The ‘three Bs’ is a stereotypical view of why kiwis go into business and what we intend to get out of it. But is it a fair representation of what we small kiwi entrepreneurs aspire to? And when is the best time to sell your business?

In a review published by NZ’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation, called “Growing the pie: How entrepreneurs are creating a better NZ’, a number of high profile NZ entrepreneurs share their thoughts on the matter.

Cecilia Robinson: Founder of Au Pair Link and My Food Bag

 “It’s such an antiquated way of looking at things. It suggests people aren’t ambitious. I see a huge amount of ambition in Kiwis, but people also need to view their priorities holistically and what’s right for them and their families. For us, our priorities were really clear in terms of what we wanted to achieve: our goalposts, what does success look like, and what does success not look like”

Rod Drury: Creator of Xero

“I think people underestimate how hard it is building a business from NZ. I went for years without ever having a Labour Weekend. These are often 24/7 businesses and as a founder, they are merry-go-rounds you can’t get off. So depending on the size of the exit, you either go ‘Okay, that’s enough, I’ve worked hard for 10 years and now I need to spend more time with my family’, or you go ‘Okay, that’s not quite enough, so I need to deploy the capital and go again’. And even in the first option, you tend to invest in a bunch of other companies as well.”

Theresa Gattung: Former Telecom CEO and champion of female entrepreneurship

“ I can remember being on the first Growth and Innovation Advisory Board and trying to get business people to have bigger aspirations. But that 3Bs thing was a conversation then — I don’t think it is now. Just look at Nick Mowbray. We might even have our answer to Bill Gates in this generation.”

To sell or not to sell?

You’ve invested blood sweat and tears into your business and you’ve come to a crossroads. Should you sell your business, or keep it for a little while longer? Maybe you’ve been approached with an offer, or maybe you’re thinking of putting your business on the market. Whatever your decision, make sure you know the worth of your business and take a moment to consider what a sale could mean for NZ.

Here’s what two kiwi business greats told Callaghan Innovation about the business of selling a business.

Sir Stephen Tindall: Founder of The Warehouse and K1W1, the Tindall family’s $250 million seed and venture capital fund.

“The benefit of the exit is it gives you the ability to recycle your money and invest in more similar investments. I personally think a big benefit is just growing the whole market and creating more and more innovative businesses. I see it as growing the nation, as we transition from being just SMEs and farmers and property investors to people who really think about how we grow global companies. When we exit them, then obviously we use the profits to grow more of them, so it’s a whole ecosystem.”

Greg Cross: Tech entrepreneur and founder of PowerbyProxi and Soul Machines.

“An exit is just a natural part of the lifecycle of a tech company. If we’re not getting exits that means all of our companies are either succeeding at a level which we know is impossible, or they’re failing. So exits are a good thing. It means a bunch of Kiwi founders and employees are going to get a payout for their years of hard work. And they are going to turn around and reuse a combination of their money and their experience to feed that back into the ecosystem.”

Growing the pie: How entrepreneurs are creating a better NZ’ is available to read in full, online.

If you’re looking to sell your business in New Zealand, we highly recommend you let LINK take care of it. Click here for more.