No new years predictions from me, as I can barely predict what I’ll be doing in a few months time, let alone markets and industries.This year though I am trying to spend more time starting and nurturing businesses, while continuing to consult, in both NZ and Australia.
For now I’m still helping out at BHP Billiton’s Kwinana Nickel Refinery, near Perth, and will do so until the end of February. Our project ‘officially’ finishes in 2.5 weeks, and without releasing privileged information I can say that we have been amazed at the results. I’ll write sometime soon about what I believe the the keys are for a successful turnaround; suffice to say that it starts with a great management team.
After that it’s monkey suit time – off to Norway to do the Berkiebeiner – a crazy thing on cross country skis. This is following a similar escapade at the Wisconsin Berkebeiner a couple of years back.
When I come back I hope to split my time 50/50+ between Perth and NZ, and between three activities – consulting, being a director and starting up new businesses.
I’ll be continuing off and on with some existing clients, but also looking for Wellington, Auckland and Perth based consulting and investment opportunities, starting in late March.
I’m best at helping out in three situations – companies and units that are growing really quickly and want to maximise growth and revenue while holding it all together, companies looking to exit and that want to increase value beforehand and then find the right buyer, and bigger companies is in need of a turnaround in performance. I really enjoy these situations as results can come very quickly and the management teams have the proverbial burning platform for change. As a consultant nothing is better than great clients getting fantastic results.
I’m currently a director (and substantial investor) in two companies, and am looking for more, especially in Wellington.
The first company is Auckland-based Texmate NZ, which has been around for a while, and is run by a couple of friends of mine from university days. Texmate NZ spent a number of years as the R&D back end to a US parent company, but have recently split and now market directly to most of the world.
Their products are paradigm shifting controllers for equipment – paradigm shifting as they are a whole lot cheaper and more flexible than traditional offerings. Their challenge is to ramp up sales worldwide, so if you know anyone in technical sales then drop me a line. They also have a small factory, and it is really refreshing to be involved in a company that actually makes and sell things you can touch.
The second company, Lingopal, is a Perth based mobile app start-up, and we are on the cusp of receiving venture funding. More on that when appropriate.
Finally I’ve a few start-up ideas bubbling away, but will need time, along with financial and physical help in getting them going. Nothing public yet, but at least one proposal is in the financial space and I’d love to do something in the tangible product and/or web space.
I’ve turned down a couple of tremendous career options in order to give myself time to invest in these smaller opportunities, so it’s really going to be an interesting year. However to me the risk would be not trying – I’d always wonder what could have been.