Combining the resources and skills of three different people to govern one business is working well for the directors of Safe Business Solutions (SBS); having a manifold partnership within one organisation is not a common approach. But for the team at SBS, Marty Crafar, Charlaine Barnfather and Rob Thomson almost 80 years of collective experience is now being well utilised in the changing landscape of Health and Safety and Human Resources.
In this interview, we hear how they rebranded, restructured and diversified their business (formally AgSafety) from a six-person shareholder, agricultural focus in 2013 to also encompass the transport, engineering, commercial, iwi, tourism, corporate and contracting sectors. To achieve this, we look at how the team allowed a different synergy of management to evolve and how they re-read their company demographics and audience, then acted.
Deciding to recalculate how SBS could expand to help companies meet the relatively new H & S and HR compliance issues now faced by most industries across New Zealand was a bold move inspired by a few glasses of good wine three years ago. However, initiating a new brand, new company structure and new menu of services to realise a 10X business increase takes time and energy, according to Marty Crafar. He emphasises the importance of:
- Regular communication; mandatory weekly and quarterly meetings
- A sturdy reporting system
- Clear role demarcation
- Effectively utilising each team member’s field of expertise.
Charlaine Barnfather adds that undertaking due diligence to best understand the governmental legislation SBS delivers as tailored packages to clients, reinforces the company ethos of ensuring their customers’ trust and acceptance.
Charlaine says change in general is ‘inevitable, positive and exciting’ and reflects a business-savvy ‘need to keep your business relevant and competitive’. The team at SBS recommend surveying friends, co-workers and family for feedback on branding decisions; engaging business mentors for ‘a fresh pair of eyes’, installing a financial buffer to enable flexibility, selecting employees that fit your culture, focussing on intensive, lateral planning and being open minded to new strategies.
The philosophy behind SBS is simple: aside from the legal compliance issues which companies need to heed (Health and Safety at Work Act, 2015 and Employment Relations Act, 2000) Charlaine maintains that it makes good business sense to put the required systems in place to ensure worker safety and good people management.
The team also understands that legislation in the H & S and HR domain can be over engineered and perceived as unnecessarily complicated. Sales-oriented Marty is at the coal face of these issues - but there are easy changes that businesses can accommodate with the engagement of staff, to implement systems which comply and really work.
Future forward, the major goals for the SBS team are some they feel should be key to any business to establish, maintain and scale towards growth: Keep building your client base; work towards a healthy balance sheet; meet your legal employer requirements; and lastly, aim for an 80% ‘returning customer’ ratio – a non-debatable indication that your business is on the right track.
SBS website, graphic design and branding by Cassie Smith from Design Garage: http://www.designgarage.co.nz/