The year is winding up, schools are almost out for summer (but not forever) and people are turning their attention to Christmas.
That includes me - although, as I get older, I don't appear to have the same enthusiasm that I had as a child.
In preparing this article I pondered a number of potential subject matters. These ideas spanned from the marketing of annual Christmas songs, the materialism of the season and how it is incredibly hard to buy presents for me (and why chocolates are the great 'go to' present for ageing males).
However, after considering in brief some great customer service last week I have decided to commence ... The Great Annual Business Zen Awards.
So, rather than regaling readers with stories of business yule, my penultimate article of the year will list those who I feel have contributed really well to our business fabric this year (some on the basis of reported success and others direct experience).
My final article will be fuller feature on the business which has impressed me the most in 2017.
Note that the criteria are purely in my head and no correspondence will be entered into blah blah blah (said with a smile).
And without further ado, here are the "finalists" (in no particular order):
I had a chance to catch up with Q-West boss Myles Fothergill on a flight from Auckland last week, and his business is doing some amazing things, and the ferries which will provide transport options in gridlocked Auckland are built here. Also great to see Myles appointed to the Whanganui and Partners board.
The air connection to our city is crucial and Duane Emeny and the team have taken a risk but provide a truly excellent service - we must support them!
3.Double Farley Creative Partners
The Whanganui Chamber of Commerce supreme award winner for 2016 is a business offering innovative services and new ways to work. If you are a small business, you should check out their "confluence" co-working spaces - a collaborative shared office.
4.Jolt Coffee House
The best and fastest coffee in town - end of.
5.Big Orange/Ceramic Lounge
Hailed by Heather Du Plessis Allen as the best café in New Zealand and you really should try the new menu (at Ceramic), the chef has pulled together something quite special.
6.4 Square, Anzac Parade
Customer service is their ace and a recent article of mine was the most shared and commented on in many years - and all saying what a fantastic experience it is dealing with them.
I am not a fan of shopping for clothes but I always choose this business when need arises (or Mrs Bell requires a new look). Their service around school uniforms is first class.
A new favourite. Walk in, chill out, talk about footy while getting what little hair I have professionally cut.
A wonderful range and a business which supports locals in many ways.
The place to go for gifts for your significant other. I still remember the efforts that they went to assist with and then beautifully wrap Mrs Bell's birthday presents.
There are a number of other business who - to quote Donald Trump - are "really, really great", but these have stood out just that little bit more in 2016.
Next week I will write a feature on one of these business as part of my final article for the year. In the meantime, I hope that you get to enjoy the lead-up to Christmas.
**Balance Consulting is a Whanganui consultancy specialising in business strategy, process excellence and leadership mentoring - contact Russell Bell on 021 2442421 or John Taylor on 027 4995872