Advisor Profile - Anna Irving
‘SME People’ is a boutique practice delivering ‘people’ expertise to the Family Business to help their staff, board and/or family to thrive. We deep dive into Director, Anna's journey and some of her key drivers in helping family businesses thrive.
What would you consider are your areas of expertise?
Anything to do with 'your people' initiatives.
Our simple Planning, Placement and Performance offering spans across three key ‘people’ categories: Your Staff, Your Board & Your Family.
We cover anything from organisation and role design; recruitment - search & selection (I have a wonderful recruitment team ); performance management; business and/or family board establishment and placement; succession & continuity planning; family communication and relationships; Family meetings, family values and future goals.
We also can connect you with Family Business experts in other fields (no strings attached).
Consider us ‘your people’ hub
How long have you been working with family businesses?
Family Business runs in the blood. So does a love for Private and Family Business.
My parents started up 2 successful Vineyards which they sold and my Dad’s the Founder of The ICEHOUSE. Our ‘walks n talks’ or ‘dinner chat’ often landed on ‘the role’ of the Owner Manager and business.
Like my Father, I feel connected to making an impact in the NZ SME business space but more specifically with Family Businesses. I am now 45 years of age and plan to spend the next 15 years of my career here (I had a smile on my face as I wrote that).
More recently, I completed the Family Business Advisory Course through the FBA which has been outstanding. I will continue to feed myself with international through leadership as my career develops.
What is one of the most common mistakes you see in family businesses?
Failure to even think about the future (succession), let alone plan it. Proof is in the statistics. They tell us that just over half of business owners do not think that their businesses are exit or succession ready. It does not have to be complicated or built into something big. Just put it on the list people and take small steps at a time. Good succession plans can take up to 5 x years so make sure you factor that in.
What is your “uh ha” moment with your clients? When they realise…
That independent governance of ‘the family’, and ‘the business’ creates a multitude of wins - professionally and personally. The family, business and ownership are aligned with clear goals and values. Business performance and relationships thrive.
Or, it might be that recruiting ‘cronies’ or people in the family network is often not the best option. I can guarantee that a structured external search and selection process with an expert that understands the complexities of family business will create a more positive outcome. At SME People we do not charge with fees (we want you to be able to access support) so please do not throw the idea in the bin thinking it will be too expensive to outsource.
What gets you up in the morning (inspiration/motivation)?
Apart from my two lovely boys Jack 10 years, Charlie 9 years and my husband (a very funny ex Englishman) it is my clients. My purpose (all documented) is to create happy and productive families and businesses. And, I want to be the best Family Business Advisor in NZ.
What is the key benefit of your FBNZ membership?
There is a lot….
Firstly, New Zealand’s Family Business space needs to be carved out and established to enhance the success and well-being of this significant contributor to the economy. New Zealand Family Business will be one of the main architects of this along with key stakeholders like myself.
New Zealand Family Business is essentially a ‘beehive’ that people can come and go from. It offers their stakeholders (advisors and businesses alike) global, up to date research and thought leadership, connections that truly inspire and grow people and businesses, training and practice support.
It is a safe environment where people can inspire others, sharing stories, learnings, challenges, and wins.