Priority Communications Director Michele Hider encourages Kiwi business owners to plan now for a strong start to 2019.
We see it every year – the long, slow return to business after the summer holidays and many companies stalling in the interim. From mid-December until late-January, much of New Zealand is partying or at the beach. Decisions about important issues such as marketing communications strategies, new websites, social media, branding… often don’t land on the boardroom table until February, with actions regularly delayed until March. Add it all up and that’s a quarter of the year that has drifted by without any action on key issues to drive business.
Priority Communications rarely promises it can deliver a new website or launch a communications campaign in the last few weeks before Christmas, rather it encourages clients to start conversations early and get decisions signed off at board level before mid-December. That way, you can start the New Year fresh and focused with some of your essential work already underway or in the pipeline. If you are wondering whether your company is at the right stage to boost its marketing and communications, there are a few things to consider and the company is always very upfront with clients about them. If you’re too busy and using all of your resources, you may not have capacity to add more work. Conversely, if you are on the verge of shutting up shop, marketing communications are unlikely to pull you through, even if you have a brilliant strategy.
The very best time to book an appointment with Priority Communications is when you have a strong workflow but there is room to service new clients. The planning process alone for a marketing communications strategy is useful as it makes you take a fresh look at who you are; what you have to offer; who you are trying to attract to your business; and the pros and cons of various communication tools. Recently, the company took some of its own advice and has been marketing to some new people in new places to help grow the business. Aside from attracting some wonderful new clients, it has opened their eyes to a world of fresh opportunities.
There is a growing demand for safe and effective treatments to help maintain a youthful appearance that fit in with a busy work and social calendar.
The area around the eye is one of the first areas to show signs of ageing with fine lines and wrinkles and loose, sagging skin. Here are some safe and non-invasive treatment options available to treat this area.
RF is an effective way to safely deliver energy into the skin, independent of skin colour. The energy flow causes a build-up of heat which induces an immediate contraction of the collagen (an ‘instant lift’) and stimulates a natural wound-healing response, leading to a long-lasting lift of the skin.
The Skin Rejuvenation Clinic uses a skin tightening treatment that combines RF skin needling (called Intensif) with RF fractional skin resurfacing (called FSR) and a course of treatments is recommended. This leaves the skin around the eye looking smoother and tighter with a lift of the upper eyelid to reveal a more open eye!
HIFU is high intensity focused ultrasound that delivers energy into the tissue below the skin to cause tissue tightening at a deeper level than RF. Only one treatment is needed and it is FDA approved. It also causes the area around the eye to look smoother and tighter with a lift to the upper eyelid and a reduction of under-eye bags.
Botulinum Toxin works by causing the muscles above the eyebrows and around the eyes to relax which makes the eyes open up. There are needles involved but there should be very little pain and no down-time! Results can take a few days after the injections are done to work and should last about four months.
Dermal filler is made of hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring substance). It can be used to lift the eyebrows. It can also smooth and fill out the under eye tear trough area. Once again needles are involved and results should last anywhere from 12 months to a couple of years.
All injectable treatments at the Skin Rejuvenation Clinic are done by Dr Brigid Lee who is a member of the NZ Society of Cosmetic Medicine.
When your IT system thinks it’s the boss of you and refuses to sit quietly in the background supporting your business, call Paragon Computers, they’ll soon put it straight.
If you’re new in business, or growing fast, the team can take care of your mounting technology needs, leaving you free to focus on the task at hand. A one-stop-shop for all the IT services you need to maximise your business efficiency, Paragon covers computer and network support, telephone and internet connectivity, voice-over IP (VoIP) solutions, online backups, data security, cloud migrations, computer repairs and upgrades and, of course, ongoing tech support.
Owner Riki Browning says, “We are wholly a local business and when you ring you won’t get stuck on hold or in a call loop, you’ll speak directly to a technician here in Christchurch.”
If issues can’t be resolved over the phone, a technician can usually be with you the same day, or even a couple of hours if it’s urgent. You really can relax about all of your IT needs knowing Paragon is there to support you.
Paragon Computers is now in new premises, centrally located with parking at the door at 1 Pilgrim Place. A keystone in Christchurch IT support, it is about to celebrate 25 years of keeping Canterbury businesses humming. Still growing itself, the company is always looking for talented techies to join the team.
Communities, charities and projects are the benefactors of the new Christchurch City Foundation, set up a year ago to positively impact the city. We catch up with Head of the Christchurch Foundation Amy Carter to discuss the philanthropy driving this positive outcome.
How did the Christchurch Foundation story begin?
The initial concept came as a legacy of the 2010/11 earthquakes. There were so many generous people living overseas or in other parts of New Zealand who gave to the Prime Minister’s and the Mayor’s funds. It showed us that even though people no longer live in Christchurch, their hearts often still do. This means that they probably have dreams for the city and the causes within it, so we’ve built something to help them achieve these dreams.
What is the key mission and how does it do this?
Our core focus is to make it easier for people to give to the causes within Christchurch that they care about. We are a donor-led organisation rather than cause-led. That means that we act on behalf of the generous person or business who wants to give, matching them to causes that share their ethics, values and desired outcomes. You don’t give to The Christchurch Foundation itself.
We make it easy by offering a range of ways through which to give. This could mean a gift through a will/bequest, payroll giving or a mixture of cash lump sums, goods and services. The Christchurch Foundation undertakes the due diligence on the cause so that donors can have confidence the money given will end up being invested in the way in which they want.
We are also in the process of becoming a registered charity in locations where our generous people and businesses pay tax. There is a significant focus on helping people overseas to give here. A cause can be a charity, social enterprise, a community event or asset. This is decided by the person or business giving.
From time to time, the foundation will also invest in programmes or projects identified in the city as important. For example, we recently announced that we are establishing a women’s fund. Christchurch has a proud history of women and girls making change both here and globally. We thought that it was part of our city that needed to be celebrated and we have set up the fund to continue to support women and girls making change at a grassroots level within the city.
We have also recently hosted our inaugural Thinker in Residence. KPMG partnered with us to bring a global leader, Hila Oren, to our city. This is an annual programme and we are already working to select the 2019 Thinker.
Why are you so passionate about the work of the foundation?
It is really exciting to be hands on developing an entity that will have a sustained positive impact on Christchurch. I have big aspirations for our city, as do many others. In this role, I get to help make those dreams come true.
Little Luna was barely more than a kitten when she became pregnant.
Luna was 11 months old and around two months pregnant, with a very large belly. Her owner brought her to see Ourvets Veterinarian Alice Finch because she was worried the babies might not be alive. She waddled across the exam table and flopped down behind the computer. “All of her energy was feeding the growing kittens, and not her own growth,” says Alice. “Pregnancy takes a major toll on the body – especially when the mother is very young.”
Cats (and dogs) can become pregnant from as young as six months old, so at Ourvets they recommend de-sexing around five to six months of age. The process is straightforward – pets will stay in at the clinic for the day; the vet will examine them and make sure they are fit for surgery; then the procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. “Clients will often report they are ‘back to normal’ by the following day but it is very important to keep pets quiet and limit exercise after the procedure to allow for healing,” Alice says.
Entire males and females are at higher risk of many cancers developing as they age. Females are also at risk of pyometra (infection of the uterus). This can be life threatening and very costly to treat. Entire males have a higher risk of prostate issues associated with high levels of hormones. Desexing eliminates many behavioural problems – often linked with aggression (which can play a part) but problems are often related to roaming and inappropriate marking. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to give your vet a call.
Luna was put onto a high energy diet and received regular checkups to make sure she made it through her pregnancy safely. Luna will be spayed once the kittens are weaned and the kittens will only go to homes that are aware of the benefits of desexing. Both Luna and the kittens are doing very well!
Selling your home is a personal business and the tight-knit team at Grassam Real Estate understands that. “We’re all about the individual touch, and with a combined 70 plus years’ experience, we focus on working for you to get the best deal that we can,” owner Juline Grassam says. “We are a boutique business for a reason – strong personal service.”
Juline is successful, she works hard for each client and recognises every transaction is important; Fay Leonard has a focus on marketing in the North of Christchurch and North Canterbury; working mainly in residential property management, Paul Biddington brings a wealth of knowledge to both the rental and sales market.
What do people expect from their real estate salesperson? Personalised, professional service with all the advantages of local knowledge. Juline, Paul and Fay are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to provide exceptional results. “We give every single client our full effort and attention,” Juline adds.
Having just passed the nine-year mark, this boutique agency find clients come either as repeat business, or as word of mouth referrals from past clients. “This is a great time of year to sell,” says Juline, who has been in the industry for 22 years. “List now and you could be in a new home by Christmas. Our rates are competitive and there is great flexibility within our marketing packages.”
The relatively flat housing market in Christchurch is fuelling interest from first home buyers keen to capitalise on the largely stagnant prices.
But buying your first home is far from easy, although KiwiSaver and HomeStart grants are fantastic tools to help get onto the property ladder. A young couple recently came to us to arrange finance to purchase their first home. Having been in KiwiSaver since its inception, they had almost $100,000 which they could use as a deposit. That’s a huge start.
KiwiSaver enables first home buyers to withdraw the balance of their accounts to buy a property as long as they have been a member for at least three years and provided they leave an account balance of $1000.
The HomeStart grant varies depending on how long contributions have been made and whether the property is existing or new. Additionally, there are caps on the purchase price that vary by region. For Christchurch, this is $500,000 for existing dwellings or $550,000 for new builds.
In terms of structuring, I’m a fan of annual fixed-rate rollovers. There are some great one-year rates on offer and, even if rates increase by 0.5 percent each year, you would still be paying less on average than fixing for a three-year period right now.
Whether it’s your first home, or fifth, the overriding message for Christchurch buyers is ‘be prepared’. Obtain your pre-approval certificate and ensure you engage with specialists who understand the insurance aspects of buying property in Christchurch following the earthquakes.
Ōtākaro recently ran a series of walking tours around the central city as part of Explore Christchurch, a campaign to encourage locals to come and see what’s going on in town.
With around 300 people joining us across the eight tours, the level of interest surpassed our expectations. At first glance, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, the Avon River Precinct, Rauora Park and the South Frame all sound like isolated projects. On the tours we were able to show how linking homes to parks and shops, restaurants and other attractions makes the central city an increasingly pleasant place to be.
The same goes for the links between Te Pae, hotels, shops, cafés and the river. The feedback we’ve received on the tours suggests that for many people it was the first time the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan made sense.
Ōtākaro is delivering a whole host of new places for people within the four avenues and it was great to see people enjoying the gardens and paved walkways alongside the major developments forming the new central city.
So, if you went on a tour, do us a favour and take someone you know for a look around. Show them the homes being built alongside Rauora Park, point out the riverside Promenade that is now being finished.
Or join us for another Ōtākaro tour on 13 October as part of the walking festival and we’ll see if we can make a tour guide out of you.
The Christchurch City Council recently announced the development of an action plan to increase the pace of regeneration in Christchurch’s city centre.
The stimulus was an assessment by Regenerate Christchurch of progress in the central city and five key recommendations regarding leadership, growth, people, activation and implementation. The council’s action plan was also informed by ChristchurchNZ’s most recent economic update.
Significant progress has been made in rebuilding the central city – largely driven by private sector investment and development. What is clear in the report on our analysis, which is available on our website, is that further increasing central city regeneration will require a range of measures.
As construction-led activity begins to tail off, without more workers, residents, shoppers and visitors in the central city, Christchurch will be economically vulnerable. So, what can we, as a city, do?
The council’s action plan is being designed to align activity planned by public sector agencies with private sector-led activities. We also need to collectively, as a city, focus on making ‘best for city’ decisions and compete harder to attract people here.
The city has an opportunity to absorb growth in a way that no other major city in New Zealand can. We can also offer facilities, infrastructure and lifestyle that other cities cannot.
Having the space to support the growth of New Zealand’s businesses and the national economy, is a very powerful value proposition for Christchurch, one that we must collectively pursue and promote on behalf of our city.
One of the repeated issues that we see in NZ business is the ongoing difficulty in attracting skilled labour. In the construction sector, an area often in the news lately, we are faced with a continual shortage of trained and experienced engineers, architects, planners etc.
If left unchecked, this can impact productivity, quality and the delivery of effective design solutions, ultimately leading to undesirable project outcomes and contributing to the failure of some firms. Providing structured training to enable staff development is essential to ensuring the NZ workforce stays apace with ongoing technical and technological advancements, but with the true power of a business being staff, we can also empower teams by encouraging community support initiatives, for the mutual benefit of staff, the company and the community.
It was a pleasure then to see our young engineers showing our next generation of engineers the basics of structural frames at Engineering Week. The August showcase brought together engineering companies at the University of Canterbury campus to highlight the wide range of engineering careers available here in Canterbury. Of special note was the wide diversity of interested school students suggesting future careers in STEM subjects are now seen more favourably than in the past.
Our previous involvement with Habitat for Humanity is another example of allowing our staff to support essential aid programmes in the community, while developing skills and experience; the benefit here being the opportunity to attract staff who are actively seeking these opportunities and thereby feeding like-minded engaged individuals into our empowered teams.
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