There can be few businesspeople in New Zealand as experienced in dealing with unforeseen challenges and disaster as Lynette Buurman.
The co-owner and partner in Encounter Kaikoura – famed for its swimming with dolphins activities – has now had to negotiate not just the Kaikoura earthquake but the Covid-19 lockdowns that shut New Zealand down.
She outlines how the business has survived through two events she describes as "so instant, so abrupt" and the lessons learned in such a stark period of disruption, including how to swing a business whose customers were 90 per cent tourists to a domestic market.
The business began when on a fishing trip, the boat skipper wondered aloud what would happen if "we swam with the dolphins". They tried it – and a new business was born, starting out with one 6-metre boat, growing to three large vessels with clientele from all over the world.
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Buurman traverses through how the business coped with the earthquake and what she calls "the ultimate challenge" of the virus. She details how it couldn't have survived without technology, from online sales and bookings, connecting with global markets through social media channels and their website – relying heavily on their HP hardware to enable to them to work remotely through webinars, presentations, Zoom meetings and more.
Buurman says focussing on the natural world helps her to "appreciate what's beautiful and natural and alive", leaving her feeling positive about the future.
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