18th July 2018

Referral Letter for Dr Leith Oliver

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this referral for the help that Dr Leith Oliver has undertaken with my personal business development in the field of operations and innovation. Over a series of private lessons, Dr Leith Oliver helped formulate my thinking around developing a new Division at Hynds called “Hynds Innovation”. His advice and knowledge allowed me to quite quickly develop the framework for the new division with governance, process, and industry engagement.

We have implemented tools into the business such as the Technology Roadmap, Innovation Funnel and a gate process that were part of the private lessons that has allowed our first projects progress towards commercialisation.

I believe private lessons with Dr Leith Oliver will benefit any business owner or manager whom needs to formulate strategy around innovation through to commercialisation.

If you need further information in reference to this referral please do not hesitate to contact me via email aaron.hynds@hynds.co.nz.

Kind Regards

Aaron Hynds -Director

International Foods Ltd
Phone 021 598 256

Our first business Traded as Simplicity  Franchise. In 2012 we met Dr Leith Oliver and discussed with him the problems  we were having getting  our small vending machine franchise business to generate sales growth. After his analysis and critique  of our business model we decided to change the business name and business model  and to exploit  our existing supply chain relationships  with American confectionery suppliers.   We became an international trader  in American confectionery brands and distributed a full product range through  New Zealand retailers  and supermarkets.

This created a major  increase in sales from the $450k in Simplicity’s  annual sales in 2011to $3mil in annual sales for International Foods Ltd by 2014. Unfortunately, our rapid success attracted new competitors into the market  and the 2014 year was a spike.  However, the sales from  2011 to 2018 currently shows a 258% lift. To help us manage growth Leith set up a group of management checks and balances including systems for product  range rationalisation and margin analysis, financial  ratio analysis, cash flow  management, market gap analysis and regular advisory board reporting of key performance indicators.

Trading in what has become a very competitive market  remains tight, but Leith has stayed close to us with  advice and encouragement in the management of markets, distributors, and staff.  It helps to have the support  of an advisor and the discipline  of reporting to a small advisory board on a regular calendar of meetings  keeps us focused on improving business performance.

Leigh and Steve Sartin – Directors

Hortus Ltd

In 2013 I felt my business was facing significant potential growth  but I was not sure that the structure and management controls were up to the task. At that stage the Hortus sales revenue was a little over $4mil annually. I was referred  to Leith Oliver by the Icehouse and we had a short and frank discussion about the financial records which confirmed that things were not as robust as they needed to be.  A review of the key financial ratios identified the trouble spots and Leith directed me to the operational actions that were needed to fix the issues. We had a 45% growth in sales for the next year and the growth has continued at about a 30% annually.

In 2015 Leith agreed that an Advisory Board be set up to give the business a more rigorous oversight of finances and operations as the business continued to grow rapidly.  The three-member Advisory Board has continued to provide valuable checks and direction since then and I would definitely recommend any owner-managed business to invest in this type of informal governance until the need for a formal Board of Directors becomes apparent.  The guidance and stability has been invaluable through our period of growth and change in markets and expanding capital resource and skill requirements.

Aaron Jay – Director

Aspiring Health Taupo

I attended a ‘Managing Growth’ business seminar in Hamilton being run by the Icehouse and delivered by Dr Leith Oliver in 2011.  I continued with a series of meetings with Leith for advice on how to improve the structure and performance of my physiotherapy business in Taupo.  From his advice and with support from our accountant Mark Sinclair, I developed a struggling small business with staffing and cash flow issues in 2012, to a growth in sales by 2015 of over 100% and a profit increase of 2645%

Emboldened by this result over three years, I entered the 2015 Great Lake Taupo Business Excellence Awards and won the Supreme Winner Award for the Taupo Region.  By working in partnership with Leith, Mark and by taking positive actions within the business, I was able to build my leadership and management skills which created to great platform and grew the business into a multi-faceted wellness centre.

With hard work, good advice and more hard work, I was able to turn my business into a profitable and ultimately desirable asset for a national franchise to purchase.  I was able to increase the price tag of the business by over 1500% in 6.6 years.

The sale of Aspiring Health has allowed me to rebrand and follow my passion into aged care as the director or Reviva – The Positive Ageing Experts.

Catie Noble – Director

Reviva and formerly Aspiring Health