According to the ABS, regional businesses account for over 800,000 businesses. As part of our Regional Heroes campaign, we’re profiling some of these incredible small business owners, like Maureen Kyne, to see what makes them (and their towns) tick!
What is the name of your business?
Maureen Kyne & Associates
What is your website?
When did you start your small biz?
Why did you start it?
I was living in Sydney when diagnosed with breast cancer March 2003. At the time I was working for an international distribution company in charge of their $20m healthcare division. It was during my treatment that I decided that I wanted to leave Sydney and make a tree change to where I had begun my early childhood. During my treatment I reflected on what I had achieved during my working life and how I would be able to share that knowledge, hence the idea of starting my own business was created. As a people centric person, I have always observed how people behave and the impact that their behaviour had not only those around them but they themselves.
Is it the only biz of its kind in your area?
There are consulting businesses that touch on the surface of what I do just from a legal perspective. But none have taken it to the next level to understand the human element and the impact of when behaviours are not managed well, the serious impact it has on people’s lives, their work colleagues and the workplace in general. They don’t look to work through how to rebuild the daily work life of the employees involved. So, I would say that I am unique as I have a balance between the human element and the organisational element and how to get true balance between the both.
What do you love most about living where you live?
I am fortunate to own (or should I say the bank) 2 acres in a country setting. It is my sanctuary, a place where I restore my own mental health and well-being. Living regionally provides me with the flexibility to choose where I want to work. When I want a metro fix I will choose to work with a client in a major city. I am passionate about bringing expert advice to regional businesses that is cost effective, as regional businesses often miss out on developing new skills that will take their business to the next level as they are often only delivered in the metro areas. Regional business are the life blood of the nation and we are seeing amazing businesses now relocating to regional areas for cost benefits and also loyal employment. You tend to see employee engagement for much longer duration than in the metro businesses. I found that country people tend to be less fake and friendships are formed across all levels of business.
How would you describe your client base?
- My client base is varied due to the nature of the referrals from my referral partners and the clients themselves.
- The main representation of my clients are manufacturing, healthcare, allied health and government and lately I am working with transport companies and even orchards.
Who/what do you consider your biggest competitor?
Interesting question due to the bigger providers in my sector not generally operating in regional areas. That being said I have noticed just recently that there are some big names trying to get work in regional areas. Having read a report a little while ago it did say that with saturation in the consulting arena and markets being tight, they are now looking to regional areas to pick up work. Believe it or not but the biggest competitor is the mindset of the larger client base, thinking that they need to bring a large company from the metro area to deliver a program. I am referring to the larger councils and even health. For me personally I prefer to work with the mid-range and smaller client where you know you are going to have the biggest impact. A very large client will take you out of the game for a long period of time unless you are working with a select group in the much larger client.
How do most of your clients find you?
- Referrals from existing clients
- Word of mouth
- Strategic partners such as accountants, lawyers, bookkeepers
- Marketing through my weekly newsletter
- Networking to an extent
Do you network with other small biz in your area?
- Yes, I do. I belong to a group of businesses that meet monthly to discuss regional issues that may influence the business or the region and issues that have arisen that are of a concern that have arisen during the month.
- I attend briefings held by other organisations in the region to network with my peers when I believe in topic being discussed is of value to my business and that of the clients I work with.
- I attend monthly dinners in Melbourne where 20 other businesswomen get together.
- I also belong to the inaugural group of women in Industrial Relations in Victoria who meet irregularly.
- I attend briefings in Bendigo where a law firm brings together people in the human resources profession.
- I attend after business functions in Albury/Wodonga a couple of times per annum.
- In the social setting as my partner also has a very successful business and we go out socially a bit.
- A couple of the accountancy firms I work with are looking to run information sessions for their clients to chat about topics that impact on their day to day operation of their businesses.
Do you have a local chamber of commerce in your area?
Yes, I do.
What do you think is the greatest challenge your community/area/district faces right now?
- Interesting question. As per the previous question I believe that our council has been very poor in representation to build and grow our area as the Foodbowl of Australia as it was previously known.
- Politics plays a very big part in what state and federal funding is made to the region.
- Water shortage and its horrendous cost is a major concern since the Murray Darling basin scheme was put in place. Irrigation is a fundamental necessity to provide optimum crops and produce for our nation.
- We are a major producer of fruit and vegetables and we are being dictated by the large supermarket chains on what fruit should look like rather than what mother nature intended.
- If we don’t sort out the water issue and milk prices our region will suffer significantly and ultimately put Australia in a crisis when we cannot access quality grown produce across the food chain.
- We have farmers just walking off their farms at a significant rate.
- We also have a very high suicide rate happening in all regional areas which is major concern as it is having an impact on the future generations of these families.
- Shepparton itself has the highest number of truck registrations in Victoria than in any other area. The impact of compliance for the trucking industry is mammoth, which our governments have very little consideration for. Very much understand that we need to make safety the priority, but it is coming at a massive cost.
- The large supermarket chains have far too much power and are impacting the grower, the distributor, the manufacturer and the very life blood of regional areas.
Who is your greatest support?
- I have to say three supporters
- My partner who loves, trusts and supports me and gives me the freedom to dream big and go after my goals
- My mentor and business coach. She makes me dream out loud and holds me accountable to live the dream.
- My team:
- They are my clients, trusted accountants, my network.
- They are the people that have experienced and seen the work I have provided and are my biggest cheer squad.
What’s your biggest goal for the next 5 years?
Trademarking my IP to make it sellable and speaking globally on all things about behaviour.
What is your biggest challenge in terms of growing your business?
Getting reach outside of my region. It is very hard to advertise the human element of who you are and how these impacts on the engagement with new clients.
If there was one thing you could to make the biggest change to your business what would it be?
Creating more visibility, so that I can reach larger audiences so that they can have a little of my insight to help them navigate through behavioural issues.
What/where is your favourite place in your town and why?
BelCibo & Co – Marco and Belinda have the most amazing coffee and food and have got to love their wood fired pizza’s.
Vote for Maureen in Kochie’s Business Builders Regional Heroes competition!
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