BLOG: Entrepreneurship and Pinot Noir

I read an article recently about how Pinot Noir is the new Golf.

BLOG: Entrepreneurship and Pinot Noir

Well, actually the article was about women in business but I felt so inspired I had to run out and buy some wine. After taste testing fabulous NZ Otago Pinot Noir in the name of research, the article also inspired me to get in touch with some of our fabulous industry leaders in the Xero community.  I asked Amy Harris, Kirsten Hawke and Heather Smith to tell us something about their entrepreneurial journeys...


Amy Harris

Serial entrepreneur and co-founder of exciting new financial intelligence product Crunchboards

What inspired you to set up your own business? 

Hannah and I have known each other for over 10 years, we always used to joke about working together and how much fun it would be. Then the opportunity came along (a great business idea) so we said goodbye to full-time salary (eek) and made it happen.

With the benefit of hindsight second time around, what's one thing you're doing differently starting in business now? 

Good question but to be honest, I don't think it's one thing that we are doing differently. The other business gave us a great opportunity for learning and these tweaks have all been applied to CrunchBoards. That's our style though - measure and react.

How/where do you see digital technology leading your business next? 

As a tech business we understand how to leverage it to work hard for us. Technology is the backbone of our operations and we are constantly hunting for new tools to save us time. For us it is about streamlining admin so we can focus more time on relationships offline and online.

Kirsten Hawke

Chartered Accountant and business owner of Business Buddy

What inspired you to set up your own business? 

I was working in corporate accounting, doing long hours and getting sick of all the politicking and ladder climbing. I decided to join my mother in her accounting practice while completing my CA requirements. I received my CA certificate while in hospital – dated the day before my first child was born. Being a CA in my own business has given me the opportunity of being able to remain working while raising a family. 

With the benefit of hindsight, what's one thing you'd do differently if you were starting in business now? 

I would have taken on a mentor from day 1. 

 How/Where do you see digital technology leading your business next? 

I see this as an exciting time of change in the industry. I see clients being able to access far more information and tools than they ever have before. Its our job to help them sort through all this information and guide them in understanding what’s important and relevant in helping them to achieve their goals and dreams.

Heather Smith

Author of the Xero for Dummies series, Xero Advisor, and Chartered Certified Accountant.

What inspired you to set up your own consultancy? 

I’ve been running my own business for a decade now. When the children were young, my husband and I both wanted someone to stay at home with the children; money was tight and we lived very frugally. I undertook a lot of self-directed learning to enable us to understand and manage our own finances. I prepared a household financial strategy, and my husband and I met monthly to review it, set goals, and identify what needed to be done. This enabled us to stream-line our finances; implement a self-managed super funds, and start to understand the share market. From my research, it became clear starting a business I could run from home around my family, was something I should explore.

Starting a business gives you the flexibility to work the hours you want to work, and do the work you want to do. My family is my raison d'être, so establishing a business that could enable me to do the school run, use my brain, and contribute to society, seemed the perfect solution. But it was not all sunshine and roses. For me it was many hours of contemplating what I could do, and now I run a business, it is many hats over the course of many hours!

I honestly expected I would be back in the 9-5 business world, by time the kids started school, but here I am and my kids are about to graduate school, and my little consultancy business is helping small businesses all over the world. So I guess you probably expected the answer to the question “What inspired you to set up your own consultancy?” was going to be something like “help small business find visibility and clarity in their numbers” because that’s what I do. But no, it was finding something productive I could do around the kids. Lame hey! [Ed: Not at all!]

With the benefit of hindsight, what's one thing you'd do differently if you were starting in business now? 

There have been so many technological advancements since I started my business that starting a business today, would be so different to starting a business simply a decade ago. One really simply thing I regret, is that I used my home number. I think it’s pretty obvious why that was a stupid decision. I now have a premium SKYPE number, it starts with the local area code, and when I’m in business mode, SKYPE is on, and when I am in family mode SKYPE is off. Easy.

I’ve helped hundred’s of businesses start their business and I wrote about this in my book “Learn Small Business Start-Up in 7 Days”. This comprehensive book takes you through every aspect of starting a business you need to consider, and culminates in the creation of a business plan. So you can work through as little or as much as you want. If you are thinking of starting a business, it is a low cost investment to get you on the right track.

How/Where do you see digital technology leading us in the future? 

Digital technology is developed by the demands of people. I think Australia and New Zealand freelancers and small businesses will lead the charge for the adoption and implementation of digital technology. With high labour costs, and a reasonable internet connection, the aforementioned community will push digital technology to eradicate data entry and repetitive automated tasks. Bookkeepers will evolve into management accountants and cloud integrators. Multinational microbusinesses will be run from home offices, and work and life will blur into one. Cloud storage will become cheaper. The accessibility and the speed of the internet will be constantly news fodder, because it will only ever momentarily be what we want it to be, we will always want more.


Michelle Polglase PracticePlus

As General Manager for PracticePlus, Michelle is inspired by innovation and on a mission to provide the best website solutions for accountants and bookkeepers globally.