Work experience

Work experience

Business Advisor

Bishop Collyer Leadbetter

Working with Small and Medium sized companies in New Zealand and advising them on how to improve their business and the returns, both lifestyle and financial.

Having worked with over 60 businesses in 2 years ; spent time as a mentor with Business Mentors New Zealand ; worked with Canterbury Development Corporation in their Enterprise Training and High Tech Launch Programmes, Andy has a real insight into what makes business tick, or not as the case may be.

Formerly an Advisor with Icon Business Solutions, we established our won private practice in July 2008, based in Christchurch and working in New Zealand and Australia.


The Pine Box Strategy

It is great fun building a business but for most of us there will come a time when we want to get out and do other things. It may be we are tired of what we have been doing; the work is getting too hard; the business needs to grow and we haven’t got the energy or capital; age is creeping up and it is time to hit the dirt tracks; or the young ones are wanting to take over and are giving us the nudge. The only sure thing is that at some point it will be time to go. The one thing that most people in business have in common is that they will want to capitalise on the business they have built and will want to sell it at a good price. It sounds easy. Just put it on the market and wait until someone comes along that wants to buy it. And it can be that easy. But more often than not you will be selling into a competitive market and more often than not to informed buyers who do their sums well before they commit. The way to go is to have a sound exit strategy planned well in advance so that your business will be able to be presented in its best light. It will have good financials showing a profitable business. It will have well documented systems in place that show prospective owners “how we do things around here” and which allow them to pick up the reins with the minimum business disruption. It will have plans for the future so a prospective buyer can see some upside that will allow them to grow their new business. It will show them that they can run it as a business and not as a job which locks them up for life. Exit strategies don’t have to be rocket science. Someone who loves what they do (or maybe can’t see what else they can do) may decide they will stay “until they carry me out in a pine box”. That is a strategy. It isn’t a good one but it is pretty simple and easy to understand. The result will be that they will indeed carry you out in the pine box - and probably the business in a box beside you. Alternatively you might opt for a slightly more robust strategy. For example “By the time we are 60 we want to either offer the business to the kids or sell the business as a going concern. We want to have the business turning over $500,000 a year and generating a profit of $80,000 and we want systems in place that make the business capable of being run by staff without our active day to day involvement. If the children want the business we can offer terms but it must be capable of providing sufficient surplus to provide us with a comfortable retirement.” Again the strategy isn’t complicated but it sets a goal that can be aimed at. It provides a clear statement that allows all the players to see where the game is heading and provides an opportunity for all the players to have input before the pine box arrives. Oh and by the way if the kids are starting to give you the nudge make sure you are all playing the same game, on the same paddock and kicking for the same goals. Family succession can be one of the most difficult ways of exiting your business. So plan it well, talk a lot and keep it business-like but friendly.


1982 Started my own Fruit and Vegetable Business in the UK

1984 Sold the business and went busking around Europe for 2 years.

1986 First shirt and tie job - underwriting German motor insurance policies.

Andy went on to spend over 15 years in the Financial Services industry, with a breadth of experience covering Insurance, Banking, Credit, Car Sales, Bureau de Change and Independent Financial and Wealth Management Advice. As Head of Branch Operations, he had responsibility for 23 branches across Europe with over 200 staff.

1988 Team leader with a Financial Services unit, piloting a call centre and computer based files!

1990 Financial Services - Sales Management, Germany - dealing with cars, mortgages, banking, FOREX, Travel, Insurance etc

1998 Branch Operations Director, Europe - part of a $107m MBI

2000 Sold to Close Private Banking - went out on my own as an advisor to SME'S and NFP's in the UK

2001 - 2005 Various challenging roles - father!, house husband whilst my wife completed a management degree, Trustee of various NFP's, web site guru, business advisor

2006  Established his Icon Business Solutions operation in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Andy has so far worked with over 60 businesses in New Zealand, giving him a very broad range of understanding and the skills to help business owners at all stages of the business life cycle.

Blog is a way for you to tune in to and to find out what does go on in real life businesses.


Nov 2006 - Present


New Zealand Institute of Management