As a single 28-year old mum, with no assets, and living with her parents, Lizzi Hines took a massive leap of faith when she bought an office design agency in 2006.
Many straight-backed accountants would advise strongly against such a move. Hines' accountant did, and her lawyer. Cash is king when starting or buying a business, right?
Not according to Hines. As a junior designer at Auckland-based Spaceworks she knew "in her gut" she was making the right move to buy the business and had the backing of the company's founder.
More to the point she had the support of her number one advisers - her parents, a lawyer and an accountant. It took a month of selling her business proposition every day at the bank, for them to finally lend her the money.
Hine's parents were overseas on a cruise in Europe during the bank negotiations. "They tell this story of waking up every morning and turning on their phone and hearing beep, beep, beep with all my crazy emails and texts," she laughs.
Fast-forward six years; Spaceworks has not only survived the recession, through diversifying its client base to other industries, but in the past two years has doubled turnover each year.
The company provides services throughout the country, and has also completed projects in Australia and the South Pacific, where it eventually wants to have permanent hubs.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I never knew I was one, it wasn't a term I used commonly and certainly not in reference to myself. I was just me, and I loved business and constantly strive to achieve more from them.
My parents have always had their own businesses and together as a family we have another two businesses over and above Spaceworks. That is just what we do - we own businesses. It's in my blood and I always knew that I too would own businesses. Describing myself as an entrepreneur is a new thing, but I now see that I definitely am one.
What have been the biggest obstacles in running your company?
The obstacles have been vast, I have learnt more in six years than I could ever have imagined. Far more than school or university. I have had to deal with some major clients going into receivership owing thousands, I have dealt with a global financial crisis (as have many) but we have traded through and every year we continue to grow.
Name one thing you've learnt from while in business and from who?
The one thing I have learnt is 'it's only business'. This concept allows me to not get emotional. I get excited or disappointed on occasions but I can move past this quickly and get onto the next thing. It allows for me to not get bogged down on the detail and continue to look at the big picture. I learnt this from my biggest mentors - my parents.
What are your business and personal goals?
I could not possibly list my business goals - they are huge and constantly evolving. I write my goals down every three months, tick off the ones I achieved and add more if necessary.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?
Do it! Follow your passion, and achieve it. Believe in yourself first, the rest will follow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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