After eight years as a fitter electrical with the New Zealand Navy and a further eight years at the civilian-side dockyard, Terry took an opportunity to go out on his own. With wife, Helen, they started TJ Electrical three years ago delivering business and residential cabling and electrical services within the Auckland region. They grew quickly, almost completely through word of mouth, going from one van and one apprentice, to a team of eight with three vehicles in a matter of two years.
Business was really good. It exceeded their expectations. However, Terry was working up to 90 hours a week, creating an unbalanced work/life situation for him and his young family. It was a constant worry and energy drain thinking about running the business rather than doing what the business does.
Terry shares, “I’ve got an ambitious mind and amazing practical experience, and I love what I do. However, like most tradies, I don’t have a business management degree. It was getting too big for us to know what to do next. We didn’t want to trip up and make a big mistake, we needed guidance.”
Joining the group in mid 2015 has allowed TJ Electrical to draw on the business operation and managerial experience of New Zealand Technology Group. “When you have someone like Dwayne at the steering wheel, and with the combined knowledge of the group partners, we’ve knocked the rough edges off our business and become a much smoother operation”, says Terry.
While it’s still early days, New Zealand Technology Group has taken the “pain points” out of business administration for TJ Electrical. It’s allowed Terry to focus on the growth of his business and the individual growth of his staff. “I’ve got the energy now to focus on what’s important”, says Terry.
Paul Croft discovered his calling when his computer died during a house-moving incident. It hadn’t been backed up. He lost everything. A painful experience, one that he knew should never have happened. Already working in the IT industry, it was this event that saw the birth of Mozzie in 2009, an online data backup system using the Cloud, a relatively new form of computing and online data storage at the time.
As a one-man band, Paul did everything. Customer service, sales and marketing and business administration, all before getting to the core of what his business did. He began to realise that time spent managing his business took away from the opportunities to deliver on his service and to grow his business.
Paul’s entrepreneurial streak often saw a splintering of his focus, and his funds. He craved the discipline to keep him on track, and the knowledge sharing which often spearheads a bigger corporation, yet he still felt the need to be in control of his overall destiny. Something he felt he would lose in a merger.
The joining of Mozzie into the New Zealand Technology Group was “a match made in heaven”, as stated by Dwayne Smith, General Manager.
“There was a bit of hesitation leading up to the eventual sale and purchase agreement being signed,” shares Paul, “and I even took the time to look around at other options before signing. New Zealand Technology Group was by far the most compatible in terms of reducing the business management overhead while opening up sales opportunities. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!”
While it’s early days, Mozzie has grown by 25% and is boasting a higher profitability, a direct financial result of the merger.
For New Zealand Technology Group, the outcome is obvious too. “While we were always good with our customer’s data, we didn’t have the infrastructure to make it a core and structured offering to our group”, says Dwayne. “Paul places great care around this service, making sure that it is the best it can possibly be. It’s a whole new product set for members of our group, and it doesn’t drain our infrastructure to deliver it”.
After running his own computing business for six years, in 2005 Mike McCaughan established the Rodney franchise of Horizon Pacific to provide IT services and support for small to medium businesses in the region. He also owned The Computer Centre, a commercial outlet and retail store now based in Whangaparaoa. Mike’s strong social conscience and people skills helped build loyal customers. He was successful even when many were struggling.
In 2013 Dwayne Smith, General Manager Horizon Pacific Group, was setting up New Zealand Technology Group. The aim was to invest in promising Australasian IT businesses and provide them with efficient centralised business administration. As a franchisee, Mike had worked closely with Dwayne for eight years. He shared Dwayne’s vision of bringing IT businesses together to allow them to focus on what they do best while gaining the economies of scale required for significant growth. With his children now grown up, Mike saw joining the new group and helping to lead its success as an attractive and worthwhile challenge for the years to come.
Mike is now enjoying the freedom to focus on what he enjoys most - account managing for Horizon Pacific in Rodney. He also oversees The Computer Store and helps new partners to settle into the group.
“It’s a little different to running your own operation. For our backend administration to work, you have to maintain a clear focus on what you enjoy doing and trust others take care of the rest,” explains Mike. “But you soon realise you’re onto a very good thing.”
“Each of the partners is individually accountable for the profit and loss of their business. If we don’t make money, we don’t have it.”
Mike is dedicating a lot of his time to KidSafe, a charitable organisation that provides practical support to help parents keep their children safe online. He enjoys strong support from colleagues at New Zealand Technology Group for this work.
“I’ve always had a social conscience and a desire to help others. Right now, KidSafe is very important to me. We have significant social issues, including teen suicides, because technology is accelerating ahead of where parents can deal with it. Joining NZ Tech Group has given me the space and flexibility to dedicate the next five to ten years to significantly building KidSafe. I find the work very fulfilling.”
Founded by Matt Gillard, Swift Technology Group earned a strong reputation for innovative IT solutions that improve systems and reduce costs. Some of their best work has been for the medical imaging industry. Matt’s in-depth knowledge and experience in this field is recognised by medical professionals and leading imaging technology suppliers, such as Siemens and Philips.
For many years Swift Technology Group was the national IT support company for Horizon Radiology. A change of leadership at the radiology company saw the contract moved to a larger provider and Swift entered a period of rebuilding. The business remained sound and steadily recovered, but it was hard going.
“We got on really well together and were doing OK, but we’d got to that stage of thinking ‘this is just so much work’. Some of the fun had gone because I had less time to do what I enjoyed most and there was a constant worry about whether I’d be able to pay myself each month,” explains Matt.
In 2013 Dwayne Smith, General Manager New Zealand Technology Group, spoke with Matt and the team at Swift about the possibility of joining his new group. The team felt Dwayne was heading in the right direction and they could see the advantages of operating within a larger organisation with centralised back office work. By mid-2013, Matt and his team were part of the new group and free to focus on their strength - system improvement through innovation.
“My team liked the idea and when I talked it through with my partner at home it just made sense. We had two young kids and without the pressure of running a stand-alone business we’d get to spend more time as a family and take a few of those holidays that kids remember for life,” explains Matt.
“Now, the admin is taken care of and we have the backing and infrastructure to pursue all the technical opportunities we want, which is what I really enjoy. Dwayne is leading the group into a great space and I’m working alongside Bill Hines from MedStar instead of in competition with him, which is awesome.”
After working on large IT support contracts in the medical sector, in 2003 Bill Hines started a company called Technologix, which eventually became MedStar. The company grew to provide full IT support services for medical practices and around 80% of the customers are GPs and specialists, mainly within Auckland.
When he started Technologix as a one man band IT technician, Bill had the time to do everything. However the company developed quickly and before long Bill was working full-time on business administration. The work he loved doing was a thing of the past.
“All of a sudden I was spending all this time on back end stuff and not doing what I enjoy, which is getting out seeing people and doing techy work,” explains Bill.
In 2013, after talking with New Zealand Technology Group about the possibility of a merger, Bill realised it was exactly what he and his business needed.
“Joining the group provided an opportunity to shed the drudgery of back office administration, while also gaining the economies of scale MedStar required for further growth,” says Bill.
Bill is directly responsible for the profit and loss of MedStar within the group. He’s involved with client relationship management and co-ordinates activities between the Medstar sales and technical teams. MedStar is plugged into New Zealand Technology Group’s business systems, so all the admin is taken care of centrally. He’s also part of the group’s leadership team.
“Now I can just focus on doing the stuff that I do well and we’re not slowed down by all the admin, explains Bill. “The change has been fantastic, absolutely brilliant.”