The Bay of Plenty is sitting at the top of the current rankings for annual domestic GDP, according to figures from Stats NZ released in March 2021. ‘Boosted by construction and property operation, Bay of Plenty and Tasman/Nelson had the largest regional gross domestic product (GDP) increases in the year to March 2020, both rising 6.1%.’
Part of the high-growth ‘golden triangle’ of Auckland and Hamilton, nestled in the Bay is the city of Tauranga, home of the country's largest international port, several tourism hotspots and a strong transport structure.
The multi-layered learning environment of The Icehouse’s Business Owner Programme provides the perfect platform to tap into the Bay of Plenty’s high-ride of recent economic growth and thriving and innovative entrepreneurial culture.
Knowledge and network sharing
The programme is designed for owners of businesses with revenues of less than $3m. Bay of Plenty business owners are given the tools, support and connections to drive progress and create a better business now and for the future.
‘The Business Owner Programme (BOP) is a practical programme, featuring a like-minded group of business owners which we started last year (2020) in Tauranga,’ says Jamie Brock, regional lead for The Icehouse in the Bay of Plenty and programme director for the Business Owner Programme and Young Business Owner Programme.
‘Participants come together and learn new skills. We have speakers and presenters, people like myself and others, who talk and share things around helping grow new business skills.’
Aside from the practical and academic business learnings, owners also benefit from deep and lasting networking. ‘That's the real gold – that participants can learn as much from each other, by getting to know each other's businesses, sharing the things that are and aren’t working, and grow stronger together – because running a business can often be a very lonely business,’ adds Jamie.
Tools, support, connections
Many of the key challenges facing business owners are tackled during BOP. Owners get the skills to drive growth from the top in leadership, there are sessions in mindset and building resilience, how to create and nurture a high performing team, how to drive a positive culture in your business, advice around how transforming your business wins sales and why customers choose you, and discoveries on generating growth through digital and social media channels, accounting and finance, and how to prepare exit strategies or sell your business.
‘As a business owner you’ll always have to make some hard decisions, but that doesn’t mean you need to know everything. What you do need to know is when to ask for help, get good advice and make sure that you listen to that advice,’ says Gary Walker, owner of Flooring First Taupo and BOP Alumni.
‘You can never be too proud. I see some business owners struggling a little and they won’t go and get outside help. If you don’t know something, you have to go and find the answers for yourself – or if you can’t find the answer, find someone who can!’
Jamie explains that it’s often all too easy to overlook the post-programme advantages these type of courses provide. As well as the immediate takeaways and learnings which can be integrated into the business, there are plenty of associated long-term benefits.
‘[Participants] also get introduced to what The Icehouse does and the value of staying connected. So BOP is incredibly valuable in that sense, too. Directing BOP was one of the big highlights of 2020 for me.’
For information on how capability building programmes, workshops and advisory can help your business, click here.
For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs.
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