Four founders, four ‘whys’

Starting your own business isn’t easy – if it was, everyone would be doing it. So how do you ride the ups and downs of entrepreneurship? What gets you through the bad and the ugly? According to those on the frontline, a lot of it comes down to your ‘why’. If your reason for doing what you’re doing is powerful enough, you can get through pretty much anything.

We asked four of New Zealand’s business founders to share their why.

Here’s what they had to say:

Heidi Renata, founder and chief energy officer, INNOV8HQ
“I’m a big why fan! If I’m being a little honest, I love the freedom. So my why is the freedom of doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, and how I want to do it. I love living in a bit of risk – true entrepreneurs love that risk and challenge. What gets me up in the morning are some of those risks and challenges. Our whole business is based on entrepreneurship and building resilient leaders, and a lot of the work I do now is with rangatahi. To be able to hand over to them some hints and tips around how to deal with challenges could potentially be my why. But in fairness, I love the freedom, that’s a huge part of my why DNA.”

Heidi’s top tip: “When you’re starting to make decisions and define what you’re going to do, ask yourself if it’s a “hell yes” or a “hell no” – and if it’s an “oh maybe” I’d probably park it right now. It’s always got to be a “hell yes” especially in the morning because that’s what gets you fizzed up, and that’s going to be important when you’re feeling buggered.”

Logan Wedgwood, managing director Advisory Works
“My personal why is to give my energy to others - that’s what I was put here for. But my business purpose is quite different. The purpose of Advisory Works is to build better businesses for a better New Zealand. All the consultants in my team show up to do that every single day. We all bring our own special individual elements but we all operate under the understanding that we are here to make a difference for those companies. We don’t cut corners or stop until that’s the impact that we’ve had.

“My purpose became clear through adversity when I was burned out during the first Covid-19 lockdown. We were working 16-hour days on Zoom helping hundreds of businesses and it was exhausting. I hit the wall and couldn’t get out of bed and I asked myself ‘what am I here for?’. I realised I’m here to give my energy to others and help other people, but I can’t do that if I don’t look after and help myself. I understood that for me to be my best for other people I had to take care of myself, and I had to really change my lifestyle, from how much I was drinking, to how much I was sleeping and exercising. Often in business, it does come from adversity. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!”

Fraser Gardyne, brand & client director, Great North
“As a graphic designer, all I’m trying to do on behalf of my clients is help them communicate to their audiences as clearly and memorably as possible. I use my experience to try and develop interesting ideas, on target, relevant, and an honest reflection of that company. But it’s also about trying to do things in memorable and original ways to connect with clients’ audiences so that when the work is seen, their clients associate that with that company.

“For me, it’s to help make connections and communicate ideas, whether that’s trying to sell something or communicate information.”

Steve Hillier, founder and entrepreneur
Life circumstances have affected my why. Back when I was doing my original startup, in the fifth going on the sixth year of it, we had our first child, and the moment I became a father my priorities changed massively – so much so that we wound up that business about a year later and I went back into full-time work.

“By the time we had our second child, my wife had a startup and I was working full-time and we realised we didn’t have enough time for the kids so we completely reframed our life, left Auckland, and changed into doing more lifestyle businesses. There’s a certain size of business that we don’t want to go beyond because it would mean taking on more responsibility and getting sucked into the business when we place quite a lot of value on our lifestyle, our life, and our family. That’s what shapes and frames the 'why' for us; the nature of our life has defined the shape of our business.”

Interested in learning why it’s the right time to start your business?

Talk to our team

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