Mark registered with Business Mentors NZ, when he realised that he didn’t have the confidence or business savvy to move his business forward. He was assigned to mentor Ross Kennedy, who supported him and gave him newfound confidence. Ross’ expertise, knowledge, advice and guidance ensured the couple understood the foundations of a small business so they could grow and add people to it.
Electrician Mark Dudfield reckons that if everyone knew about Business Mentors NZ Ltd, there wouldn’t be enough mentors to cope with the demand.
Eighteen months ago, Mark didn’t have the confidence or business savvy to move his business forward.
With a newfound confidence he attributes to his Business Mentor Ross Kennedy, Mark is already looking at his business’ potential beyond his hometown of Cambridge.
“With Ross’ encouragement and advice I don’t let things hold me back now,” he says. “Before I wouldn’t have put out certain goals that I do now – I would have thought I wasn’t good enough.”
Mark and his wife Sarah moved back home with their six-month old baby after three years in Australia in November 2016, starting their business, Dudfields in April 2017 – with Sarah managing the administration side of the business.
The young couple was keen to grow their business further, but knew that in order to move forward, they needed support.
“There was a limited amount we could do with the resources and knowledge we had,” Mark says. “We needed someone from outside the company who could calmly tell us where we needed to put our focus.
“And that started with myself.”
While Mark had a general knowledge of how his business operated, he struggled to find the link between time production and finance.
Which is where mentor Ross came to the fore - his expertise, knowledge, advice and guidance ensuring the couple understood the foundations of a small business so they could grow and add people to it.
Addressing Mark’s time management issues was a priority.
“Mark was trying to be everything to everybody,” Ross says. “He needed to learn that he didn’t have to say yes to everything and that often saying no is more profitable than saying yes.”
Ross says now that Mark knows more about the business he operates, he “understands the business he originally wanted to build”.
“He wanted a part of the electrical industry he was in and understands when he focuses and builds on that, it will be transferred into more work.”
Mark and Sarah have already reaped the rewards of their mentor’s advice, tapping into a market niche in Mark’s specialist skill of maintaining, installing, and now also designing, commercial kitchens.
“That’s where our passion is, that’s our big focus,” Mark says.
He acknowledges that their business would not be the same without Ross’ support and advice.
“We may still be in business, but we would not be getting anywhere in the direction we are now – we would be second-guessing ourselves and the business would be a lot more stressful.”
Mark says they didn’t really know what to expect when they signed up for a Business Mentor, but everything was “so much more” than they hoped for.
“While we’re far from a perfect company and we still have our doubts and stress moments, we know we can just flick Ross an email and he’ll be straight back to us,” Mark says.
“He’s very committed to helping us out – he readily answers questions and has taken the pressure off and prevented us from making lots of mistakes.
“Every single time I walk away from a meeting with Ross, I feel driven, encouraged and calmer. There’s a lot of reassurance.”
Mark and Sarah recently hired their first employee, something that they couldn’t have contemplated 18 months ago.
Three Key Takeaways
• Ensure you have a point of difference, research the marketplace and find a gap that there is a market for - something that has little competition and many potential customers is a winner.
• Have confidence in yourself and your business, don’t be afraid to promote your business to potential customers – a huge amount of Dudfields’ customers have come through cold-calling – if you have done your market research, remember that these people need you as much as you need them – you are there to help them.
• Create balance in your life, ensure that you are meeting your personal goals as well as your business goals. Take time to step away from the business and do other things you enjoy. For Mark and Sarah this was ensuring that they always had one day off a week that was a family day and didn’t include any work – no business, no housework, just a day of fun. During busy times this was difficult to maintain, but it was worth it to have a whole day to themselves.