The end of 2019 is just around the corner and, if you are like me, you are looking forward to the New Year and more specifically a well-earned break.
This year has been highlighted for me by the extra-curricular activities (after I resolved late last year to find more activities outside of work to achieve work/life balance).
If you would have told me late last year that 2019 would hold the things it did, I probably wouldn't have believed you – but I think that the highs and lows ultimately build strength.
Highs and lows are part of business and, given that I am in a reflective mood, it is time once again to highlight those businesses which demonstrate that they are at the top of their game.
It is time for the 2019 version of the "Annual Business Zen Awards".
Next week's article will highlight the number one business which I feel contributed best to our business fabric this year.
• Premium - Russell Bell: How to maintain your edge in a competitive market
• Premium - Russell Bell: Teamwork, the difference between business success or failure
• Premium - Russell Bell: How supporting community organisations is good for business
• Premium - Russell Bell: Parapara Highway SH4 slip major disruption to business
So, with a backdrop of Christmas carols playing in my head here is the list of this year's finalists (some are listed on the basis of reported success and others from direct experience).
Once again, I have focused on my own experiences over the year and as usual the criteria are purely in my head and no correspondence will be entered into blah, blah, blah (said with a smile).
The 2019 Annual Business Zen Awards "finalists" are (drumroll please and in no particular order)
Sarjeant Gallery: Blessing for redevelopment to move forward
Schools welcome much-needed cash injections
OneRoof report: First home buyers dominate market
• Gatshack – It is always a pleasure to deal with specialists and none more so than the guys at Gatshack. I've bought more musical equipment in the last 18 months than I can remember but, apart from their high quality gear, the advice and support they give to the local music community is fantastic!
• Japanese Wa Restaurant – Outstanding customer service and the highest quality Japanese cuisine – this restaurant is the "go-to" for our family and their excellent takeaway service has fuelled many a band rehearsal throughout the year.
• Lads Brewing Company – Whanganui's own boutique brewery run by four passionate and switched on young business people. If you haven't tried their range yet you haven't lived.
• Larsens Collision Repairs – Featured in a recent article, from the quote to the fix to the delivery (and the added lollies pack) this business is first class.
• The Citadel Cafe – Castlecliff's culinary jewel and well worth a visit to even experience the seaside vibe they have going on there. Go there for the best gourmet burgers south of the Bombay Hills, stay for the incredible and welcoming service.
• Monaghans Barbers – Our 2017 "Champ". Sam and the team continue to go from strength to strength in their expanded premises. If a business specialising in men's hair styling can get a bald man like me as a regular – they really are a special business!
• Jolt Coffee House – the best and fastest coffee in town continues to be their calling card (I am repeating myself, but there you go).
• Noel Leeming Whanganui – The level of support we have received from the team there in 2019 has been superb and there is always a friendly and intelligent in-store response to our electronic requirements.
• Coastal Spring Lamb – Another business featured in a previous article. A success story built on history, family and intelligent marketing. Follow them on Facebook where their innovative approach is there for all to see.
• Lucky Bar and Kitchen – The best bar venue in town for live music, and more importantly a place for local musicians to showcase their craft.
There are a number of other business who are delivering high value but these have stood out just that little bit more in 2019.
The winner will be revealed next week, in the meantime I hope that you get to enjoy the early summer weather as Christmas approaches!