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Business survival to thriving post pandemic
Keryn and Simon, owners of Wild Estate, which operates Wild on Waiheke, became part of the Business Mentors NZ programme in March 2023 when Covid-19 hit New Zealand. Prior to Covid, the business was a popular hotspot for locals, as well as national and international tourists.
After collaborating online for three years, we finally had the chance to meet over coffee in Tairua. This meeting coincided with Keryn and Simon participating in the Whangamata Beach Hop event, showcasing their recent purchase, a Mustang named ‘Lani’—the sister car to ‘Elanor.’
During our time working together, there was a period when Keryn and Simon considered selling the business due to its toll on their lives. Now, however, with a general manager and a high-performing team in place, along with a full book of corporate team-building events and regular entertainment, the business is thriving. This success allows them to enjoy trips to their Auckland city apartment, drives in ‘Lani,’ and plenty of overseas travel.
Challenge and Opportunity:
When we first met in 2020, the global pandemic had forced Keryn and Simon to close their hospitality business completely.
The immediate challenges included reopening the doors as soon as possible and retaining staff, especially as many employees who were travelers had to return to their home countries due to visa expirations.
Additionally, the business lost significant revenue from canceled corporate events and the inability to serve the general public.
- Immediacy was the priority and how to survive through Covid, this meant utilising marketing to leverage home deliveries and pickups for food when this was possible; encouraging corporates to postpone rather than cancel their bookings; and seeking staff from retirees to students on the island to fulfil roles in the business.
- Underpinning the immediate execution was the strategic goal for the business which included growth of how the facility was used; expansion of services; offerings, events and products; purchasing houses to accommodate staff due to the rising rents on the island; increasing marketing efforts significantly which enabled them to rapidly fill bookings post Covid from corporates in particular; and removing reliance on Keryn and Simon to work in the business.
The results of Two Tides’ business strategy, business consultancy and business coaching have supported Wild Estate to achieve some significant results. Some of the key highlights include:
- Turnover grew by 21% between FY20 and FY23, despite two years impacted by Covid, and net profit soared by 7541%.
- They were finalists in the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2021 for Excellence in Customer Service Delivery and won the Silver Qualmark Award for Sustainable Tourism in 2022. Their wine, ‘The W,’ also won the best packaging award in the Packwine Awards 2023.
- The hiring of a General Manager and a well-embedded management team has given Keryn and Simon the freedom to live a life that isn’t solely tied to the business, while still enjoying the fruits of their labour.
Two Tides’ Business Strategy and Business Coaching:
Two Tides has been a key partner in the transformation of Wild Estate into a thriving and resilient business. Our strategic guidance has led to a remarkable turnover and profitability growth even with two years being plagued by Covid.
With a strong management team in place and a full book of corporate events, Wild Estate is not only surviving but thriving in a post-Covid world. The business is well-positioned for sustained growth and industry leadership.