Last Saturday night it was unfortunate that I was unable to attend the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce Business Awards – however our business was ably represented by Craig McKinnon my fellow Partner here at Balance.

I want to pass on my congratulations to the outstanding Blind Finch restaurant from Ohakune who took out the Supreme award of the night. Theirs is a great story of success and it is impressive to hear what they are achieving.

It was great to read of the Chamber hosting a strong event once again, because the need for a strong Chamber is never more crucial than now – especially given the challenges that are clear and present for business. The awards are a feature of the bi annual calendar and it is fitting and right to celebrate the fact that the Whanganui business community continues to do well.

It was also particularly pleasing to see Rob Bartley's recognition, not just for the contribution he has made to the local economy over many years, but also from the perspective of his contribution to the social fabric of the town.

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I was also delighted for the team at Take it Easy Tours, who have created a successful transport and hospitality business – going toe to toe with industry heavy weights and winning.

Small business dominated, but that is apt, because there are so many out there taking risks and turning passion into GDP. This is not to take anything away from the important large businesses who reside here, who are the major contributors of employment and productivity. I think the thing to realise is that all have a part to play and each player is crucial.

Each of the winners in the categories say a great deal about the local economy and its current economic direction. Politicians (Red, Blue or whatever colour you choose) can and will take credit for macro-economic performance but it is at the 'coalface' where businesses reside that the true credit needs to be apportioned.

No funding round or 'smart' initiative is going to provide the level of benefit that the hard graft of businesses throughout the country delivers every day.

Running a business, any business, comes with significant challenges. There are highs and lows and I don't think we give enough credit to our local businesses – and we shouldn't have to wait until the next awards night to do it.

For the local business owner, the work week can quickly became a roller coaster ride of, thrills, spills and lessons learned. And, I am sure, that if you were to ask the winners of the awards they would each tell you that a key to their success has been the ability to learn lessons and make better decisions as they proceed on their journey with their business.

These lessons have to be learned and absorbed, because eventually there will be a new test or issue to solve – or the business will be caught in a loop of fixing the same problems over and over again.

But the rewards are there for a business owners' persistence, drive and determination – you don't get recognised regionally for nothing. Congratulations to all the participants and winners on the night.

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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