Over the last decade, Rob Beard has navigated long hours and a health crisis to bring better quality meats to Kiwi plates. Partnering with experts helped him succeed when the road ahead was challenging.
Rob, who founded well-known butchery and small goods brand Beard Brothers a decade ago, has learnt plenty over that time about being successful in business while navigating through good times and bad.
“But doing business in 2022 is proving to be an entirely new learning exercise,” says Rob. “Covid-19, and the supply chain issues that it has brought about, are proving a big challenge. You really have to work hard to keep stock on the shelves right now.”
It is a reminder for Rob that expecting the unexpected is all part of the business landscape, even with proven products and a solid reputation for quality.
A dream of creating delicious sausages from organic, locally sourced ingredients has turned into an award-winning business for Rob.
Stress and burnout
Rob, a keen hunter who loved curing meats, left a lucrative career in the viticulture industry to pursue his dream of creating delicious sausages made from organic, locally sourced ingredients. His output not only found an enthusiastic audience but also started winning him awards.
But what started as a hobby, quickly grew into an all-consuming business. Keeping up with the pace of business as the brand gained momentum meant 12-14 hour workdays for Rob.
At just 38 years of age, Rob suffered a heart attack: a manifestation of the physical and mental stress he was under while trying to stay ahead of the game.
“I knew I had to get off the tools, so to speak,” he admits now. “I was burning myself out and it wasn’t sustainable.”
A new way of working
Sound business advice from a consultant, recruiting a General Manager, and installing a series of production systems to ensure consistency, helped Rob step back and focus on the parts of the business that he loved the most: marketing and sales.
“It wasn’t easy at first,” he says. “You have to trust other people with something you’ve worked really hard on. Ultimately though, it's what has allowed the brand to grow.”
“The key is not to wait for good advice to come to you. You need to seek it out. Look for people who can help you navigate tough times and help your business grow.”
Rob Beard. Founder of Beard Brothers.
A broker on your side
“I’ve always been a firm believer in having solid business insurance. It gives you the security to get on with things if something goes wrong,” he says.
Rob has been with Crombie Lockwood “since day dot” and Adrienne Heney, from Crombie Lockwood's Hawke's Bay branch, has always provided great support. “She’s a brilliant example of having someone on your side that gives you good advice.”
The challenges of doing business in the pandemic environment means that Rob and his team must adapt every day. But the consistency of support and advice the company receive from their chosen partners ensures they can approach every new scenario with confidence.
The views expressed in this content are those of the author, who is also responsible for any errors and omissions. Family Business Australia and New Zealand provides this article for your information only. The content of the article should not be taken as advice. If you wish to explore this topic, please consult an advisor who you consider to have the expertise to provide specific advice in relation to your family business.