Business leaders talk business, rocket science

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NZME presented the third PwC Herald Talks event at Sky City this morning with some of the country’s top global business minds and business community connecting. 

Guests enjoyed barista-poured coffee and a catered breakfast before an hour of thought-provoking and enlightening discussion on Changing Markets, where five of New Zealand’s business leaders imparted their knowledge, insights and strategies around growth and the ever-changing landscape facing New Zealand companies.

Keynote speaker Sir Ray Avery, founder and ceo of Medicine Mondiale, shared his experiences on how his groundbreaking work in the developing world has brought him respect and recognition internationally.

He pointed out that understanding your customers is critical for success. “I don’t like the term markets. Customer segmentation is where it is at now. It is incredibly important any business, no matter how small, knows and understands what their customers want, how they behave and how they like to be talked to. Do customer-centric research, it’s that simple.”

Sir Ray said New Zealand businesses operate quite differently to the rest of the world.

“We’re quite different as a country; we are not fond of rules,” he said. “It’s hard to believe but we have more rocket scientists per capita than any other country in the world. We dare to dream big and New Zealand performs much better than most people realise. We are great at talking to each other and our chance of innovation is much higher than other countries.

“We get to change things on the world stage and that is something to be proud of.”

A panel discussion on Changing Markets featured Advaro Finance chairman Tenby Powell, Mai Chen, Chen Palmer Law managing partner, Sky City ceo Nigel Morrison, and PwC digital strategy leader Greg Doone. NZME’s Business Herald editorial director business Fran O’Sullivan led the discussions as the adjudicator.

Powell reiterated the importance for businesses to have a significant social media strategy.

“Fewer than 50% of New Zealand businesses do not have a presence on social media,” he said. “We know that people would rather watch a video than read a thousand words, so businesses are at high risk of failure without a robust social media strategy.”

Doone agreed with Powell around the importance of any business having an online presence. “The concept of ownership has changed. It comes down to the point of insight and being able to change with your customers. It takes as little as $8 a month to set up a website and there are easy tools to help businesses manage this themselves.”

Morrison highlighted the importance of a great team contributing to a successful business. “To have a great team certainly takes an act of faith and courage,” he said. “Ask the hard questions of yourself. Would you employ someone better than you? What can you do well? And what can’t you do well?

“A successful business is without question a team effort.”

NZME ceo Jane Hastings said she is thrilled to see the business community embracing these business forums.

“We wanted to create an event series that discussed current trends in innovation, growth and changing market dynamics. Connecting business professionals to share ideas and inspire new thinking to do business better is one of the goals behind the series. The feedback and results to date is that we are on the right track.”

The PwC Herald Talks are a four-part breakfast series designed to give New Zealand’s business leaders the knowledge, insight and strategies to grow and diversify in a changing landscape. The event is sponsored by the NZ Herald, PwC, Newstalk ZB and event partners Sky City and Kea.

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