Chris Schweder opened his jewellery design and manufacturing retail business in Howick, Auckland 35 years ago.

Despite major economic ups and downs and changing consumer values his core business has thrived, and Chris and his family moved to Nelson 15 years ago to create a better work-life balance and space from the business to allow him to think creatively.

After putting that spare time into new business ideas – some successful and some not – Chris suddenly found himself overwhelmed with a number of complex business issues and facing severe financial pressure. “I felt completely alone with professional business advisors offering little useful advice,” Chris says. “Having gone through a very painful time and feeling pretty beaten up, I was recommended to Amy, who had a reputation for being a very competent professional who cared.”

Chris initially approached their working relationship with caution to ensure they could work together.

After smoothly and efficiently navigating through some complex financial issues and streamlining PAYE and creditor and debtor operations with WK Strawbridge’s secretarial services, Chris was confident they could work together on big picture ideas.

Working with Chris has been incredibly rewarding for WK Strawbridge director Amy Martin, who is motivated by helping people achieve their personal and business aspirations.

When Chris listed four things he wanted in life: energy, joy, passion and progress, Amy was able to confidently start putting a plan in place to help him achieve those goals.

“From that initial conversation came a whole discussion about Chris’s values, his ideas for success, the desires for his business and his legacy,” Amy says.

“Following that we had a two-day strategy workshop to look at his entire business model and what we needed to accomplish to help him reset his priorities and achieve his goals.”

After the workshop a whole raft of changes, including upskilling staff, re-allocating responsibilities and rearranging operations and procedures were rolled out incrementally.

Amy meets with the team in Auckland quarterly to track progress and ensure the strategy is progressing as planned.

Now the business is stable and running smoothly without him, they are embarking on a strategic plan to create growth through shrinkage, Chris says.

“Amy’s ability to look beyond the numbers and understand how the development of people was critical to the development of my vision, has been integral in reaching this point.”