When Don Grant goes to a party and people ask him what he does, there’s often a bit of nudge nudge wink-winking at his reply. In fact, occasionally Don has been called up to supply a bit of the green stuff to which he is happy to oblige - if that green stuff is a bunch of culinary herbs hydroponically grown by his company, Tasman Bay Herbs https://tasmanbayherbs.co.nz/.
Today we talk to Don about his 22-year involvement in the competitive cut herb industry that evolved, strangely enough, from time spent as a tour guide and finding love.
Patiently ferrying and nannying busloads of sightseers around the country instilled lots of the prerequisites for running a successful business (and, some might say, a successful relationship): communication, accountability, and endurance.
These attributes have also helped Don recently launch a whole new food enterprise called Penati.nz https://penati.nz/ (nice name – what do you think it means?)
The past couple of decades have given Don bucketloads of personal and professional resilience – and a sharp edge in business strategy. But even though he’s a pretty cool customer Don will say that getting to today’s positive place has been a tough row to hoe.
Private loss in 2013 lead to health issues for him, but who’d have thought that wanting to rediscover his wellbeing, business mojo - and a new love - would open the doors to find all of these, plus a new and highly marketable consumer edible?
Back-tracking a bit and even though - or possibly because - Don’s more of an ideas bloke than a green fingers type of guy, Tasman Bay Herbs became a well-established business at the top of its game.
Then boredom set in, “I’d achieved everything I wanted to and didn’t want to keep doing the same old thing”. New ideas took flight and a short-lived foray into Aquaponics resulted.
Faddish fish farming equals economic fiction.
The stress of business loss, as well as personal tragedy, spurred Don to make the strategic decision to take on a business partner, a move that in hindsight he wouldn’t repeat, but which served an important purpose at the time. Don cites the advantages of partnership in his experience as few and “fraught with danger”.
- When considering incorporating a partner as part of your business, take the time to think good and hard
- Consider your personal and professional relationship with the partner and how it will be affected
- Life partnerships based on a shared common interest work the best
- Ensure demarcation is set out right at the start - "You have your to-do list. They have theirs. Stick to it!"
- Understand that from that point on, you lose the freedom to make unilateral decisions
- Realise that your business agility will be confined.
Before you say ‘Crackers!’ to all that, listen up to hear how Don is now going solo to enjoy the very genuine and health-felt rewards of developing Penati.nz
We reflect on his two very different business strategies: traditional versus future-forward. Tasman Bay Herbs: Privately owned factory, full/part-time staff, onsite presence. Penati: Out-sourced manufacturing, specialist contractors, paperless processes, I-Phone operation.
Don says both systems work well, but since he “brought business advisor, Pete Baltus out for the day and gave him some Penati crackers to try”, Don has never looked back. Don reckons the value gained from a good advisor is actually beyond value, it's comet-stuff, and now Penati is a shooting star in the Keto world and beyond.
Don’s innate passion has seen him create two successful businesses, one originating from a personal life goal, the other the direct result of seeking the same thing. The key to both is feeling the love, and without that, Don says, don’t even bother going into business.
He also recommends:
- Not being afraid to seek advice, even if it seems an expensive option
- Look for references to provide a compass in choosing work cohorts
- Work with people you like and synergise with
- Using specialist contractors to do the intricate work for you
- Use social media to promote your business but then also look for target subgroups who can spread the word for you
- Be prepared to change strategies and look for better, more efficient ways of doing things.
Call Don and have a chat – he’ll put your business issues into perspective for you, and he might even invite you over for a cracker and a low-carb beer. Get in touch via the websites: https://tasmanbayherbs.co.nz/.
https://penati.nz/ or on Facebook.
And by the way, if you need more help in moving your business from chaos to control visit me, Craig Oliver at: https://www.projecthq.co.nz/
Or read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at: https://www.talkingbetterbusiness.com/
So many insights, tips and ideas to be had! Just sit back, listen and learn.
Go on, smash through the glass ceiling and move your business from ordinary to extraordinary.