Gareth and Kim Rosser brought incredible creativity and attention to detail on their journey in business. That’s set them up for success in the events industry and beyond. In 2020, Covid-19 meant they faced an unexpected fork in the road. But, with the help of their like-minded Mentor, Anna Salek, they’ve found a path through. Gareth and Kim have even embarked into a new industry with GK Freight. Along the way, they’ve collected tips to share with others who are traversing the world of business ownership.
Gareth and Kim set up GK Events Hire to deliver customised, creative, and unique events. They established an extensive hire collection including natural, vintage, industrial and modern themes. Their hire range is unique in the Top of the South and is mostly handcrafted or freshly restored by the GK team themselves.
A business journey is best with someone who knows the way
Gareth and Kim sought out a Business Mentor to help them grow their understanding of how their business was running. Gareth says, “We felt a bit blind to operations and financials.
“We could see the benefit of having some external unbiased help to make decisions. Furthermore, we knew that someone who had been in business could help us understand the pitfalls and avoid mistakes.
"We wanted someone creative and on the same page as us. We're willing to listen and learn. We're open and ready to be challenged where needed. We were paired up with Anna, who is just so funky and cool. She’s the perfect fit.
“I would have found a Mentor much earlier if I had understood the value. We were making the right decisions, but it would have been faster and easier with someone to bounce things off. It would have made our journey so much faster. “
Mentor Anna was the perfect guide
“We’re incredibly grateful to Anna. She’s creative and ‘gets it.’”
Mentor Anna Salek enjoyed the match just as much.
“Gareth and Kim are very personable and they offer a high-quality service. I love seeing what they’re doing.
“They had questions around processes. They knew they needed to do things like update their website and they were working hard. Gareth and Kim are incredibly creative, and so they had lots of new products coming on and being refined.”
Gareth says Anna’s support helped them start 2020 in a strong position.
“She helped us keep focused on one thing at a time despite a wealth of ideas.
“We had a fantastic wedding season before Covid, which was fortunate."
Covid was more than a bump in the road
Cancellations started coming in when Level 3 restrictions were announced.
“Anna helped us set up procedures for refunds and deposits. Kim is a teacher and went back to working one day a week to help us get through. The government subsidy was critical, but we knew that our industry wouldn't be the same even when the lockdown ended.”
Fortunately, creative solutions are what Gareth, Kim and Mentor Anna do best.
Anna explains how she offered encouragement in the face of the pandemic.
“Gareth and Kim innately know what’s right, but they would use me as a sounding board. I focus on supporting their own problem solving by asking questions rather than providing answers.”
I had a Mentor myself, and I think about why it was so good for me, especially in times of huge upheaval.
A Mentor is someone who is there just for you: not a family member, not a friend. Sometimes it's not even for advice. Instead, talking to someone helps clarify your thinking. You don't necessarily need to be told things but it helps to share the things you’re doing with someone who’s outside your circle of interest. You can tell a Mentor anything – it’s just for you.
Plotting a path through uncertainty happens one step at a time
Despite not knowing what was around the corner, the GK team pivoted the business with their usual flair.
"Anna has helped us map out where we're heading. She's great at stopping us from dwelling on the wrong things and focus on what matters. For example, we wanted a business plan, and she's helped us by recommending a template. Her support has allowed us to get on the right road.
“Because we have a van and a truck, we’d helped others out moving things in the past. So, we reached out to see if we could help more.
We soon found a role for ourselves delivering kitchens for a couple of joinery firms. At first, it was barely enough. But, before long, we added a Christchurch run. Soon, it was growing quickly and then exponentially.
The journey is as important as the destination
Gareth and Kim have found being in the freight industry complements their lives surprisingly well. Most of the freight business happens during the week in contrast to events which tend to be evenings and weekends.
The events business is fully booked for 2021 and 2022, even to 2023. Gareth says he and Kim love the challenge of growing something new with the freight business.
Anna has had enormous satisfaction in seeing the progress of both GK Freight and GK Events.
"They now have a clear strategy. They can consider the return on investment in different parts of their business and have been able to consolidate to do everything more effectively.
“Freight allows them to build long-term relationships and contracts with the same people. In contrast, events are about wowing a new customer each time. Ultimately, facing the challenges of Covid propelled them into a really good space.”
Gareth, Kim, and Anna have no intention of cruising now the lockdowns are in the rear-view mirror. In fact, they all thrive on the ever-changing nature of challenges that entrepreneurs need to face.
“Covid was hard but it was rewarding to have got through. As we progress, we enjoy the process and the problems and the satisfaction of problem-solving.”
Gareth, Kim and Anna's tips for travelling through unmapped territory
- Stay positive. Don’t bury your head in the sand and don’t give up; there’s always something different you can do as long as you stay calm, think about things, look around you.
- Recognise there is no 'normal' in business. Things are constantly changing, whether it's house prices, exchange rates or technology shifts. There's always going to be the unexpected. So be clear about what matters and stay focused on that.
- Get a Business Mentor. Do it! Start your application process right now.
- Do your homework. Don’t jump into new things. If you’ve been around a while, then it’s okay to listen to your gut and slow things down.
- Have fun! Every job has tough bits, so engage with the people and make the most of it.