Warren Taylor says the ability to listen to clients is a
key part of his new business venture. Photo by Peter
Warren Taylor's goal for his new business venture is to
achieve ''significantly better'' outcomes for Dunedin
businesses and families.
He has launched The Business Edge Ltd to work with business
owners to develop and implement plans to maximise the value
of their businesses.
That meant they would then have an attractive business to
sell as a key part of their succession/exit strategy.
It was different from his previous role as a Beyond Business
adviser for the Otago Chamber of Commerce for nearly five
In that job, he focused on encouraging the ''putting in
place'' of sound exit-strategy processes, with emphasis on
what the consequences were likely to be post-sale, but it was
essentially a pastoral role, he said.
With his new venture, there would be a much more assertive
approach to good business practice, although working ''on
that personal front'' was still a key element, Mr Taylor
Well known in the Dunedin theatre scene, Mr Taylor has more
than 35 years' experience in SME (small and medium-sized
enterprise) and corporate business ownership and management
in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
He was also Dunedin City Council employment adviser in the
mid-1990s, working with all Dunedin business sectors, and
He had learned much over the years about the Dunedin business
community, in terms of both type and attitude, he said.
He believed such a service was needed, saying the average age
of SME owners was 57 and climbing, which meant that even with
many people working well into their 60s, many businesses
would either come on the market, or be shut down, over the
next few years.
Mr Taylor would delegate client requirements to a team of
business service provider professionals as required.
Together, they would work on all aspects of a business'
development, ensuring goals envisioned by business owners
The development and eventual sale of a business was ''very
much a process rather than an event'', he said.
Succession planning alone was generally recognised to take at
least five years to ensure the best results.
Many more business owners in their 30s and 40s were now
working on their exit strategies, which was an encouraging
trend, while an increasing number of banks required a robust
exit strategy in place as a condition of funding being made
Many people thought about succession planning, but there was
often a fear of the unknown. It was also a big jump from
having ''quite a structured, responsible life to having a
free-rein life'', he said.
Mr Taylor estimated about 90% of his role was about
listening, and that was the part that he really enjoyed.
''When you listen, you get stories ... and little triggers
that show where the hidden resistances are,'' he said.
His intention was to ''be a kind of drafting gate'': after
listening to people, he would find out where there was a need
for an appropriate skill or service and steer them in that
direction. Trust and confidentiality was ''key to the whole
While Mr Taylor's area of operation was initially going to be
Dunedin, there were plans to ''see what the temperature's
like in the rural sector'' in the future.
He was excited and enthusiastic about the new venture, and he
was not aware of anyone else doing the same thing.
''I love new things, I love start-ups. Things are much more
exciting when you know you're really putting yourself on the