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Hawke's Bay Chamber to offer BMNZ Programme

The Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce is to represent the Business Mentors NZ programme, which is open to all Hawke’s Bay businesses, giving the programme a regional focus.

The Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce is to represent the Business Mentors NZ programme, which is open to all Hawke’s Bay businesses, giving the programme a regional focus.

CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Wayne Walford said the programme had been successfully delivered by the Napier City Council however he said it was time for change, in order for the service to expand.

“The Chamber of Commerce has the necessary business expertise and resources to grow the Business Mentors NZ programme to a wide cross section of business and with a strong regional focus,”

Mr Walford said. The Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) service is owned and operated by the Business Mentors New Zealand Trust and was established in 1991 to provide a voluntary mentoring service to New Zealand SME businesses.

“The Business Mentors NZ programme has been a great support to many businesses here in Napier and I’m pleased to see it now coming under the wing of the Chamber of Commerce,” Napier City Council CEO Wayne Jack said.

“I know the programme will continue to be a huge support to businesses in the region." A significant number of small and medium enterprises (SME) businesses in the Hawke’s Bay region had benefited from using the mentoring programme. Mr Walford said the representation changeover would occur from April 1st.

“Businesses from throughout the region can contact the Chamber team to be referred to the mentor best suited to their organisation.”

About Business Mentors New Zealand in our region:

  • Napier City Council has represented the mentoring service for over 20 years.
  • Since March 2003, the greater Hawke's Bay region has seen 446 SME clients receive mentoring assistance.
  • Since the programme's establishment, approximately 1,000 SME’s businesses have been supported from Wairoa to Waipukurau/Central Hawkes Bay. There was also a 5 year period where responsibility for Gisborne was managed as a sub agency.
  • For a number of years a mentoring service was also provided into the Chatham Islands during the period when the direct shipping service was from the Port of Napier.

SME ECONOMY IN THE LIMELIGHT

SMEs expecting bumper year – almost half forecasting revenue growth Christchurch outstripping Auckland Manufacturing posts remarkable turnaround Source: MYPB Business Monitor

SME ECONOMY IN THE LIMELIGHT

 SMEs expecting bumper year – almost half forecasting revenue growth

Christchurch outstripping Auckland Manufacturing posts remarkable turnaround

The SME sector can take a bow as a major contributor to New Zealand’s ‘rockstar economy’, according to the latest research data from leading accounting software provider, MYOB.

The March MYOB Business Monitor, released today, highlights that New Zealand’s small and medium businesses have enjoyed the highest levels of annual revenue growth seen in more than four years. It also shows expectations are for an even better 12 months ahead.

35% reported revenue growth in the year to February 2014 – up five percentage points on the August 2013 Monitor. 42% saw steady revenue, while just 21% reported a fall. Looking ahead to 2014, 47% of operators expect their revenue to improve – up four percentage points on August. 38% expect it to remain the same and just 11% expect a fall.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed says, “This latest MYOB Business Monitor highlights the importance of the role SMEs have played in the country’s recovery and continue to play in its future growth. The hard work and resilience of New Zealand’s SME sector, the very coalface of the economy, is now bearing fruit in the strongest growth we have seen in almost five years.”

Widespread growth

“Much of the public focus has been on the effects of the Christchurch rebuild, the performance of our major exporters and the housing markets on the growth in the economy. These factors are clearly evident in the survey, however there is plenty of positivity in other areas.”

Mr Reed points in particular to the ‘remarkable’ turnaround in the country’s manufacturing sector, saying, “Just over a year ago, many commentators were expressing alarm at what they saw as a crisis in the New Zealand manufacturing industry. Yet in the last 12 months, our local manufacturers have seen more revenue growth than any other sector, and in 2014, they expect to do even better.”

According to the survey, 53% of manufacturing businesses saw revenue improve in the 12 months to February 2014, while only 14% reported a fall in revenue. 70% expect revenue to rise over the next 12 months and just 1% expect a fall.

“In looking across the industries, only the country’s retail and hospitality sector has continued to struggle, with revenue falls – 33% – outweighing gains – 30%,” said Mr Reed.

“Having said that, this sector has seen steady improvement in the last six months and is confident of a positive 2014, with half expecting to see revenue growth.”

Fuel prices still weighing on businesses

Consistent with previous Monitor reports, the cost of fuel remains the number one pressure faced by local SMEs. A quarter believe it will place significant pressure on their operation in the year ahead. Interest rates are seen as the next biggest concern, followed by cash flow, price margins and competitive activity – ranked an equal third by business operators.

2014 pressures on SMEs:

1. Fuel prices - 25% 2. Interest rates - 22% 3. Cash flow; Price margins and profitability; Competitive activity - 21% apiece

Wages and prices on the up The next challenge for the country could be rising inflation, as upward pressure moves on both wages and prices. Almost a quarter (23%) of SMEs expect to increase wages this year, while 11% will increase the number of full time employees (FTEs) in the business, and 18% the number of part timers (PTEs).

“We are now seeing a growing number of employers considering taking on more full and part time employees, and noticeably more preparing to increase wage and salary levels,” says Mr Reed.

“Once again it is manufacturing leading the way, with 28% expecting to increase FTEs and 35% PTEs, and 30% expecting to raise wages.”

He says the pressures of the rebuild on the Christchurch employment market, already showing the lowest levels of unemployment in the country, may become more acute in 2014.

“19% of Christchurch SMEs would like to increase their full time staff this year, and 18% the number of part time employees. To no doubt help attract them, more than a third – 34% – will increase wages.

“For consumers across the country, some of these costs will be offset by rising prices, as 30% of SMEs intend to increase their margins in the coming year. This is most evident in Christchurch, where 35% intend to put prices up, and in the construction and trades sector, where 38% plan to.”

Maximising opportunities

“Overall, what we are seeing is a picture of sustained and widespread growth over most of New Zealand’s SME sector. This is really going to be their time in the sun,” says Mr Reed.

“Of course, growth is not without challenge, and as a smaller business operator you don’t want to be looking back over 2014 feeling like you missed opportunities or failed to make the most of a booming economy. Things are really looking up and if you aren’t investing now I suggest stopping in your tracks and reassessing your plans.

“Our advice remains: work closely with your financial advisors and use effective business systems to explore all the available opportunities. At the same time, keep a very close eye on performance indicators to ensure costs are not running away on you as you seek to meet growing demand. And celebrate your successes!” For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, client service and more visit the MYOB website, or its blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube sites.

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For further comment or other information please contact:

Sarah Putt, MYOB NZ Public Affairs Manager

P: 09 925 3515 / M: 029 777 0256/ E: sarah.putt@myob.com

Gerard Blank, The Agency Communications Limited Director

P: 03 341 5841 / M: 0275 243 629 / E: gerard@theagencynz.co.nz

About MYOB Established in 1991, MYOB is New Zealand’s leading accounting software provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across New Zealand and Australia, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB also provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends NZ$35+ million annually on research and development. For more information, visit myob.co.nz.

A Business Mentor is the Best Present You Can Get Your Company For 2014

Three thousand dollars worth of top flight business consultancy for only $150? The unique deal, which is business mentoring, is the best initiative a company can take to hit 2014 running, according to the CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand, the only national, volunteer business mentoring organisation.

Ray Schofield, CEO Business Mentors New Zealand explains that businesses would have to pay at least $3,000 commerically for the business mentoring service.

`We are able to offer the mentoring service for virtually nothing only because our highly experienced business mentors give their time free through the programme and through the invaluable patronage of those New Zealand companies who are our sponsors as well as Government support through NZTE, which help pay for the administration costs of matching the right mentor with the right business.

`It’s an amazing deal when you think about it. Where else can you get confidential, expert advice from the best people in business about how to improve your company. Our mentors have no vested interest in the relationship other than wanting to put something back into the New Zealand economy and helping make our businesses even better than they are already. We know that commerical operators charge upwards of $3,000 for this type of service. All we ask for is $150 towards the registration costs, which funds our agents around the country so they can match the best mentor for each applicant.

`But not only are our 1900 business mentors the best in their respective fields, whether that be financial advice, marketing strategy, human resources or succession planning, they are now more hands on than ever. On average our mentors will visit a business more than four times, but many mentor/business relationships last for quite long periods of time and become an essential part of the business’ development. Our mentors work closely with tens of thousands of SMEs and their owners, and have become a vital part of nurturing the New Zealand economy.’

Business Mentors New Zealand helps around 250 businesses every month and has assisted more than 65,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand over the last 22 years.

Ray Schofield adds: `It is the right time to be determining your business objectives and the strategy to achieve them during the year to come so that your company is able to hit 2014 running. Cash flow is still the number one problem facing SMEs but our mentors with the support of many of our Partner Patrons have become more creative in helping businesses find solutions to managing it. We are still asked, what sort of mentor will I get, or will people think less of me for asking for help, but by and large New Zealanders are becoming more willing to use a business mentor as a way of making their business more successful.

‘We have clearly shown that business mentoring has a significant role to play in the health of the country’s economy. New Zealanders make very good mentors. Friendliness and the values of “putting something back”, fairness and giving someone a hand up, resonate well with most of us. We have accumulated significant “grassroots” knowledge of small businesses and their owners –what their strengths, weaknesses and needs really are (as opposed to what they say they are).’

Women business owners outperforming men

New Zealand’s female SME operators are outperforming men in several key areas, demonstrating the strength of their contribution to the local economy, a national survey has revealed

The latest MYOB Business Monitor Report shows that almost a third (30%) of SMEs operated by women increased their revenue in the 12 months to August 2013, while 44% maintained revenue levels. This compares to 30% and 42% of male SME operators. Less than a quarter (23%) saw revenue fall in the year to August 2013, a slight advantage over their male counterparts, 25% of whom saw a drop in revenue. 3% of each gender weren’t sure of their revenue results.

"The financial performance results our research uncovered are an extremely positive signal to women, especially those thinking of starting up a new business and those with growth aspirations," says MYOB NZ national manager Enterprise Division, Allison Fairkettle.

"What it clearly highlights is the strength of businesses that have a woman at the helm. Female business owners are playing a major role in the success of the local and national economy, as they build their influence and extend their take-up of enabling technologies."

According to the Monitor, 43% of female SME operators expect revenue to increase in the next 12 months, with just 7% expecting a fall. Here, women have stronger expectations than men, for whom 42% expect revenue to increase in this period, while significantly more - 12% - are forecasting a fall in revenue.

The confidence of female business operators appears to be due in part to a solid August to October quarter, with 37% reporting more work or sales than they would normally have at this time. Just 12% reported less work in the pipeline than usual, compared to 19% of men.

The best performing female-led businesses were in Auckland, where 40% saw revenue increase, closely followed by Christchurch (39%), and then Wellington (31%). Women in business in the rest of New Zealand were slightly off the pace, with 21% reporting revenue up. In comparison, 27% of all SMEs outside the main centres saw revenue increase in this 12month period.

"There is a catch. Despite their edge in performance, we are not seeing the same levels of confidence among women business operators when it comes to short-term improvements in the economy," says Mrs Fairkettle.

In the latest Monitor, 21% of women in business said they expected the economy to improve from its current position in 12 months or less, compared to 32% of men. Almost two-thirds (63%) expected an improvement in the New Zealand economy to take more than a year (56% of men).

"Women are also less likely to feel they have the support of the Government when it comes to their business, which may affect how confident they are overall in the economy,"

Mrs Fairkettle said. Just 17% of women in business say they are satisfied with the Government’s support (compared to the SME average of 24%) and 31% are dissatisfied (compared to 28% of all SMEs).

The MYOB Business Monitor is a twice-yearly survey of more than 1000 New Zealand businesses, of which just over 400 are women. The results were discussed at MYOB’s inaugural Women In Business luncheon (#wibnz) yesterday, at which Mrs Fairkettle spoke about the challenges and opportunities open to women in business, one of the benefits being the ability to manage work/life balance effectively.

"Although it can be incredibly hard work, running a business is also clearly rewarding for those women who choose to own and operate a company of their own," says Mrs Fairkettle.

"Almost two-thirds - 64% - say they are happy with their work/life balance. 17% are dissatisfied and the remaining 19% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied."

According to the MYOB Business Monitor, the top 3 reasons women start a business are: 37% were looking for a total lifestyle change from what they were doing previously 24% have established their business as an investment strategy for the future 21% have taken the opportunity to make money from a hobby or an interest

The Monitor also looks at the use of digital media. Over a quarter of women SME operators (27%) use a social media site to promote their business, compared to 21% of men. 20% are using the cloud for business, while only 16% of men use cloud-based services.

Women in business are also more likely to use internet technologies to accept online payments (52%, compared to 49% of all SMEs) and promote their business via search engine optimisation or marketing (29%, compared to 25% of all SMEs).

"Increasingly, we are seeing women shaping their working life around their own requirements and commitments, and the use of technology is playing a vital role in this," says Mrs Fairkettle.

"It’s fantastic to see women achieving so much for the New Zealand economy at present and exciting that they are positioning themselves well to take advantage of future opportunities and growth in the local market."

"However at the same time it’s important that this contribution is recognised and that support, especially from Government, is focused on creating an environment in which both female and male business owners can take risks and thrive."

Published by MYOB

Business Mentors Providing More Involved Advice Than Ever Before

The country’s 1,900 volunteer business mentors are providing more in depth advice to New Zealand’s small to medium sized enterprises than ever before, the CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand, the only national, volunteer business mentoring organisation, told its 22nd AGM today.

Ray Schofield, CEO Business Mentors New Zealand told the AGM, hosted by ASB Bank at its new North Wharf building in Auckland: `Our business mentors are now more hands on than ever. When we started 56% of SMEs saw their mentor only once. That figure has fallen to an all time low of 16% as mentoring has become so much more part of a business owner’s development. On average our mentors will visit a business more than four times, but many mentor/business relationships last for quite long periods of time and become an essential part of the business’ development. Our mentors work closely with tens of thousands of SMEs and their owners, and have become a vital part of nurturing the New Zealand economy.’

Business Mentors New Zealand helps around 250 businesses every month and has assisted more than 65,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand over the last 22 years.

Ray Schofield commented: `Cash flow is still the number one problem facing SMEs but our mentors with the support of many of our Partner Patrons have become more creative in helping businesses find solutions to managing it. We are still asked, what sort of mentor will I get, or will people think less of me for asking for help, but by and large New Zealanders are becoming more willing to use a business mentor as a way of making their business more successful.

‘We have clearly shown that business mentoring has a significant role to play in the health of the country’s economy. New Zealanders make very good mentors. Friendliness and the values of “putting something back”, fairness and giving someone a hand up, resonate well with most of us. We have accumulated significant “grassroots” knowledge of small businesses and their owners –what their strengths, weaknesses and needs really are (as opposed to what they say they are).’

Through the work of over 1,900 independent volunteer business mentors BMNZ enables people with recognised skills and success to put something back into their own communities. Business Mentors New Zealand provides access to a wide variety of volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The focus of the organisation is on developing capability, profitability, and employment generation. Business Mentors New Zealand is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides a mentoring service to any businesses that are trading, with less than 25 employees.

There is no limit on the number of mentoring sessions. The $150 registration fee allows mentoring for up to two years. The term of the relationship with a mentor depends on the objectives and goals both client and mentor jointly agrees upon. They can also contact their co-ordinator at any point for further assistance

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Infographic celebrates 120 years of women’s suffrage

Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have produced an infographic presenting a snapshot of women’s achievements in the 120 years since women’s suffrage. The infographic shows, over time, a representation of trends in employment, education and childbearing for 1893, 1953 and 2013.

Strong business confidence & growth expectations for New Zealand SME market

In this report:

  • SME economic and revenue expectations increasingly positive
  • Local SMEs outperforming Australian counterparts
  • Christchurch continues to drive growth Press Release From MYOB
               
Click the down arrow to read more...

New research released today by MYOB, New Zealand’s largest accounting software provider, reveals a significant improvement over the past six months in the confidence and financial expectations of local small and medium business (SME) operators.

The MYOB Business Monitor Report found SMEs are increasingly optimistic about the state of the economy as well as their own performance. This was evidenced through an improvement in economic health expectations, a slight uptick in revenue results over the 12 months to August and a positive work pipeline.

The Monitor, a national survey of 1,000+ business owners and managers commissioned to market research firm Colmar Brunton, has run since 2009. It explores their business performance, attitudes, plans, pressures and more.

In the latest study, 28% of operators expected the economy to improve within 12 months – up on 24% in the March 2013 report and 18% in the June 2012 report. 59% expected it to take more than a year, down from 66% and 73% respectively. Further good news was the 30% of SMEs reporting a revenue rise over the last year and 43% reporting stable revenue. Just 24% saw a fall – an improvement on 27% and 30% in March 2013 and June 2012.

MYOB NZ General Manager, Business Division, James Scollay, says the Monitor is painting a positive picture for the New Zealand business community. “Over the last year, we have seen the health of the small and medium business sector transformed from a stop-start recovery to a far more dependable, consistent level of growth,” he says.

“This is fantastic news for those New Zealanders who have worked so hard over the post-recession period to invest in growth and consolidate gains. It validates their determined resilience through one of the most challenging periods of our economic history.

“Over the next 12 months, the revenue picture is even brighter. 43% of local SMEs expect their results to improve in the coming year, while a further 41% expect steady revenue. Only 10% are forecasting a fall – the lowest proportion we have seen since March 2010.”

Contrasts across the ditch
New Zealand’s performance is in stark contrast with Australia, where MYOB runs a parallel Monitor survey.

Mr Scollay observes, “The SME sector in Australia is facing a much tougher time, as its economy hits headwinds such as falling international demand in the minerals sector. The performance of our major trading partner is certainly something we need to be aware of as we look ahead to 2014.”

“Only 18% of Australian operators saw revenue growth in the last year and 25% expected it to improve in the year ahead – almost half that of New Zealand. 23% expected to see their local economy improve within 12 months.”

Prices on the way up, interest rates a concern
One quarter of local SMEs plan to increase their prices by the end of 2013, according to the survey, while 19% will increase employee pay rates, in a sign that inflationary pressures may increase in the later half of the year.

Interest rates are still a concern, with almost one quarter (22%) of all businesses surveyed expecting pressure here in the coming year. However, the top four pressures were fuel prices (35%), attracting new customers (27%), cashflow (26%) and price margins and profitability (23%).

Christchurch rebuild powers ahead
Christchurch has remained ahead of the other main centres in the key metrics measured by the Monitor, as the rebuild increases pace and extends further into the New Zealand economy.

Christchurch business operators were the most positive about the economy, with 37% expecting an improvement there in the next 12 months. Auckland also tracked ahead of the rest of the country, at 30%. Wellington business operators remained less certain, with 22% expecting improvement within 12 months.

Christchurch business operators were also more likely to report an annual revenue rise in the previous 12 months and to anticipate a revenue rise in the following 12 months. Auckland followed, and was more likely to report and anticipate stability than the other centres. Wellington was least likely to report and anticipate a rise. Mr Scollay says,

“Christchurch is getting a roll on now, with some very strong growth and solid expectations. Despite the delays and challenges of the rebuild, there’s little doubt now that it is driving significant improvements across the health of local businesses – with potential for the whole country.”

The impact of the rebuild is particularly evident in pipeline work booked for August through to October in the city. 42% of Christchurch SMEs have more work on than usual and only 14% have less. Auckland is also strong, with 40% of businesses there reporting more work than usual, and only 15% less. 35% of Wellington SMEs reported more pipeline work than usual (similar to the national average of 36%) while 20% have less (17% national average).

Manufacturing ‘crisis’ over, agribusiness sector struggles
Despite the general positivity in the economy, the survey highlighted some weakness in key sectors.

“Trading has become tighter for the retail and hospitality sector, which slipped further into negative territory as 27% reported revenue growth, down on 29% in March, and revenue falls remained high at 38%,” Mr Scollay says. “However, the sector is expecting to turn the corner next year, with almost half of local hospitality and retail businesses expecting revenue to grow, and few expecting falls.”

“It’s here in particular that we would encourage business operators (SMEs) to consider increasing their investment in an online presence and e-commerce tools. This will enable them to take advantage of improved efficiencies and wider audience reach, and enjoy the resulting revenue improvements.” The proportion of primary sector - agriculture, forestry and fishing - businesses reporting revenue growth has also fallen, from 21% in March to just 15%.

The proportion with revenue falls is relatively steady (from 38% to 39%).

“The rural sector has also struggled over recent months, perhaps as a result of some lingering effects of the drought, coupled with global uncertainty and the high Kiwi dollar,” says Mr Scollay.

“There’s very good news in other sectors though, with any thought of a manufacturing ‘crisis’ now dispelled on the back of these results, and the construction sector still showing growth,” says Mr Scollay.

Revenue has improved dramatically for the manufacturing and wholesale sector, with 36% now reporting growth over the last 12 months, and just 16% a fall. In March 2013, this was 27% and 35%. The construction sector is also in positive territory, with revenue growth improving from 31% of operators in March to 37% in the latest survey.

“Although there are some constant pressures and some sectors in which some weakness remains, overall our local SME sector is looking pleasingly healthy in this latest MYOB Business Monitor,” Mr Scollay says.

“There are many major opportunities for businesses (SMEs) to solidify their growth potential, and with careful planning and advice, lock in those gains to invest in further development. It's a very positive time to be in business in New Zealand.”

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For further information, statistical breakdowns or to arrange an interview please contact:
Gerard Blank Kristy Sheppard The Agency Communications Limited MYOB Tel: 03 341 5841 / Mob: 0275 243 629 Tel: 09 925 3560 / Mob: +61 407 450 860 Email: gerard@theagencynz.co.nz Email:

kristy.sheppard@myob.com

About the MYOB Business Monitor
The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 1,000+ New Zealand small and medium business owners and managers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. It has run since 2009, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. This most recent survey ran late January/early February 2013. The Monitor researches business performance and attitudes in areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline, technology usage and the government. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.

About MYOB New Zealand
Established in 1991, MYOB is New Zealand’s largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for over 1.2 million businesses across New Zealand and Australia, around one quarter of which are New Zealand based. The company provides support via many client service channels including a network of over 20,000 accounting firms, bookkeepers and other consultants. MYOB’s solutions simplify accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more, for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than NZ$35 million annually on R&D. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink.

For further information visit myob.co.nz.

Stress on Rural Business Prompts New Initiative From Business Mentors

Business Mentors New Zealand has announced a new initiative to increase business mentoring support to rural businesses throughout New Zealand, which are facing increasing levels of stress worsened by the aftermath of the recent drought, tighter regulations on health and safety, and environmental controls.

The new initiative supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment sees the $150 Business Mentors’ registration fee waived for businesses in areas where a medium-scale drought was declared. The country’s 17 Business Mentoring agencies are being encouraged to place greater emphasis on supporting rural enterprises.

Ray Schofield CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand says: `We know that your typical Kiwi guy won’t ask for the help that could help him take his company to the next level. The purpose of this initiative is to assist rural businesses affected by the drought in those areas where the medium-scale drought has been declared. The funding is specifically to enable free client registrations that normally cost $150. Funding of these registration costs are seen as a means of removing any real or perceived barriers to business owners accessing support from BMNZ.’

Rising pressures on farmers and recent statistics that show stress and depression is a real issue in rural communities, which has serious economic consequences. Ministry of Health data shows the suicide rate for those living in rural areas is 16 per 100,000 people, compared to a rate of 11.2 per 100,000 people in urban areas.

Lack of support for farmers in particular leads to poorer decision making on farm, affecting animals and the whole farm system. This often leads to poorer farm productivity and profitability. Ray Schofield explains: `A business mentor is unique one-to-one, confidential and highly experienced in the trials and tribulations of running a small to medium sized enterprise. One of the big things is the isolation which rural businesses are often faced. A business mentor takes that away and provides a sounding board to take the company to the next level.’

Business Mentors New Zealand is the country’s only national volunteer business mentoring service. The not for profit organisation helps around 250 businesses find a mentor every month and has assisted more than 65,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand in the last 22 years. Business Mentors provides access to over 1,900 volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The $150 registration fee allows mentoring for up to two years. Rural businesses who wish to apply for a mentor under this new initiative are advised to call 0800 209 209 to see if they meet MBIE criteria for a registration code.

Women in Business Less Afraid to Ask For Help Says Business Mentors NZ

Women in business are increasingly asking for help with growing their companies leaving their male counterparts floundering in their wake, according to Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ), the country’s only national volunteer business mentoring service.

Lisa Ford, BMNZ National Agency Manager says: `We are seeing an increase in the proportion of women signing up for the mentoring programme, which is part of a discernible trend among New Zealand SMEs. Businesswomen and younger entrepreneurs seem to find it easier to ask for help. But your typical Kiwi guy won’t ask for the help that could help him take his company to the next level.’

Business Mentors New Zealand helps around 250 businesses find a mentor every month and has assisted more than 65,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand in the last 22 years. Business Mentors provides access to over 1,900 volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The $150 registration fee allows mentoring for up to two years.

Lisa Ford explains: `Our registration desk often reports that a businessman’s wife or partner has got in touch to arrange a business mentor because they can see the business is in need of extra support to grow. Women are by nature much more collaborative and ready to seek out advice and support when they need it. Many guys simply soldier on regardless. Our message is that some of the most successful companies in the country have got where they are today with the help of a business mentor. It’s something they really should be proud of doing. None of us knows everything and it’s the smart guys who know when to pull in an expert advisor.’

BMNZ measures the success of its mentoring programme with an independent client satisfaction survey. The last available figures for In 2012/2013 show that recommendation of the service has improved by 2% since the beginning of the financial year, reaching an all time high of 95% during the last four-month survey period of December 2012 to March 2013 Of those who responded to the survey 19% of businesses were novice business, 33% had been in business for 1-3 years and 48% were established (4+ years). Principal Industries serviced were Retail Trade (14%), Personal & Other Services (12%), Manufacturing (10%), Construction (10%), and Health & Community Services (8%).

Companies Dying of Embarrassment Business Mentors NZ Warns

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are literally dying of embarrassment in New Zealand because they are ashamed of seeking help just when they need it most, warns Ray Schofield, CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand, the only national, volunteer business mentoring organisation. Mr Schofield says that many SMEs run into trouble early in their development but won’t ask for the help that could see them through a rough patch.

He explains: `There are lots of challenges in those first few months and early years of setting up a business but the New Zealand stoical attitude means that many struggling enterprises fail to seek help in time. The double whammy at 18 months when provisional tax really kicks in is often the final straw. But if only owner operators got themselves a business mentor earlier, more of them would survive. Our volunteer mentors, who provide a free service for up to two years, often arrive just in the nick of time.’

Business Mentors Patron Partner, Statistics New Zealand: NZ Business Demography Statistics for 2012 reports that there were only 40,690 new enterprises set up in New Zealand, a fall of 11.2 per cent on the previous year. This was the lowest birth rate since comparable data was first collected in 2000 and the third year in a row that more businesses have closed than opened. There were 469,120 enterprises in total, down by 0.8 per cent on the previous year.

Lisa Ford, Business Mentors National Agency Manager told a meeting of volunteer mentors hosted by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development at North Harbour Stadium this week: `Time after time our coordinators tell us they call up a new company owner to arrange mentoring only to find that they know nothing about it. That’s because their partner has called us in because they can see the business is struggling. They are simply too ashamed to ask for help themselves, yet some of the most successful companies in the country have got where they are today with the help of a business mentor. It’s something they really should be proud of doing. None of us knows everything and it’s the smart guys who know when to pull in an expert advisor.’

Business ‘deaths’ have outnumbered ‘births’ for the past three years meaning the total number of enterprises has been falling since 2009 with 30,000 fewer businesses set up last year than in 2004. Mentors report that finding the right support, financial as well as expertise, advice and tools to put a new venture on a sustainable footing are vital components to success.

Business Mentors New Zealand helps around 250 businesses find a mentor every month and has assisted more than 65,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand in the last 22 years. Business Mentors provides access to over 1,900 volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The $150 registration fee allows mentoring for up to two years.

For more information please visit www.businessmentors.org.nz -ends-

Business Mentors New Zealand Trust Update

MEDIA STATEMENT - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

It is with profound regret that the Business Mentors New Zealand Trust has accepted the resignation of Rick Bettle from the position of Chairman of Business Mentors New Zealand Limited. Trust Chairman, Dr Grahame Craig observed that Rick had rendered outstanding service to the organisation over many years, in the form of countless hours of donated time, both within and outside of Board meetings.

Under his stewardship BMNZ had experienced its most significant developments, including the expansion of its business mentoring programme into 11 Pacific Island countries. Dr Craig noted that Rick's contribution had been characterized by unwavering integrity, attention to detail and an abiding passion for business mentoring.

For further information, please contact Dr Grahame Craig, 027 5108646

2DEGREES AND BUSINESS MENTORS PARTNER TO HELP SMES FIND SOMEONE TO TALK TO

Two of the country’s fastest growing business networks are joining forces to provide more help for New Zealand small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in response to growing demand for business mentor support.

2degrees, the leading supplier of mobile communications solutions to SMEs has become a Partner Patron of Business Mentors New Zealand, the only national network of volunteer, independent business mentors, supported by private enterprise, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and local economic development agencies and chambers of commerce.

Ray Schofield, CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand believes that 2degrees’ support will enhance the business mentoring service.

‘We’re delighted that 2degrees has come on board,’ explains Ray. ‘Our mentors and mentoring clients tell us that mobile communications is the future of their business growth. 2degrees understands their challenges and with our combined experience, we will be able us to improve our offering. It is set to be an important and very exciting partnership.’

2degrees Senior Campaign Manager Rhona Hamilton says Business Mentors is an ideal fit for the company: ‘2degrees launched in 2009 and we have enjoyed phenomenal growth since then. However, like all businesses, we have experienced our fair share of challenges and growing pains along the way and are looking forward to sharing those learnings and success stories through our relationship with the Business Mentoring team and their clients.’

Mrs Hamilton says 2degrees can not only offer New Zealand businesses sage advice, but also fairer, better deals on their mobile plans.

‘2degrees has been operating in the NZ business sector just under two years now and our mission is to make life easier for kiwi businesses. We offer great value, flexible plans that will enable NZ businesses to stay connected in today’s mobile workplace,’ says Mrs Hamilton.

‘As a start, we are planning to announce some special deals for NZ Business Mentor clients shortly. By supporting the services of over 1900 business mentors and their thousands of clients we believe we can make a real difference to the range of support available to local businesses wherever they are in the country,’ she adds.

Ray Schofield says 2degrees’ commitment will make a real difference to the service Business Mentors New Zealand can offer: ‘Business Mentors New Zealand is a non-profit organisation, which is largely funded by patrons from the private sector. Without the support of our sponsors, such as 2degrees, we would not be able to keep providing our free mentoring service to companies across New Zealand.’

- ENDS -

For further information please contact:
Charlene White External Communications Manager, 2degrees Mobile Limited (M) 021 053 6382
Ray Schofield CEO Business Mentors New Zealand Tel: 09 523 0110 or 0274 735 435

About Business Mentors New Zealand
Business Mentors New Zealand was established in 1991.
It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides a mentoring service to trading businesses that employ less than 25 FTE’s and is the owner's main source of income.

A registration fee of $150 + GST applies, which entitles businesses to use the mentoring service for two years. This is the only cost - the mentoring received is free.

About 2degrees
Launched in August 2009, 2degrees Mobile has significantly lowered the cost of making mobile phone calls and texts for Kiwis. 2degrees now has over 40 retail outlets, 97% network coverage across the country and the team has grown to over 770, with a mix of over 40 different nationalities.

The company has committed over $550 million to building New Zealand’s third mobile phone network. Company shareholders include US-based mobile communications specialists, Trilogy International Partners, the Hautaki Trust, Communication Venture Partners and KLR Hong Kong Ltd.

The combined shareholders bring a wealth of international experience and knowledge which is of huge benefit to New Zealand mobile users.

More information at: www.2degreesmobile.co.nz

Innovest: five international speakers on growing your business – June 18th

The Innovest Conference will bring together a host of local and international business specialists to provide an objective, hard-hitting assessment on what it takes to step-up and create a high growth, international business.

Often the biggest challenge is that you don’t know, what you don’t know. We are flying in five international experts who have owned or worked alongside hundreds of dynamic businesses and have unlocked the magic formula to competing in dynamic and complex international markets. <br><br>They will share with you their stories, insights and international perspectives on the key elements of success, strategy and financing growth required to compete on the global stage. Two are international sector specialists in Food & Software who after immersing themselves over three days in the local industry, will provide a contrast with New Zealand’s international competitors. <br><br>This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet such a renowned group of international experts in one place and leverage their knowledge and expertise to gain a truly global view.  A must for exporters or ambitious firms looking to grow on a global scale.
<br><br>
For more information please see:

www.innovestauckland.com/programme/




Law Society and Business Mentors New Zealand to work together

The New Zealand Law Society and Business Mentors New Zealand have agreed to work together to enhance the sustainability of legal practices in New Zealand.

The leaders of the two organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding. This formalises access by Law Society members to Business Mentors New Zealand’s mentoring service after payment of a registration fee.

New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says the Law Society sees the agreement as a key development in its Practising Well programme which aims to provide support and resources to enhance the health and wellbeing of lawyers.

“New Zealand is a land of small businesses, and this includes law firms. Over 90% of our law practices have fewer than the 25 employees which is the limit for Business Mentors’ services,” Mr Moore says.

“Business Mentors has the goal of enhancing the sustainability of small and medium businesses by using the skills and experience of successful business people to support and advise them. Law practices face most of the same business challenges and this is an exciting opportunity to expand the use our members make of Business Mentors’ network.”

Ray Schofield, CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand, welcomes the New Zealand Law Society’s decision to support its members through the volunteer mentoring programme.

He says: “Business Mentors provides access to 1,900 volunteer mentors (who provide their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge), and the focus is on developing capability, profitability and employment generation.

“Since the organisation was established in 1991, Business Mentors has assisted over 60,000 small to medium businesses. It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.”

ANZ Boosts its Partnership with Business Mentors New Zealand

ANZ Bank has become a Partner Patron sponsor of Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ), the not for profit organisation which provides a national business mentoring service to support the development and growth of New Zealand’s small to medium sized enterprises.

Prior to the recent merger of ANZ and the National Bank, both organisations were National Patrons of Business Mentors. The combined organisation has significantly increased its financial support, exceeding the amount given by the separate brands, and has boosted its commitment to that of a Partner Patron.

Fred Ohlsson, Managing Director ANZ Business Banking comments: `This is an integral part of our support for SMEs in New Zealand. According to ANZ’s latest Business Micro Scope survey of small businesses they are finding the going harder than their larger counterparts. Low turnover continues to be the biggest challenge small businesses face, with many also citing increasing costs, economic uncertainty and a lack of skilled staff as significant issues. In times like these it’s more important than ever that small firms get the expert support and advice they need to manage their businesses.’

Ray Schofield, CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand welcomes ANZ’s decision to increase its support for the SME sector through the volunteer mentoring programme. He says: ‘ANZ and the National Bank have been supporters since the very beginning and it is heartening to see the bank boost its involvement with us to the very highest level. Business Mentors New Zealand is a non-profit organisation, which is largely funded by patrons from the private sector. Without the support of our sponsors, such as ANZ, we would not be able to keep providing our free mentoring service to companies across New Zealand.’

Business Mentors provides access to 1,900 volunteer mentors (who provide their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge), and the focus is on developing capability, profitability, and employment generation. Since the organisation was established in 1991, Business Mentors has assisted over 60,000 small to medium businesses. It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Click here for more informaton on Becoming a Client

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TELARC supports Nation's SMEs by partnering with Business Mentors New Zealand

Telarc, the country's leading ISO Standards certifying body has become a Partner Patron sponsor of Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ), the not for profit organisation which provides a national business mentoring service to support the development and growth of New Zealand’s small to medium sized enterprises.

‘We are looking forward to becoming involved with Business Mentors New Zealand,’ says Telarc CEO, Peter Rose. ‘We believe that the success of New Zealand’s SME sector and therefore the economy as a whole depends on our ability to improve standards. We annually assess the management systems of over 2,000 organisations across both public and private sectors. As a Crown Entity Subsidiary, our aim is to help companies become compliant, thus ensuring higher growth rates for sales, employment, payroll, and average annual earnings. We also assist in reducing running costs and reduce overall risk, while ensuring the efficient use of resources, promoting stakeholder reassurance and industry compliance.’

Ray Schofield, CEO of Business Mentors New Zealand welcomes Telarc’s decision to support the SME sector through the volunteer mentoring programme. He says: ‘Business Mentors New Zealand is a non-profit organisation, which is largely funded by patrons from the private sector. Without the support of our sponsors, such as Telarc, we would not be able to keep providing our free mentoring service to companies across New Zealand.’

Telarc works with a range of standards and accreditations, including the globally recognised Quality Management System ISO 9001, Environmental ISO 14001, PEFC, FSC, Health and Safety ASNZS 4801 and Public Safety 7901. Business Mentors provides access to 1,900 volunteer mentors (who provide their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge), and the focus is on developing capability, profitability, and employment generation. Since the organisation was established in 1991, Business Mentors has assisted over 60,000 small to medium businesses. It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.



Microsoft - You're Invited

Organisations have an opportunity to gain business insight from the unprecedented volume of data they are capturing. Business Leaders want to empower users of all levels with new insights through familiar tools while balancing the need for IT to monitor and manage user created content.

Join solution experts from Microsoft, our partners and customers, as well as a special guest from Forrester Research to learn how you can:

1. Gain immersive insight, wherever you are with familiar Microsoft Office and Business Intelligence (BI) tools.

2. Connect with the world’s data to unlock hidden patterns through a combination of internal and publicly available data and services, including social media sites.

3. Manage any data, any size, anywhere through a modern data management platform that supports structured, unstructured, and real-time data with the simplicity of Microsoft Windows and SQL Server, and the elastic scalability of the cloud.

Register at www.microsoft.co.nz/bievent

Majority of SME Owners Do Not Have Business 1.01 Business Mentors’ Warning At 21st AGM

One of the founders of Business Mentors New Zealand, the only national, volunteer business mentoring organisation, told its 21st anniversary AGM that the owners of most small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country were simply not ‘match fit’.


Dr Grahame Craig, chairman of trustees, Business Mentors New Zealand told the milestone AGM, hosted by ASB Bank at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland, last night (16th October): `You can’t get up close and personal with tens of thousands of SME’s and their owners, plus generate hundreds of case study write-ups, without gaining a very powerful and unique insight into them.

‘The essence of that insight is that the vast majority of SME owners do not have Business 1.01.  Worse still, they don’t even see the need for it.  Even worse again, for 80% of them, their stated problems are not their real problems, or at best, only a small subset of them.’

Business Mentors New Zealand helps around 250 businesses every month and has assisted more than 60,000 small to medium-size enterprise owners in New Zealand over the last 21 years.

Dr Craig told the meeting: `Over the 21 years of our history I believe we have clearly shown that business mentoring has a significant role to play in the health of any economy. New Zealanders make very good mentors.  Friendliness and the values of “putting something back”, fairness  and giving someone a hand up, resonate well with most of us. We have accumulated significant  “grassroots” knowledge of small businesses and their owners –what their strengths, weaknesses and needs really are (as opposed to what they say they are).’

Dr Craig added: ‘We have found that effective mentoring inevitably requires the mentor to address the owner as well as the business. Any business is only as good as its owner. This means addressing the business owner’s mindset and skillset. Business is a rough and tumble game.  You can get hurt playing it as we know.  Yet we find, over and over again, that far too many business owners are not only not match fit – they don’t even consider it as relevant to them.’

Through the work of over 1,864 independent volunteer business mentors BMNZ enables people with recognised skills and success to put something back into their own communities. Business Mentors New Zealand provides access to a wide variety of volunteer mentors (who give their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The focus of the organisation is on developing capability, profitability, and employment generation. Business Mentors New Zealand is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides a mentoring service to any businesses that are trading with evidence of accounts.

There is no limit on the number of mentoring sessions. The $150 registration fee allows mentoring for up to two years. The term of the relationship with a mentor depends on the objectives and goals both client and mentor jointly agrees upon. They can also contact their co-ordinator at any point for further assistance.

For more information about Business Mentors New Zealand please visit www.businessmentors.org.nz

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Further Information
Dr Grahame Craig, Business Mentors- 0275 108 646 or 07 866 8628


Mentoring for NZ start-up businesses

Start-up business owners will receive free mentoring and advice from some of New Zealand’s brightest business leaders, thanks to a new partnership between BNZ and Business Mentors New Zealand.

The initiative aims to prime Kiwi start-ups for growth, and offers a specially designed package with the tools they need for the critical make-or-break years.

BNZ Director, Retail, Andy Symons says this newest offering caters to the specialist needs of New Zealand start-ups.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand business landscape, with 90% of all New Zealand enterprises having five or fewer employees. That’s why they need all the help they can get in their formative years, to help drive the country’s financial future prosperity.”

Along with free access to a business mentor for up to two years, BNZ’s new offer for start-ups includes
• a 24 month fee waiver on MyMoney for Business
• Global Plus Business card at 2.99% for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases
• free use of Xero for three months
• a Telco package from Telstra which caters to small businesses needs at $75 a month
• new business plan diagnostic tools for starting and growing a business.

International studies of business mentoring programmes found a number of benefits for small and medium sized enterprises directly attributable to the scheme, including increased sales turnover of 3.3 per cent, increased after-tax profits of 17.9 per cent and increased employment of 6.1 per cent.

Business Mentors New Zealand CEO Ray Schofield says, “We now have 1,800 independent volunteer business mentors who provide their skill, knowledge and experience for the benefit of SME clients. They are dedicated to supporting the implementation of knowledge and solutions that meet their particular client’s circumstances. They remain independent and objective, focus on growth opportunities and export, build their clients’ business capabilities, help generate wealth and employment as well as support businesses in crisis and recovery.”

Mr Symons says this new offer adds to the already strong proposition for small business that saw BNZ awarded Canstar Cannex best small business bank in 2011.

Last year the bank extended its TotalMoney product to businesses, which has saved New Zealanders more than $110million since its launch five years ago. It provides complimentary access to the small business Edge centre located in the Auckland CBD, and has seven-days-a-week access to specialist small business bankers, who are also available via video conference.

Business Mentors NZ gains on average 250 new clients every month, with another 1,500 clients continuing to work with a mentor each year, having assisted over 60,000 businesses since 1991.

A small business is classified as usually having fewer than five employees, and less than $1million turnover per annum. More than 3,700 start ups are launched in New Zealand each month.

Logajob Online Tool Brings Trades People and Homeowners Together

A bright future of bringing trades people and homeowners together to get jobs done is ahead of a rapidly emerging New Plymouth start-up company, and the Business Mentor Scheme is right behind it.

The brainchild of New Plymouth woman Tonya Callebaut, Logajob is an online tool where homeowners list their renovation and trades projects, and local tradesmen are notified and can provide a quote to do the work.

Since launching in October 2011, after more than three years in development, the site has seen rapid growth in Taranaki and is now being taken nationwide.

Read the full news item at the Venture Taranaki website.

The Small Business Advisory Group Seeks Members

The Minister for Small Business invites applications for the Small Business Advisory Group (SBAG).

The Small Business Advisory Group (SBAG) was set up in October 2003 to give small businesses a greater voice in policy development. Over the past nine years, it has done this by identifying issues impacting the growth and development of small businesses, suggesting priorities for action, and exploring solutions. Its work has had a significant impact.

The term of the current SBAG is coming to a close. The government would like to hear from people with the qualities to make a difference to small businesses in New Zealand.

Read the full press release at the business.govt.nz website.

Lock Finance Says Cash Flow Crisis Crippling Christchurch Rebuild

Christchurch businesses are struggling with a cash flow crisis that threatens to cripple the region’s efforts to rebuild according to Lock Finance, which has specialised in business financing since 1889 and has a significant number of Canterbury clients.

Lock Finance are a National Level Supporter of Business Mentors New Zealand.

Business Mentor Says "Fun is The Driver"

“The bottom line is that mentoring is just a lot of fun,” says Teresa Bowe from her ‘Board Room’ – the sun-drenched deck of her home and business Belt Road Holiday Park.

“People get into business because they have a passion for what they’re doing and they love their business,” Teresa says over a coffee, “As a mentor it’s great to get involved with such passionate people, who have all this energy but may need some guidance on making it work better for them.”

“I really enjoy meeting and helping these passionate people who are doing such great things.”

Read the full story at the Venture Taranaki website. Venture Taranaki are the Taranaki agents for Business Mentors New Zealand.

Business Mentors Increases One-Off Registration Fee To Cope with Loss of Charitable Status

Business Mentors NZ, the nation’s number one not-for-profit mentoring organisation, will increase its one-off $100 registration fee to $150 from 1st June to enable it to cope with the financial implications of its loss of charitable status.

The Charities Commission has deregistered the not for profit organisation on the basis that the key benefactor of the business mentoring service is the individual business owner and that the community gets no measureable benefit.

Business Mentors CEO, Ray Schofield explains: ‘We are committed to keeping the day-to-day running costs of Business Mentors NZ to a minimum. However, the loss of our charitable status combined with increasing demand for our services from small and medium enterprises and the associated costs means that we have to put our registration fee up to cope.

‘The extra income will assist with any administration costs not covered by our private sector patron sponsors and NZTE government funding enabling us to cope with the financial implications of the Charities Commission’s decision. ’

Business failure is a serious problem for New Zealand with devastating consequences for families and communities. The Business Mentoring service is a proven generator of employment and growth, which is vital to our nation’s well being. In particular we help to grow the economy through building performance capability, especially exporting from the SME sector. With over 1800 volunteer mentors Business Mentors New Zealand helps on average 4,300 business clients a year and has assisted over 60,000 businesses since its inception in 1991. In addition we have also supported 127 Not for Profit organisations in the last two years.

The organisation also plays a key community support service in the Canterbury reconstruction through its 330 local volunteer mentors. The critical importance of this activity has been recognised by the Government paying the current $100 client registration fee for Canterbury businesses as well as funding an additional part time administrator in our Christchurch agency.

The Government’s appreciation of the effectiveness of business mentoring is evidenced by its decision to fully fund for six years the delivery of services to 10 Pacific Island nations as part of MFAT/NZAID, programme using NZ Volunteer mentors.

Although Business Mentors New Zealand receives an annual grant from NZTE for its work in New Zealand, the Business Mentoring service could not continue without the support of its 85 private sector business sponsors. Our volunteer mentors give their time freely to their local communities, which in itself is a charitable activity.

The registration fee, which has remained unchanged since October 2007, will entitle business owners to all Business Mentors services for up to two years, including mentoring sessions with an experienced business person and access to a wealth of information and resources.

MYOB Says Business Supports Government's Zero Budget Approach

The Government’s strongly signaled ‘zero-budget’ approach will find favour with New Zealand business when it is announced this week, a new study reveals. The MYOB business monitor, a regular survey of over 1000 small to medium enterprises, found that 68% of businesses supported “an increased focus on cutting Government expenditure to ensure the New Zealand Budget returns to surplus faster.”

MYOB General Manager Julian Smith said that businesses will welcome the Government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and see targeting a return to surplus as an extremely important goal for the economy.

“What this survey shows is that businesses want the Government – and the country – to be able to operate within its means,” said Julian Smith.

“Throughout the recession and the recovery, business owners – and Kiwi households – have had to budget very tightly and ensure they are getting the best value for every dollar they spend. They expect that the Government will do the same.”

As well as wide support for its financial management, the Government received its highest rating since it entered Parliament for its support of business. 21% of businesses said they were “satisfied” with the Government’s performance in helping their business succeed, up 3% from October 2011. However, disapproval still outweighs satisfaction with the Government’s performance, with 29% of businesses dissatisfied with the Government’s support.

Julian Smith says small and medium sized businesses around the country are not only the engine room of the economy and responsible for a significant proportion of employment, they are also the nation’s tax collectors – giving them a unique insight into the country’s budget.

“Through PAYE, GST, company tax and the other taxes they administer, businesses actually handle most of the nation’s tax take, so for them, that money is real. They know where it comes from and how hard it is to generate, so they support any efforts to make sure that money is spent wisely and efficiently.”

However, businesses would be disappointed that no progress is being made on their most preferred policy: simplifying the rules around provisional tax payment, Mr. Smith said.

“80% of business owners support simplification of provisional tax rules and processes to make it easier for businesses to meet their tax obligations, so it’s disappointing that this idea is not on the Government’s agenda. What’s interesting is that business is not asking for a special tax cut or any government assistance, they just want it to be easier to do business and get on with the job.”

Business owners, especially in small business, were also supportive of moves which would help their employees.

“Small business is remarkably centrist in that way,” said Mr. Smith. “Small businesses owners have a very close relationship with their staff, so they want to see them looked after.”

“For example, 38% of business support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, even though it would cost them more in wage costs, 49% would like to see gender pay equality enshrined in legislation, and 49% support the introduction of compulsory KiwiSaver, which would cost them more in increased employer contributions. Businesses really want to see government working to help their employees – and they are prepared to pay to make this happen.”

Businesses Top 5 Preferred Policies

1. Simplification of provisional tax rules and processes to make it easier for businesses to accurately determine and meet their tax obligations – 80% support.

2. Fast Track the Ultrafast Broadband Rollout – 69% support.

3. Increased focus on cutting Government expenditure to ensure the NZ Budget returns to surplus faster – 68% support.

4. Increased Government funding for innovation, research and development by NZ businesses –66% support.

5. Changes to the ACC system to introduce competition and private insurance – 63% support.

Read the full article at the MYOB Website.

RadioLive Interview Discusses Benefits of Business Mentors

RadioLive's Andrew Patterson speaks to Louise Pagonis about small business, and the benefits of using the Business Mentors service. This recording appeared on the RadioLive website on 9th May 2012.

Explore the benefits of the Business Mentors New Zealand mentoring service at the RadioLive website.

BMNZ Patron MYOB Launches New Online Payroll Offer For SMEs

MYOB, New Zealand’s leading provider of business and accounting management solutions has released the country’s first fully integrated online accounts and payroll solution, MYOB LiveAccounts with Payroll.

Designed specifically to fit the needs of small business, MYOB LiveAccounts with Payroll brings together accounts, banking and payroll into one easy-to use, affordable online system.

MYOB general manager Julian Smith says the release will be welcomed by small business, because most New Zealand businesses struggle to manage payroll without some help.

“Payroll is a real headache for most businesses; for small business, that pain is compounded,” says Mr Smith. “Small business owners are often under more pressure, juggling multiple challenges in a tough business environment, often with no external assistance.

“With the increasing complexity of new legislation – such as the changes to Student Loans and KiwiSaver that will come into effect in the new financial year – payroll is too much to keep up with manually. By integrating the key business functions – accounts, banking and payroll – into one online solution, MYOB LiveAccounts with payroll streamlines those processes. MYOB is enabling business owners to focus on doing business, not worrying about it. “It is just one of the ways we are helping businesses to take advantage of the benefits afforded by cloud computing.”

MYOB is an industry leader in providing online accounting and business management solutions, with more than 35,000 businesses utilising a MYOB online solution in Australasia. MYOB LiveAccounts with Payroll is a right-sized business tool that will enable business owners to raise invoices, keep track of expenses and manage GST – anywhere and anytime. With the additional payroll functionality, the new LiveAccounts release will also help to manage employee payroll, fulfil KiwiSaver obligations, simplify leave management, and accurately and easily file monthly IRD schedules.

Despite the additional features and benefits, MYOB has not raised the price of LiveAccounts, maintaining the $25 monthly fee, with no limits on number of users within a business, or support. Mr Smith says this aligns with the company’s original vision for the online solution. “When we first designed MYOB LiveAccounts, the focus was not only on ease of use, but also affordability – pricing the solution at a level that will put an effective accounting system within reach of even the smallest business,” says Mr Smith. “Since then, we have continued to invest in enhancing that value proposition to add extra features as part of our programme of continual product and process improvement.

“For sole traders, LiveAccounts is the complete solution; for micro-employers, LiveAccounts with Payroll provides the extra tools to manage their staffing requirements at no extra cost.

This new initiative is one of a number of MYOB initiatives designed to support start-ups, sole traders and smaller businesses.

“Many New Zealand companies that have succeeded on the global stage have started out as sole traders, creating a staff-base as they grow, and many New Zealanders get their first employment opportunity in a small business,” says Mr Smith. “While the extra set of hands may lighten the workload, the reality is that it adds another layer of tax and compliance issues.

“As a nation, we should be making it easier for entrepreneurs and micro-employers to grow their business by removing some of the hurdles associated with the transition from owner-operator to employer.”

LiveAccounts with Payroll will be launched in early April, available at www.myob.co.nz/liveaccounts. Business owners can trial the software for free for 30 days.

Employers At Risk Of Overtaxing Due To Payroll Changes

MYOB have issued a press release concerning the recent raft of changes made to payroll processing legislation by the New Zealand Government.

A number of small adjustments could provide a major headache for employers, and put less money in their employee’s pockets, as a range of payroll changes come into play on 1 April.

The start of the new financial year sees a reduction in the ACC levy rate, the removal of the 2% exemption from Employer Superannuation Contribution Tax (ESCT) for KiwiSaver, and changes to the student loan scheme.

MYOB general manager Julian Smith says while the tax changes combine to create a fairly significant amendment, they are not widely recognised by employers.

“This new financial year sees a raft of new calculations employers will need to make when processing payroll,” says Julian Smith.

“And while each is just an adjustment to existing schemes, the potential is that employers might not be aware of the changes, or may not take them into account immediately – and end up overtaxing their staff.”

Mr Smith says the reduction in ACC payments is a key change employers need to be across. After increasing steadily for several years, the ACC Earner Levy is dropping from 2.04% to 1.7%.

“While that’s not a massive change, it does mean an overall reduction in PAYE – and that’s money better in your staff’s pockets than going to the IRD.”

“This is really our key concern around these changes – if employers aren’t aware of them, or don’t make the necessary adjustments, the potential economic stimulus designed by the Government in this tax change just won’t flow through to the economy.”

“While it’s never good for employers to be overtaxing their staff, with sluggish growth across the country, at present we need all New Zealanders to be getting everything they’ve earned, and investing that back into the economy.”

Other amendments employers must be aware of from 1 April include a significant change to the way employers’ contributions to KiwiSaver are taxed.

Employers’ contributions to KiwiSaver have always been subject to ESCT (Employer Superannuation Contribution Tax). Until now, however, any contribution made by an employer to an employee’s KiwiSaver was exempt from tax up to 2%.

“Because 2% was the compulsory employer contribution, most employees would not have seen these contributions taxed at all,” says Julian Smith.

“However, from the 2012/2013 financial year, the full employer contribution is taxed. This change means that employees will see a decrease in the Net Employer Contribution figure on their payslips, and employers might need to explain the difference to their team.”

In addition to the tax changes, 1 April sees the introduction of new Student Loan rules, with all borrowers now required to use a student loan tax code, regardless of their earnings threshold, and separate tax codes for compulsory (SLCIR) and voluntary (SLBOR) deductions.

“The new financial year is always a busy time for business, and this year is no exception,” says Julian Smith.

“As there’s always a bit to think about, we’d encourage business owners to take the time to look at how they have their systems set up in order to streamline things like payroll, tax and GST, while also reviewing how they can improve fundamental practices for the year ahead.”

To help support businesses in planning for the new financial year, MYOB is making available a range of End of Financial Year resources, including a free business health check planner at myob.co.nz/eofyinfo, covering all the essentials to help prepare for the new financial year.

About MYOB

MYOB is a leading provider of business management solutions that have helped more than a million businesses in Australia and New Zealand. MYOB serves businesses of all kinds and sizes, delivering software and services that simplify accounting, payroll, client management, websites, and much more. With a network of more than 20,000 accountants and other professional partners, MYOB provides the tools and support that help make business life easier. For more information visit the MYOB website at www.myob.co.nz.

Rodney's Small Businesses Helped By Mentors

Help is at hand for Rodney’s small business operators through free advice from experienced mentors.

Now in its 21st year, Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) has helped more than 60,000 businesses and has a network of 1800 volunteer mentors available to owners of both new and established businesses that are currently trading and have fewer than 25 employees.

Read the full story at the Local Matters Website.

Q & A Holidays and Leave

Do you have any questions regarding your employees entitlement to holidays and leave? Then check out this informative document from the Department of Labour

MYOB Becomes Partner Patron

MYOB and Business Mentors create one of NZ’s largest business support networks

Television Interview with Business Mentors' CEO, Ray Schofield

Link to NZI Business Interview with Business Mentors' CEO, Ray Schofield, 30 June 2010