacists and patients.
The CAB committee is comprised of senior figures across a range of medical backgrounds who will work alongside key Eqalis team members.
The committee will comprise:
• Dr Raimond Jacquemard, a paediatrician based at Taranaki DHB.
• Dr Murray Hunt, the medical director at Waipuna Hospice in Tauranga who has previous experience working in alcohol and drug services.
• Dr Mark Wardill, an anaesthetist based at Grace Hospital, a private hospital in Tauranga.
• Dr Mark Hotu, a GP who has established the Green Doctors, a clinic focusing on prescribing cannabis.
• Nigel Gregory, a community pharmacist who owns Brookfield Pharmacy in Tauranga.
• Elizabeth Plant, a pharmacist and the chief medical officer of Eqalis Pharmaceuticals.
Eqalis managing director, Greg Misson said the CAB would enable Eqalis to engage directly with doctors and develop a deeper understanding of the issues they face in prescribing medicinal cannabis.
"It will help provide us with an insight into prescriber thinking and streamline our processes to tailor the efficacy of our products for patients."
Eqalis Pharmaceuticals chief medical officer Elizabeth Plant said engaging with the medical fraternity was essential to understanding key patient-related issues.
"The committee will be key to ensuring clinical-related decisions are made with appropriate peer review and that future training programmes are developed with expert input.
"They have the expertise and the practical experience necessary to provide this oversight and, as each member of the committee works in a different area of medicine, they all bring a different patient perspective."
Staff grow mos for Movember
Some of the crew at Hickey Contractors in Rotorua spent the past month growing moustaches for Movember.
Seth Pardoe, Jim Murdoch and Mark Henrikson were part of the team who grew their facial hair for the month, all in the name of charity.
The company will donate the money raised to the official Movember website supporting men's health.
Strong retail spending
The latest Retail NZ Sales Index, shows spending through November remained strong, and total spending since March is now ahead of last year.
Chief executive Greg Harford said the Retail NZ Sales Index for November reported spending through the month was about 25.7 per cent higher than last year, and total spending since March was 3.4 per cent higher than for the same nine months last year.
"This is good news after a year of turmoil on the back of Covid-19.
Harford said Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping festivals would have contributed to the strong November result, and retailers would be hoping consumer confidence remains strong in the run-up to Christmas.
"Key challenges for the sector include managing supply chain and freight delays, as well as the risk that businesses could be ordered closed if there were a further outbreak of Covid-19."
Recycle Boutique launches new online store
Mount Maunganui-based business Recycle Boutique has announced the launch of its new online store and software developed in response to the country's growing demand for buying and selling second-hand items.
The launch of Recycle's online store is a natural progression for the business after
reaching a number of significant milestones over the past 15 years.
The successful consignment retailer recycles more than 700,000 items per year, has more than 80,000 consignors, and last year celebrated the opening of its 10th store in New Zealand, general manager Mark Cowie says.
"We realised there was a huge opportunity for us to take what we do online and
make selling and shopping secondhand clothing accessible to all New Zealanders,
particularly in places where there is no physical store available."
Kiwis can browse the curated selection of designer, vintage and contemporary labels that are one-off, sought-after pieces and are exclusive to online shoppers for two weeks
before going into stores.
Customers can now set up an account online instead of in-store, get notifications when stock is processed, sold and expiring, arrange an express drop-off and even request a home pick-up service in some locations.
Additionally, customers can now use their Recycle balance to buy online, completing the circular fashion model.