BNZ Connect SME Podcast

BNZ Connect SME Podcast

Get insights into the unique challenges and creative solutions of some of New Zealand’s most innovative businesses, as they navigate the effects of COVID-19 on our lives and the economy. BNZ connects you with business owners as they discuss common problems, solutions and how they have managed sudden change. Hosted by New Zealand Herald Business Editor at Large, Liam Dann.

The views and claims expressed by individuals in this podcast are their own and do not represent the views of Bank of New Zealand. This material is for general information purposes only and doesn’t constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Neither BNZ nor any person involved in this podcast accepts any liability arising out of the use of, or reliance on, all or any part of the content.

Liam Dann
Liam Dann is one of the country’s most respected business journalists and has been a business editor for the New Zealand Herald for more than 10 years. He writes opinion and commentary covering markets, economics and politics and is host of the weekly Economy Hub video show.

Episode 1: Leaning in and leading through

Faced with a challenge like no other, and with the responsibility of other people and your employees jobs on your shoulders, how do you lead your business through uncertainty? In this episode we speak to two business owners who have: Joe Davis, co-founder of transformative STEM education provider Nanogirl Labs and Jason Macklow from Good George brewery and restaurants share how they embraced the challenge – leaning into the COVID-19 crisis and leading their teams to make it through lockdown.


Episode 2: Balancing kindness with cashflow

A global pandemic forced Kiwi businesses to re-examine how they operate. For two businesses on the cusp of the latest tech trends, it inspired more than just creative solutions – it inspired altruism. In this episode we speak to Sam Ramlu, from creative interactive studio Method, who created tools and resources designed to help other SME business owners juggling the digital transformation of their business and create joy for kids stuck at home over Easter, and David Kelly from SME digital transformation agency Zeald who pledged to give away 500 ecommerce websites to SMEs during lockdown and beyond.


Episode 3: Innovating out of adversity

What do you do when a global pandemic wipes out your customers almost overnight? Joe Bradford from Fiasco, a road case manufacturer for the events industry, and Olive Tabor, who owns a boutique burger and ice-cream truck called Patti’s & Cream, are two innovative businesses who weren’t going to let lockdown smother their business ambitions. Discover how they created entirely new products and distribution channels overnight, transforming their businesses in a matter of days.


Episode 4: Trusting your gut or the numbers

When a crisis hits, do you turn to data and information to help you navigate a way through or do you rely on your gut? In this episode we speak to two innovative businesses both faced with the challenge of guiding their staff and customers through at a time of uncertainty as New Zealand went into its initial COVID-19 lockdown. Angie Judge, owner of SAAS business Dexibit, turned to the data to help guide their customers through the uncertainty. While Emily Miller-Sharma, co-owner of fashion retailer Ruby, trusted her gut to keep up with the pace of decision making she was faced with. Their ultimate goal? Putting the needs of their customers first. Hear their insights as we continue to work through the ongoing impacts of Covid-19.


Episode 5: Leveraging local

Lockdown of the borders could have been devastating for two businesses reliant on international tourists. But Richard Ussher from Nelson’s popular Cable Bay Adventure Park and Oscar Rodwell from BONZ, a Queenstown based retailer and manufacturer for New Zealand made apparel are two innovative businesses who weren’t going to let a global pandemic cut them off from their customers. Discover how they engaged their workforce, deconstructed their businesses and found creative ways to leverage a domestic audience. Hear their insights as we continue to work through the ongoing impacts of Covid-19.


Episode 6: Passion and purpose

When your business’ future is up in the air, it can be a good idea to focus on your core values and passions. For two Wellington-based tech companies, New Zealand’s initial lockdown presented opportunities for both innovation and reflection. For Jessica Manins, CEO of virtual reality social gaming business Beyond, it was a time to explore how social gaming could connect people in their homes. For Nic Gibbens from digital agency PaperKite, lockdown created capacity to develop an app called Rippl that would not only give their staff purpose, but helped them create a solution that could benefit the country. Both these experiences led each business owner to reflect on their roles within their businesses and how they should position themselves for success personally and professionally. Hear their insights as we continue to work through the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.


Episode 7: Making tough decisions under pressure

Being a business owner means making tough decisions. When some businesses were forced to close their doors during New Zealand’s initial Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown, or faced losing millions of dollars of assets, the decisions made in those moments can have impacts forever. For Christchurch restaurant owner Anton Matthews from FUSH and Ryan McQuerry and Nick Lubeck interior plantscaping business Outside In, deciding where to make sacrifices to save their businesses was a daunting challenge. When people are your biggest asset, and your biggest expense, the decisions you make when the pressure is on can have long term impacts. Discover how they faced into these challenges with optimism and resilience, maintaining their strong company cultures and a commitment to their customers, staff, and communities. Hear their insights as we continue to work through the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.


Episode 8: Managing rapid growth

For some SMEs COVID-19 presented an opportunity for rapid growth, but like many businesses who experience a surge in demand, there can be a number of growing pains along the way. For Kenneth Leong, Co-Founder and Director of face masks company Meo, the global pandemic saw product demand go through the roof – and managing supply, demand, and logistics proved extremely challenging. For Simon Furness from online meat retailer Hyper Meat the ‘mates helping mates’ mantra inspired an opportunity to combine his existing business with another in a few days – launching a new online platform which generated a stream of demand that they weren’t quite prepared for. Hear how they navigated these challenges by leveraging their networks, motivating their staff, and collaborating with other businesses – and the lessons they learned which are helping position them for long-term, sustainable growth.