Vet Centre well set for growth with help of business mentor

Rangiora Vet Centre is a mixed veterinary practice that has been serving North Canterbury’s animal health needs for over 50 years.

Lifestyle block conversion, dairy conversion and population growth after the Canterbury earthquakes were the main drivers for a period of accelerated growth in the business.

The practice employs 45 people, operates from two locations and having recently opened a new state-of the-art clinic the owners appointed Chris Bailey to a new role of Business Manager in mid-2014.

As the first business manager appointed in the practice Chris had some key initiatives to put in place to enable the expanding business to continue moving forward on a sure footing.  He sought advice from Business Mentors New Zealand and was matched with volunteer business mentor Roelant Hofmans.

“I was growing into my new role and wanted someone to challenge my thinking and support me while we tackled some new initiatives,” Chris said.

“We were working on our capabilities in four key areas - our financial controls, implementing our strategic plan, building our online presence and our inventory management – and Roelant’s experience meant he was the perfect match for me as a mentor.”

Roelant Hofmans is a business owner and management consultant with a background in Insurance, Finance, Supply Chain Management and IT both locally and internationally.  Having also been a franchisee for a number of years and now the principal of a business providing back office services he brings huge experience and empathy to the mentoring of business people in Canterbury.

“In many ways Chris represented my version of an ideal mentee. He recognised he needed some help, was willing to listen and get different perspectives, and could see the value in getting some independent advice,” said Roelant.

“Chris was open to challenge and open to new ideas and my background was well suited to help him tackle what he was facing in his new role.”

Roelant says business mentoring gives him the opportunity to put something back into the Christchurch economy and he likes to do voluntary work.

“I’ve seen Chris become more secure in his role and clearer in his focus on what needs to be done.  He’s able to stand back and look at the business from a different angle to summarise what’s going on.”

Chris says he and Roelant would meet every three to four weeks, usually in a café where they’d discuss an area of the business of Chris’ choosing.

“Roelant was super supportive and I think his nature was a key part of what made the relationship successful.  My experience of business mentoring was absolutely first class.”

“I can’t believe New Zealand businesses have access to this service at such an affordable cost,” said Chris.

Anyone interested in registering for a business mentor or finding out more about volunteering as a mentor with Business Mentors New Zealand should visit www.businessmentors.org.nz or call 0800 209 209.

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