Global Ambitions Driving Kiwi Companies: Selling Business Goes Out of Fashion

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By Kalyan Kumar | August 20, 2014 3:03 PM EST

A study of New Zealand businesses finds they are aiming higher, and the old perception of Kiwi business happy to settle for "a boat, bach and BMW" is passé.

The New Zealand Herald reported that a research commissioned by ASB studied 450 medium-size firms with revenues ranging between $5 million and $25 million had 66 per cent pining to build a business with national or international scale.

Reuters
A woman works in an office in this undated file photo.

Interpretation

Steve Jurkovich, the executive general manager of ASB, said results by a business community brims with global aspirations. Business owners are obviously looking beyond products and services of the local markets. They all want to grow and become the best in their field and enter markets and take companies to the world stage.

In 2009, the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise made a study that showed businesses are the most entrepreneurial in the world but lagged behind in execution.

Many successful companies were sold to overseas interests in the early 2000s in the name of taking the business to the next level, the ASB said.

Radical Change

The new desire for scaling up globally contrasts with the attitudes of the past, which the NZ Trade and Enterprise study had found in Kiwi business owners. They were not hesitant in selling what they had created for an amount of wealth that justified goals, instead of pushing to build strong national or international businesses.

The dichotomy in New Zealand business was visible-- on the one hand, they want global success. The belief still persists that working too hard is like going for an early grave and is not worth the effort, as it means missing out on family, friends and a good time in the country.

Changing Attitudes

Still, the rising ambition of business owners is hard to miss. Most of the business owners want to achieve double-digit revenue growth in 2015 (54 per cent), while another section wanted to spend more time with family outside work (60 per cent).

In the survey, 54 per cent of the respondents wanted to double revenue in the coming year. About 41 per cent wanted entry into new markets in the next two years in Asia, Australia and elsewhere.

The desire to balance time in the office with time at play was evident. Kiwis wanted it all and not sacrifice one for the sake of another. One quarter of businesses said they want to be a global operator, and 41 per cent said they want a company with a national footprint.

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(Photo: Reuters / Catherine Benson )
A woman works in an office in this undated file photo.
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