Tibor Mackor and James Mclean on the farm at Kawakawa Bay. They meet up every month to talk about wins, problems and plans.
Kawakawa Bay farm operator James Mclean cannot praise Business Mentors New Zealand enough for changing his “tunnel vision” and financial landscape.
He started Mclean Stock Rearing two years ago on the South-East Auckland farm he worked for seven years, to follow the dream of running his own business.
His main tasks are managing stock and their diet for NZ Grazing, and ensuring they put on weight over the 18 months with him.
Though experienced in farming, Mclean is a novice to business. After a few months, he felt he was “cash poor” and at one stage even thought he was close to bankruptcy, not to mention the paperwork that was often a headache for him.
Things have been turned around since he got in touch with Business Mentors NZ, a not-for-profit organisation he read about in Country Wide magazine.
With the help of mentor Tibor Mackor, Mclean has extended his farm from one leased property to four, which totals 1600 acres, grown his personal stock from 12 cows to a herd of 80 cattle and 300 sheep, and meanwhile still works for the dairy company.
Since August last year, the two meet up once a month to talk about wins, goals, problems, solutions and plans. Mackor always give Mclean three or four tasks that he has to complete before their next meeting.
From the very first task of detailing where he spent money, to a recent one of making plans for the next three months, Mclean says the tasks are getting harder, but he’s not walked away from a meeting not smiling.
“Tibor has done a very good job of putting things in perspective for me. He has opened my eyes for different things,” Mclean says, adding it’s “marvellous” to get assistance from someone neutral.
“Having a business mentor actually makes you stand tall because it’s your idea. You feel better about yourself.”
Being a sounding board, Mackor, a professional business coach with an accountancy background, says very often he’s just there for clients to unload, and looks for possibilities to make their ideas happen.
What struck him straight away when he first met Mclean is that the latter was a little down.
“He was in the conundrum about where he was,” Mackor says.
The changes brought about by the mentor have built up Mclean’s confidence, and if everything runs smoothly according to their plans, the time used to achieve his goal of purchasing a farm can be reduced.
Mclean recommends people to take the “little step” of ringing the organisation if they feel they need help.
On his latest assignment sheet, Mackor writes “spend some time with Jackie [Mclean’s wife] at the movies or a restaurant”.
“It’s important. Business owners get stuck in their businesses. They don’t think about their families and do other things,” Mackor says.
“The business should be an extension of your life. [We should think about] how can that fit within your life in such a way that it actually makes you money, and gives you freedom to enjoy your life.”