Andrew Fearnside, Owner and Managing Director, Wild Wheat
“I wanted to say thank you for making me sooooo much of a better business man. In fact for actually making me into a business man, rather than a baker who was self employed. My business, and its bottom line is dramatically different from when we first met. I owe so much of that to you and your wise words. Thanks again. Should have said this a long time ago.”
Daniel Hunt, Managing Director and Owner of The Career Academy
“We have worked with Zac for the past two years. Zac has helped The Career Academy develop its culture, values and brand and to ensure we continue to provide world class customer service. He helped us focus and clarify what really matters to the business and translate this into effective marketing to ensure we reach students so we can make a difference in their lives. Working with Zac has been truly business changing for us!“
Nick Brown, Huffman’s Sauces
“Transformational… Revolutionary… Awesome… Take your pick! Our business looks nothing like it did just three months ago – our brand is visible in the market, there’s a buzz about what we are doing, doors are opening and our heads are in the game. Business Changing changes business for the better… I’m very very thankful we met – my only regret is that we didn’t seek you out sooner!”
Richard Poole, owner of GrownUps.co.nz
“Working with Zac has been the catalyst for huge change for us at GrownUps over the past 10 months… His suggestions from our very first meeting have been the essence of completely changing our philosophy and mandate of why we’re even in business – maybe that philosophy was always there but we always struggled to actual verbalise it. It’s great to now feel more confident in what our purpose is.
As a result, we also work with Debbie Harrison, who has been a breath of fresh air for us in terms of PR and bringing ideas that we had never considered. These ideas quickly spring into action and have resulted in TV, radio and online coverage.
The great thing about working with Business Changing is that there is no pressure and we work as quickly or slowly as we all need to to get the result, which is fantastic and much appreciated.”
Rachel Kann, Owner, IQ Property Management
“Zac’s business workshop totally exceeded my expectations. The two days are well planned out to ensure your thought process takes you through the various stages needed to question why you are in business, where your business currently is at and where you want your business to be. Provoking questions, explanations, stories, presentations from successful entrepreneurs and of course Zac’s personal attention ensure you walk away with a clear and dynamic business plan. The venue was perfect, the lunch and refreshments sublime.”
Gosia Piatek, Owner and Managing Director, Kowtow Clothing
Zac, thank you for all your advice over the past few years. I have really appreciated all that you have put into Kowtow. With your input I know it has tremendously helped to get us to where we are now.
Mike and Helen Mander, directors of Heart Saver
“In the short time we have been working with Zac we have a renewed focus and energy for the business. Working with Zac has enabled us to look at the business from a different perspective, created some thinking space, and allowed us to reflect on the challenges and opportunities we are currently facing. Zac’s calm but enthusiastic approach has helped us to develop a robust plan for the future and has provided us with the confidence and tools we need to meet it head on.”
Steve Deane, managing director & owner of The Event Works Group
“My business has been working with Zac for the past year. We were entering a phase of growth and wanted to ensure what our guts were telling us was fundamentally and financially the right way to go. I had a number of one-on-one sessions with Zac, he came up to speed on my business very quickly, and was able to assist me in putting the stepping stones in place for moving forward.
Zac is a very professional business mentor who is able to see the big picture whilst also honing in on the nitty gritty. He is articulate, personable and well connected (we have made some great business contacts through introductions made by Zac). Zac is always positive and enthusiastic and is never confrontational – there is no hidden agenda or ego with Zac.
My team always looks forward to our meetings with Zac and come out of each session feeling energised and back on track. I would have no hesitation in recommending Zac too any business looking for support, direction and intelligence in the way forward.”
Mathew Phelan, store manager at New World Churton Park
“Zac has given myself and the business a real sense of clarity, and a better sense of day-to-day achievement for myself and the team. Zac’s ability to ask questions that are relative and beneficial have helped me grow the business and my self-awareness and create a more enjoyable workplace. Give Zac an inch and he’ll take you a mile!”
Chris Price, owner of Ark Advance
“Zac asks the questions that make you think. Really hard. Thankfully he doesn’t leave you struggling. He works with you, side by side, to seek out the best answers based on the specific issues your business is facing. We found answers that guided us to invest in a new brand, expand the team, venture overseas and overall deliver greater profits.”
Gray Borrell, General Manager, Novii
“The business planning workshop run by Zac is a great opportunity to challenge existing thinking in your business and take results to the next level. The workshop was well thought out and provided a structured environment to channel ideas and ambitions. Zac has the perfect presenting style allowing for plenty of interaction amongst your team and networking with other business from a variety of backgrounds. Highly recommended.”
Andrew Wells, Owner, AW Consulting
“I recently took the 2 day business planning workshop with Zac and highly recommend it to others. The workshops are a great way to take a look at your business from a new perspective and come out with a solid plan of action. There’s a great balance between looking at your own business (through a series of questions you answer) and learning from others who have been successful. I went in with just an idea and came out with a clear purpose and mission, and more importantly an action plan for the next 90 days (and further) to get stuck in to. The workshop is all about looking at your own business and there’s real value in going with a group of people from your company. There are other businesses there, but most of the time is spent on your own business. The food was outstanding and it was a really relaxed comfortable vibe. Cheers Zac!”
Mary Ellen Davy, creative director of Ellen & Ellen
“The first thing Zac will ask when we meet is, ‘How are you, your boys, the renovations, is everything going well?’ He understands the responsibility of solo parenting combined with running a business and that bigger family. It gives him context – I am always squeezed for time. Zac, amongst many other valuable things, has taught me clarity, to take quiet time out each day to think on the business, to set goals and hold myself accountable. Invaluable!”
Rodelle Payne, director of Sisters And Co
“Zac has become an integral part of my business. He has given me some amazing tools both on a financial and emotional level to run my business in a much more efficient and effective way. He has helped me focus on what’s important and helped my company increase sales and grow while enhancing the team environment. He also has a calm and efficient way of dealing with issues that arise and I simply couldn’t do business without him anymore! I don’t even want to write too many nice things because I want him to always have the time to help deal with my problems!”
Haydon Sanders, director of Sherpac
“Working with Zac at Business Changing over the last year has been brilliant. His experience and knowledge with running a business has been invaluable and we wouldn’t be where we are now without him assisting along the way. He is an amazing mentor who keeps you focused and accountable on the bigger picture, rather than getting bogged down in the day to day. I just need to say thank you Zac for everything and we look forward to working with you over the years to come.”
Carl Lunt, general manager at Dotmar Engineering Plastics
“We utilised the services of Zac De Silva and the team from Business Changing to assist us with our customer experience. By involving Zac we were able to outline the issues to our team from a customer perspective. The team then went on to install systems and processes to improve our customer experience. Trying to achieve these changes from within is very challenging but the task was made simpler by understanding clearly the customer expectations, something that Zac was able to determine and communicate accurately. Because of his extensive experience and understanding of our business and the issues, Zac easily facilitated positive change which has now enabled us to deliver the very needs of our customer – not what we perceived their expectations to be. Thanks Zac and the team at Business Changing for understanding our business.”
Andrew Dale, Chief Executive Officer, Apx Travel Management
“In our highly competitive industry we fight hard for that little piece of magic that differentiates – Zac gives us that magic.”
Adrienne Madden, insurance broker at Hugh Vercoe & Associates
“Zac has been instrumental in assisting us with a growth plan for our business. After only 6 months of his expertise, we are well on the way to setting solid platforms for our company’s future, and looking at the long term success of our business.
Zac is a great listener, and always gives you his undivided attention. He gets things moving, follows up on tasks he has set, and his excellent business and financial skills are a great asset to our business. I would thoroughly recommend Zac to anyone looking for external assistance in growth and goal setting for their business.”
Angela Stone, owner and founder of Angela Stone
“Zac has played a huge part in the expansion of Angela Stone Consulting. He has great ideas and sees the big picture. He has improved our revenue and given me so much confidence to make my business what it is today. Zac is the numbers man behind my business and I am truly grateful for all the time and advice he has invested into my business. He genuinely cares and I could not ask for a better mentor!”
Chris Hill, Owner, Hands Up Holidays
“Awesome couple of days at your business planning workshop – great to set the time aside to think about the business and zero in on what is really important for success. Thanks Zac!”
Seajung Oh, Owner, Oh Rent Me
“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and it definitely raised repeating issues that we need to work on our business. It was definitely a great kick start to planning out what we need to do! Can’t wait to work with you further in the future!”
Dixie Finlayson, Artmount and Framing Matters, Owner and MD
“Working with Zac has re-energized me and put the challenge and enjoyment back into running my business! He has a very positive and encouraging way of firstly showing you where you need to be focusing and then educating you with the necessary skills to grow your business. This can be challenging! Also I like the fact the Zac understands the ups and downs of running a business as he has personal experience. I also find brainstorming and business planning with him invaluable as plans are made and you are then accountable! I have been working with Zac for a year now and my business has changed for the better.”
Lucy Thomas, Bettie Monroe, Director and Owner
“Zac has been a great addition to our team. It is great having a switched on, motivated neutral person to bounce ideas off between me and my business partner. His knowledge is extensive in our field and he always offers great ideas and solutions. He is discreet about our competition too and I feel he respects the privacy of our business secrets as well. Zac is a rare find and I find him present and genuine. I always feel excited about our business after meeting with him.”
Mark Fisher, Eighty4 Recruitment, Founder and Managing Director
“Zac is an extremely talented guy with outstanding ideas. For a start-up he provided me with the perfect sounding board and direction to ensure I was on the right track, along with ongoing regular support. Zac is an excellent communicator and creative thinker that unleashes your potential to reach success. Get your business changing – talk to Zac.”
Tim Jones, Cigana Coffee, Owner
“I engaged Zac to restructure our cafes and the recommended strategy that was put to us has been fully implemented with increasing margins, a more focused business mix and accretive margins within our store network. Without the implementation of the structure put to us we would be running on very slim margins across our previous group. I look forward to engaging Business Changing for our latest business shortly.”
John Wills, Custom Residential, Managing Director and Founder
“When I sit down and think about it, there are really three key reasons why we continue to use and recommend Zac de Silva: 1. He is a very real and genuine external sounding board for us and our business. He listens, then is happy to give honest and straight direction and guidance regardless of whether the topic is a negative, trouble-shooting type issue or a positive, business growth idea or initiative. He is gold in this area. 2. He is smart and sharp. He attends to things very quickly. Often even during the meeting when an idea or direction is tabled, he can work up a quick spreadsheet and tell you immediately if the numbers work or not, or where we realistically need to be to make those numbers work for the business. This is gold for our small business. 3. He has a huge amount of serious business experience and acumen, but his heart is in the right place too. I think he understands where the business currently sits, and the means and capabilities it currently has and guides people along a very realistic path to get to the next stepping stone.
All three of these points have been big for us and we actually look forward to our meetings with Zac.”
Christopher Hill, Hands Up Holidays, Founder and Managing Director
“Zac is a phenomenal individual, with a razor sharp mind, strong business acumen, and an uncanny head for numbers, all with a zen-like temperament. High integrity, with a commitment to achieving results that exceed expectations. I recommend him without hesitation.”
Brenden Rolsten, MD and Owner, Action HQ
“I find Zac extremely thought-provoking. Zac has helped create clarity in my vision, he is an agile thinker, keeps in touch between sessions and has a real interest in the success of his ‘students’. Zac has a reputation of success through coaching companies to be recognised as best places to work and fast growth. I would highly recommend Zac to anyone who is looking to achieve their passions in life. Your only challenge with Zac will be securing him as your coach as this guy is in hot demand. Good luck!”
Grainne Moss, Managing Director, Bupa Care Services NZ Ltd
“I would like to sincerely thank you for presenting at our conference recently. Your energy and frankness was very refreshing and inspiring. You have been the positive topic in many conversations since the conference event. It was amazing to see how well you linked in with your fellow panelists, and what a great chemistry you all developed given you had never met. Once again, thank you so much for presenting and for being a part of the discussion panel and we wish you success on your future ventures.”
Sanjesh Lal, Owner and Managing Director, Keola Homes
“Awesome! Zac is a results-driven coach, holding you accountable. He’s made a real difference in our business: where it is and where it’s going.”
David Maxwell, Owner, Eighth Wonder Travel
“Zac has been a crucial element to the growth of our business. As a mentor, he is extremely professional while helping us to work towards our strategic goals. Zac’s network and connections are truly impressive: he is our first port of call when trying to make contact with someone in a specific field. His financial knowledge coupled with his grounded technique of business coaching is a true asset to his success. We look forward to working with Zac on our business journey into the future.”
Neill Sperath, Owner and Director, Time Unlimited Tours
Zac is truly outstanding! We have worked with him for a couple of years now and can say he is exceptional and we highly recommend him! He has helped our business immensely and our results have skyrocketed exponentially since working with Zac and Business Changing. Thank you, Zac!!
Stephen Gillingham, owner-operator at House of Travel Whangarei
“Zac is a rare talent. He possesses a knack for being able to gain a clear understanding of what the key issues are and what the best strategies are for attaining business success. His energy and enthusiasm, combined with years of wisdom, have helped us develop a pathway towards greater business success. I would recommend Zac to any business owner looking to build a business that is both sustainable and highly profitable.”
Michelle Mace, Owner and MD, Mace Contractors
“Zac’s understanding and passion for business has proven invaluable over the last 12 months of working with him. He has really got to know our company and helped us build on what had made it great over the past 35 years, as well as what we needed to do to transition into the next phase of growth and development. Zac’s guidance and endless energy has kept us focused on the big picture priorities, as well as helped us to better manage the day-to-day challenges faced in business. Cannot wait to continue working with Zac!”
Angela Scott, Angela Scott Photography, Owner and MD
“Zac has extensive business knowledge of most industries, is down to earth, approachable and sensible. He imparts timely wisdom at key business change times and in challenging markets. Quick responses with broad level of business expertise. Particularly helpful is his accounting background but his marketing and customer experience ideas are targeted and appropriate.”
Wendy Thompson, Managing Director and Owner, Socialites and Start Social
“Zac is a great asset to my business. He has a great head for numbers and ensured we were on track to achieve our financial goals, offering smart strategic advice and connecting us with the right people to make sure we got there! Very enjoyable and rewarding business coaching and advice process and I look forward to the future work we do together…”
Sip Mounlath, Owner, Bolaven Cafe
Zac @ Business Changing has been fantastic for me in the setting up of my business. His knowledge on start ups was invaluable and his financial nous has been particularly helpful for me in securing my funding and investment. His approach to get to know you as a person has really helped to establish what my business will look like. Thanks Zac, look forward to working with you for a long time.
Kim Lewis, Managing Director, Opt4 Personnel
“Seeking guidance from Zac has catapulted us into 2013 with a clear vision and renewed appreciation for the potential of our emerging business. My husband and I sought help from Zac after we realised that a particularly difficult client was dividing our opinions and wants for our business. In order to move forward we engaged his services and experience to help realign us and guide us forward. With his accounting background, Zac walked us through our own financials and showed us how to interpret them. In just a short time Zac had walked us through developing a business plan for moving forward and had shown us how to gage how we were tracking financially towards attaining our big plans. Since meeting with Zac we’ve followed our goals set out in our business plan and are now on the way to setting up another office in another region. Having Zac give us recognition for what we had achieved to date was the inspiration we needed to get motivated again.”
Terry Koumakis, TDK, Entrepreneur
Just thought I would drop you a quick note to say thank you very much for your consultation with me over my business. Your analysis highlighted some key issues and you gave me some valid options. You certainly got to see the picture very quickly and accurately and gave me some really good points to consider that I am sure are going to be a real benefit to me. Your time with me was invaluable. Thank you
Brenden Rolsten, Managing Director, Actionmail
“I highly recommend Zac and Business Changing to any business owner looking for valuable strategy and leadership development advice. Zac has a natural tendency of honing in on business issues and providing valuable insight to empower changes that really matter and make a difference. Zac will challenge business and leadership thinking, he will challenge you to make the decisions you thought were needed but maybe you were just to chicken to make the call. Zac has helped me make some big changes at Actionmail, we have repositioned the business in a short period of time and we are ready to hit 2013 with force. Zac’s business success precedes him with his past and present track records. Success has been driven through marketing innovation, strategy, culture leadership and knowledge of how to work the numbers. These strengths have resulted in the success of NZ recognised fast growth and best place to work business awards. An investment of time with Zac will pay a multiplier dividend on many levels. Feel free to contact me with any questions on working with Business Changing…”
Jay Padden, HR General Manager, Kotahi
“Zac was originally recommended to me by the Icehouse as an Executive coach for our CEO. That relationship has developed very well over the last year. Zac has also become a key enabler and contributor to us working towards the development of both our employee engagement and customer experience roadmaps. Kotahi is a new and fast paced environment and it has been great to have Zac as a trusted advisor to both myself and the CEO. He has a no nonsense and solid experience based approach to his consulting style. Zac also has a good sense of humour and has been happy to flex around our business needs. I have enjoyed working with Zac and look forward to continuing on our engagement journey with the support of Business Changing”
Sylvia Po-Ching, General Manager, Silver Chef Limited
I work with Zac on various projects (and continue to do so) – business mentoring, developing strategy around people, culture and customer experience, internal staff satisfaction surveys and conference facilitation. I find his honesty, the integrity, genuine interest and ability to find solutions in practical ways are of huge benefit. We increased our overall people “performance” elements by 4% points within three months – just because Zac was able to intelligently demonstrate it was an issue and how to address it. With Zac’s help we have moved into the Top 20 Employees in Australia (as measured via the BRW Best Places To Work competition). I would highly recommend Zac as an effective resource and to help change your business for the better. I look forward to the continuing impact that working with Zac will have on our ASX listed business…
Lance Jimmieson, CEO and Owner, Jackson Engineering Services
“We engaged Zac at the end of 2011 to act as a pseudo director and coach to the business. Zac has been engaging us ever since. His input is sharp as is his eye for the critical figures each month. We are still understanding the possibilities for our business. Zac is opening our eyes to opportunities at every juncture and encouraging growth, together with systems, together with leadership. If you’re up for the challenge, Zac will lead and encourage you to outperform your own perceived limitations. Having completed the Icehouse OMP programme, Zac is the accountability end of the deal so often under-estimated.”
Jacqueline Recchia, Westfield Mall Manager, Westfield
“I had the pleasure of utilising Zac’s knowledge and skills for retailers in a shopping centre when they were not performing to their full potential. Zac has the ability to step into a business that is struggling and extract all the relevant information that is required to be able to make suggestions and recommendations in order for that business owner to make huge improvements to their sales and, effectively, turn the business around. Zac is personable and a very effective speaker whose experience and drive to achieve goals can transcend many different categories of business.
I highly recommend Zac to anyone who needs a helping hand at understanding their business model and what they need to do to make it work…”
Megan Clark, Managing Director and Owner, Copper Brand Experiences
“Zac has done brilliant things for my business, from looking at the financial details through to the big picture growth strategy. He comes from a place of deep and thorough business understanding and expertise. I would highly recommend him to anyone.”
Becky Allcock, CEO and Owner, Bubbledome
“I have loved working with Zac from day one. He takes everything I talk about seriously and makes a big effort to connect on not just a business level. He is prompt to reply to my queries, often late at night, and instantly delivers fantastic feedback and advice. Zac’s background as a chartered accountant is hugely beneficial to me. His analysis of the company financials constantly is invaluable and very important to my goal of growing profit dramatically over the next couple of years. It’s also good to have another pair of eyes on the accounts, other than just my accountant. Zac pays for himself many times over with his business advice each time we meet. I have been totally impressed with Zac and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to any business owner wanting to grow, evolve and keep apace with our ever-changing economy!”
Mike Stokes, Sales Director, The ICEHOUSE
“Since 2010, Zac has worked with The ICEHOUSE and a number of our clients to help strengthen and grow their business. Without exception our clients are extremely happy with his professional approach and the tangible impact he has made on their businesses. Personally I have always enjoyed working with Zac and would recommend him without hesitation.”
Jodi Willison, e-Learning Manager, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
“Zac de Silva regularly delivers six different webinars for NZICA, where he has uncovered ‘the 7 secrets to being successful in business’, ‘how to create the best workplace’, ‘how to offer the best customer service and stand out from the crowd’, “what does todays digital age mean for your business’, ‘how to be a more effective leader’ and ‘accountants, how to blow the socks off your clients and your boss with what you deliver’. His ability to deliver a clear message, offer thought provoking examples and excellent tips attributed to continuing EXCEPTIONAL FEEDBACK from participants (EXCEPTIONAL!). Zac is our most used trainer at NZICA in delivering these 6 different courses and I look forward to working with Zac in the future as we create more training courses.”
Steve Dunstan, Managing Director and Owner, Huffer
Zac has been a business advisor to Huffer since early 2011. We find him really easy to work with and he has so many new ideas for us to consider that add immense value. He has fantastic commercial advice to improve our profitability. Zac also helps to bring focus to myself and Huffer – it is so easy to get distracted, being in the busy business of running a small business. He provides great coaching of myself and our General Manager and management team.
Ivan Seselj, Managing Director, Promapp: www.promapp.com
“We really value our sessions with Zac, in his role as a director on our company board. He asks challenging questions and gives us good ideas that snap us out of our everyday busyness. He gets us thinking more strategically about growth and profitability, rather than just surviving the to-do list.”
Caroline Mar, Managing Director and Owner of The Carpenters Daughter (TCD)
” Finally… I am able to sit and write about Zac and his wonderful team in helping guide me and the beast of a business I have been in for 20 years… It has been a year since Zac sat with me for the first time… and has been a constant in my business life ever since… as a girl on her own, a creative with responsibilities and not good on numbers… Zac is the perfect mentor for me…He talked my language and asked the questions… with an interest in what I am doing… always ready to listen and give wisdom as required… he was able to rein me in when needed, give ideas to what to do, … his keen eye for numbers and comprehension on what is normal in my industry… Zac being a chartered accountant, interested in fashion and the business of it, full of great ideas…with a sense of humour and an eye for detail... Zac has turned my business around …completely!! I can only recommend Zac and Business Changing to you all… if you want remarkable business improvements with enthusiasm, knowledge and amazing profit impact… Zac is your MAN!!”
Jak Jakicevich, CEO and Owner, Glengarry and Didas
“Zac you came into our business with a fresh view point and armed with the results of the survey you put in place for both our customers and staff, you quickly got to understand the issues facing our business. In working with us and taking your advice we were very quickly able to make some great changes inside our business. Also thanks for your ongoing inputs and it is always a pleasure working with you. I appreciate the thought put into the areas we work on together and your recommendations you have made are right on the mark, excellent in fact. Thank you for your fantastic facilitation of our managers conference also, it was our best one ever! Our staff loved you and are now reaping the rewards of the things we learnt. I look forward to continuing working with you on our business strategy and future… “
Greg Cate, CEO and Owner, Market Pulse International
“Zac is a like minded business person, passionate about consumers and employees having great experiences in building foundations to promote better performance and achievement of goals. I highly recommend Zac to others.”
Greg Holland, Owner, Greg Holland Jewellery
“For anyone looking to improve their business, particularly with service in mind, I can highly recommend Business Changing. Zac has been there and done that – he is highly personable, has a creative way of thinking and the ability to inspire you into immediate action.”
Charles Gregory, CEO, Silver Chef Limited
“Excellent job on the weekend – your conference presentations and facilitation on “Leadership” were very well received and I got a lot out of it too. Look forward to our Silver Chef leaders continuing to grow and the work we do next together.”
Clive Ashworth, Managing Director and Owner, Aspect Blinds and Pro-Max Colours
When I first heard of Business Changing I was rather skeptical that their business advice would not be any better than others in the market. How wrong I was to think that way.
Zac came on board and immediately came up with inspirational ideas and assumptions that changed the direction of the business and give me confidence to go forward strongly and grow the business profitably.
With the help of Carlee, a wonderful positive lady, an accountant, Zac’s assistant, we achieved accurate budgets and cash flow documents for our financiers, who were most impressed with the professional presentation. We now have a great financial relationship with them because of this.
Doing business is difficult in New Zealand at the moment, so you need a good right man to help you make the right decisions at the right time. Business Changing have definitely helped me to do this and I would enthusiastically recommend them to any Company that wishes to make a successful, profitable change to their business.
Lizzi Hines, Managing Director and Owner, Spaceworks Design Group
“Zac just knows everything about everything, and he knows everyone! Every-time we meet Zac offers great ideas and he boosts my enthusiasm and drive. As a business owner its great to have someone on your cheering squad, constantly encouraging and super interested in your progress, I would 100% recommend Zac’s services to anyone interested in the growth of their business!”
Jason Doherty, Partner, KPMG
“Thanks for your good insights for our partners and management group. They were relevant and timely and have given us lots of great ideas.”
Dianne McAteer, CEO, Office Products Depot
“Zac de Silva is a highly creative and extremely energetic business leader. A clever strategist, and an innately curious person, Zac is always looking for an edge and an angle for competitive advantage. A great networker and connector of people, Zac is an inspiring person to be around.”
Jo-Anne Cooper, Events Manager, Auckland Chamber of Commerce
“Thank you so much for coming along and speaking at yesterday’s Quarterly Economic Update. We’ve had such positive feedback from attendees on how useful they found all the information given. We really appreciate your willingness to do this for us and look forward to your next presentation for us!”
Chris Hill, CEO and Founder of Hands Up Holidays
I unhesitatingly recommend Zac – he has given shrewd & sensible advice over the course of several years (as a Director and now Chairman) and I am privileged to have worked with him. I consider him to be a great asset & complement to our team.
Lani Lopez, Owner and Managing Director, LaniLopez.com
When I was setting up Lanilopez.com
, I was excited but daunted. As the decision maker and bill payer, I wanted top-level experienced support and guidance. Taking on Zac de Silva was one of the best decisions I made in creating lanilopez.com
and certainly one of the most critical factors in ensuring success from day one. Zac is my business coach, consultant and back-stop. He brings extensive business experience, commercial nous and empathetic insight that any stressed business founder yearns for. With Zac on board I knew nothing important would be forgotten, the numbers would be profitably crunched and we were giving ourselves every chance of success. I am looking forward to a long term relationship with Zac for my new and growing business.
Chris Paulsen, Executive Chairman, House of Travel
“I have both recruited Zac in the role as CFO at House Of Travel and since his departure some years ago have contracted his services on a new business we are setting up. Zac offers a unique combination of strong financial and strategic acumen with a gifted entreprenerial ability. To find this combination in one person is very rare. He is also a very genuine and sincere individual who I can recommend without hesitation.”
Paul Kayser, Founder and Managing Director of Clever Bastards
“In a word, Zac’s onto it! From the outset I’ve found Zac to be acutely focussed with the task in hand, very quick to grasp the essentials and efficient in recording the work and the emerging tasks. He’s always ready with the next steps for each session and we hit the ground running every time. Zac is always open to ideas, is flexible and a good listener. I think he gets a very good sense of what I’m trying to achieve with my business and, while being firm about the important things, like the bottom line, he’s well in tune with our business values. Zac also knows practically everyone… he always has a list of useful contacts and organisations and is quick to make recommendations for me to work on, or those he might follow up on himself. I’ve found working with Zac easy and enjoyable. He’s always responsive to emails I fling at him at odd times. And I get the feeling that he’s genuinely passionate about my business. So I have to say that Zac gives us good value and I can wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone seeking good, no-nonsense business advice…. And he’s a clever bastard too!”
Brenden Rolston, Managing Director and Owner, Action Mail
“Your presentation on how to create a best workplace was very well received by the Challenger Group @ The Breakthrough Company, there was lots of positive feedback and you were right on the money!”
Kerrie Walker, General Manager – Marketing, Silver Chef Limited
“Zac, thanks for your guidance in the delivery of our recent customer experience research project. Your dedication to quality and enthusiasm for the project has helped provide insights that will play a crucial role in the transformation of our service model.”
Bernadette Rowlands, High St Boutique, Owner
Last evening I went to your seminar in Tauranga, I would like to thank you for the best one and half hours that I have had for a very long time. I found you extremely motivational, this morning I have arrived at work just itching to start putting plans in place.
Today I believe I have made the shopping experience fabulous for a number of customers, a simple gift of a pair of socks to a customer made her smile so much, I think this is so much better than a discount.
Thank you once again Zac!!
John Robertson – founder and Managing Director (retired), JRA NZ Ltd
“I engaged Zac during 2010 when JRA was undergoing a period of significant change. Zac assisted on a number of fronts – helping us develop more relevant business and personal KPIs, challenging our strategic thinking, and assisting in the personal development of a number of key staff. Zac’s background as a CFO and business leader himself meant he was able to call on practice experience to shape his advice, something I always valued. On a personal level Zac was great to work with – he was an excellent ‘sounding board’, and I found his support and advice of great assistance. I would thoroughly recommend him to other organisations.”
Greg Southcombe, Managing Director and Owner, TravelQuote and Travel Cafe
“I have been working with Zac in the set up of my software company TravelQuote. Zac is very well connected and this has helped create a network of potentially interested customers. Zac has advised on the commercial set up of the business, the sales approach and pricing and we are now post start up phase selling the software and are experiencing great success, with Zac’s input to date and ongoing, being key. Zac is also selling a stake in another business that I own and has been advising around this process. If you need a business person to offer you advice and work with you in a myriad of ways, then I would recommend Zac as the guy to talk to!”
Marty Winter, Managing Director and Owner, Identity Fashions
“Zac has worked with me since January 2011. He pushes me to strategise and plan around the business vs. just working in it. I am now better equipped to understand what the numbers mean, and what I should be doing to improve these. Zac has pushed email marketing and web development as a marketing tool going forward and recommends best practices for my business, as well as other key experts in different fields that may be able to add value. I meet with Zac on a weekly basis and enjoy our sessions!”
Nick Paulsen, Managing Director, Clash
“I have been working with Zac de Silva and Business Changing for the last couple of years. His skills and business skill has always impressed me so much and we would be lost without his expertise. I couldn’t recommend him enough for your business, however big or small! Carlee is awesome too in what she brings to our business…”
Odessa Holmes, CEO, Equi Balance Ltd
“Your advice has been pure gold and life changing. You cannot even buy this sort of advice. Thank you again for your time and expertise. A thousand thanks Zac! I look forward to developing the business with you further to hit our big aims…”
Dick Fernyhough, Chairman, Gifted Kids Programme
“Zac, you have made a huge contribution to GKP during the 9 years you served on the Board and your wise counsel was often sought and was always appreciated. We had lots of challenges to address and work through and these required time and considered thought, both of which you freely gave. It remains for me, on behalf of the board, management and staff, to thank you for your sterling efforts on behalf of GKP over, what turned out to be a 9 year period. We know you will continue to take an interest in GKP and the Board looks forward to an ongoing relationship with you.”
Janet McFarlane, Owner, Great Classics Ltd
“Thank you for your report and advice. It was really good to chat with you. Lots of great ideas to think about, some of which I am putting into action immediately.”
Sandy Cooper, Owner, Minnie Cooper
“I enjoyed our meeting and going over your report, definitely very helpful, having a critique all nicely bundled in to a couple of pages makes action a whole lot easier, it always makes me feel better when I’m doing the working on rather than in the business tasks. Onwards and upwards, thanks again for an enjoyable and productive meeting / report, I look forward to what we do together in the future!”
Edison Zamji, Owner, Nuffield St Cafe
“Thanks a lot for your report and your time, it was very useful and has given us plenty to think about. Even a change in coffee brand!”
Jo Bradshaw, Head of Business Development, Custom Residential
“Thanks again for this morning – thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on customer experience and how to have a better workplace. I got a lot out of it that I hope to breathe into the Custom culture!”
Mike Crawford, Managing Director, Laser Electrical Data / Point 2 Point
“I really appreciate all works to date by Business Changing. We especially really value the work that Carlee has done and her representation of our business has been brilliant. In fact you can’t put a price on that sort of representation!”
Yoke Cheng, E-Learning Developer, NZICA
“You were wonderful. I really liked your webinar, so relevant for everyone. The part about telling others what to do, not how to do it, resonates well with me. It’s applicable in a family setting as well as in the workplace. Many thanks for your webinar.”
Bob Donovan, CEO and Owner, Generation Insurance
“Zac, I really enjoyed your presentation on Customer Service. It provided me with some great ideas and I will endeavour to place some of them in our business. Looking forward to the impact!”
Tim Meikle, Managing Director and Owner of Colestown Chocolates
“The systems manual you did for us is totally (totally) awesome, thank you!!! It will make such a difference to how we operate our business”
Tim Bern, Artist Manager, Grammarphonic
“Wow, you presented such an inspiring seminar, and definitely resonated with my general approach to business. Thank you so much, I’m excited to bring into my business.”
Yvonne Godfrey, Managing Director, Miomo
“Just wanted to thank you for an awesome presentation last week. To say you are laden with fantastic content and delivery skills is an understatement!!!”
Andrew Hamilton, CEO, The Icehouse
“Zac is a cool dude. He is both a strategist and a financial sage. He is energetic, curious and can also listen! A great love of people and seeing businesses grow, love working with Zac.”
Chris Patterson, Barrister and QC
“Having known Zac for nearly a decade and a half I have no hesitations recommending him as a straight-to-the-point business adviser. Zac has a wealth of experience and a great ability to cut through the noise and provide clear business advice.”
Inger Kite, Owner, Bravista
“I met Zac late in 2011 through a business associate who recommended Zac as someone who would be a good mentor for me as I built my fledgling business from the ground up. Zac is very personable and has a very solid knowledge of business. He questions, listens, considers and then provides insight into alternatives for you to consider. He is not at all pushy and is someone you feel totally comfortable discussing any and all aspects of your business with and I look forward to continuing my association with Zac in the future.”
Chris Price, Owner, Ark Advance
“I thoroughly recommend Zac. He has a unique blend of financial and marketing expertise that’s super valuable when you want to push your business to the next level.”
Arjen Visser, CEO and CTO, Dbvisit
“Thank you for your presentation. I got a lot out of it and it was perfect timing as I am going step up when it comes to leadership.”
Robert Holmes, Sales Executive, The ICEHOUSE
“Zac has been working with us to support our clients goals and ambitions for growth for well over a year now. Without a shadow of a doubt Zac absolutely delivers on every level. His personable nature and empathetic skills allow him to gain rapid understanding of complex business processes across a wide industry base, prioritising challenges and issues to present clearly defined outcomes. He quickly develops long term relationships as a result, based on his ability to constantly add value and produce solutions that always exceed expectations.”
Richard Higham, Managing Director, Hi-Q Electronics Ltd
“I first came across Zac at a 2011 Chamber function that he was speaking at. Zac covered topics including employee engagement and customer service. His delivery was enthusiastic, motivating and inspired me to contact him and engage him to work with us to improve some particular aspects of our business. Working with Zac is a pleasure, he is creative, business-like, and his time is a great investment.”
Janet MacDonald, Managing Director and Owner of Atlas Communications
“Zac is worth his weight in gold (and remember gold is at an all-time high at the moment). He is adaptable in his business coaching eschewing ‘packages’ and his bespoke approaches cut through to what is important for YOUR business. I am a small niche service business but Zac’s perspective and vision was honed and applied in helping me define my USP and better determine my place in the market. His attention to detail on the things that matter to my business was insightful and integral to me being to obtain a significant amount of new business. He identified the stumbling blocks to my growth and then worked with me in a planned and strategic way to overcome these – introducing me to some fantastic businesses who can help me move to the next stage. Business owners need to invest in their businesses and having Zac as a coach is a key part of my ongoing growth strategy. He is always available and happy to give immediate feedback and advice as issues arise.”
Andrew Fearnside, Owner of Wild Wheat and as quoted in NZ Herald on August 15, 2011
“I meet regularly with Zac and I’ve been getting some really great results and he is good at getting me to quantify my gut feelings.”
Bridget Davey, Rugby “Match Ready” Project Manager, ATEED (Auckland City Council)
“Zac rocks. He’s full of ideas, energy and earnest passion for business. We employed his expertise and advice for businesses on the Match Ready online guide for business – helping businesses get ready to make the most of the world’s 3rd largest sporting event coming to town in 2011. He’s great to work with, you won’t be disappointed.”
Mike Quartly & David Palmer, Directors, Exclusive Suit Hire
“Zac’s approach to helping us work through a strategic process for our business, was just what we needed! He helped to define a clear and precise roadmap for our business, offering us plenty of ideas from a position we had not ever thought of and was also proactive in putting us in touch with companies that have proved to be beneficial to our future growth and goals”
David Ward, Director, NZ Voices of the Future – APEC
Each year we invite to our APEC forum for young leaders, successful senior business and government leaders (including Prime Ministers) for them to share their ideas and experiences. In 2009, Zac was asked to present… Zac’s presentation was inspiring and the students were rewarded with many of Zac’s philosophies. He related well with the students and gave them an excellent insight into doing business, both nationally and in the APEC region. He was knowledgeable, charismatic and enjoyed educating our young and ‘up and coming’ future business people. The students enjoyed their time with Zac.
Duncan Shand, Managing Director, Young and Shand
“Zac took the tired brand that was Barkers and did great things! I wish Zac all the best in his next endeavours. Hope we can partner on some projects in the future…”
Ian Lines, Managing Director, Taiko Japanese Restaurant, www.taikokingsland.com
“Zac de Silva, of Business Changing, truly changes businesses. I could tell by the nodding heads around me at the Small Business Owners Forum, and I could tell by the nodding heads in the staff meeting that I called immediately upon returning to my restaurant, to implement some of the simple strategies. We have always prided ourselves on customer service, and we are often praised on it, but Zac still alerted me to more effective ways to ensure that we WOW! our customers, and turn them into raving fans. ZAC DE SILVA CHANGED OUR BUSINESS!”
Graham McMullan, CEO, Giltrap City Toyota
“A GREAT introduction into employee and customer engagement, no frills, with some good examples you can implement to get you underway.”
Feedback from attendees of the Pfizer Animal middle and senior management group presentation
“After three minutes of him starting, I was hooked in, I thought it was fantastic”, “Full of great tips, relevant stats etc”, “I can see how his staff followed him as their leader”, “He was very passionate”.
Bruce Hutchings, Owner and Managing Director, Kudos Solutions
We asked Zac to review our current website and marketing strategies. Zac came up with recommendations on how to make it make our website more sales focussed and world-class looking and offered us many great ideas on look, content and functionality together with ideas on our sales collateral. We are planning to use Zac again in the new year to do further work for us around maximising sales opportunities available to Kudos. I would recommend Zac on similar projects with no hesitation.
Jackie O’Fee, Owner, Signature Style
Oh Zac, You have no idea how grateful I am for your help today!!!
Samantha Ferry, Area Manager, Kilt Clothing
Fabulous webinar thank you. Really appreciated it! And THANKS FOR GOING THE EXTRA MILE WITH YOUR SERVICE, so much more than just a webinar!
Dr Nitin Seth, Head of MBA Programme, AIS University
Many thanks for sharing your valuable experience and time to be amongst our MBA students. The feedback of your presentation was excellent!
Leighton Abbot, Managing Consultant of JRA Best Workplaces competitions, JRA
Zac set some ambitious goals for Barkers: sales and brand growth, to dress the All Blacks (and other prominent sports teams like the All Whites, Kiwi League team, NZ Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams), and to be recognised as one of New Zealand’s Best Workplaces. To that end, Zac put into motion a series of workplace changes to motivate and energise staff, improve performance and reinforce pride in the Barkers brand. In 2008 Barkers first participated in the JRA Best Workplaces Survey, and against strong competition immediately ranked as the third best medium-large workplace. In 2009, Barkers followed up this achievement by winning the medium-large workplace category on the back of strong improvements in employee engagement levels – strong enough in fact for Barkers to be the most improved organisation in the medium-large workplace category. With an innate ability to connect with a range of people on a personal level, Zac’s leadership through this transformation has been key to its growing success.
Kylie Eagle, People and Culture Manager, Les Mills International
We were really inspired by your presentation at the JRA Best Workplaces seminar, especially relating to the way you approached motivating your team to achieve the business goals, & had hoped you’d be able to share some of your nuggets with our managers.
Cheryl Stacey, Owner, Stacey Limited
Recently I employed Zac to come and visit my business to get ideas on how to improve things. When I met him at the airport I was a bit nervous but soon felt at ease as he was just lovely. After spending a whole day with him, he gave me so many ideas and advice. He then followed it up promptly with an email to summarise everything. I feel it was really worthwhile. In particular one piece of advice has straight away saved us $5,000! I WOULD RECOMMEND ALL BUSINESSES TO USE HIM! It was the most productive and value adding day I have ever had!
Debbie Glen, Agency Manager, Frontline Health
Thanks for all your good advice in the set up of our business. It was great to see you and clearly your passion and enthusiasm show me that you are truly doing what you love. I look forward to our next catch up and all the ideas that will flow
Nathan Seaward, Co-Founder, WASSUP Primo Fish and Chip
Zac’s advice has been crucial to us as a start-up company with big goals and tight budgets! A new business can be such a mine field so having someone with the Zac’s vast experience to call on and ask some of the tough questions has been essential. His retail experience has been key to ensuring we make good decisions regarding marketing, growth and strategy.
Rebecca Seymour-East, Events Manager, Auckland Chamber of Commerce
We invited Zac de Silva to present at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce’s Rugby World Cup 2011 Speaker Series on customer service. He was a natural choice given his knowledge of the topic and ability to transform and motivate businesses and their staff at all levels. His passion for business came across in his unassuming manner and humourous delivery which engaged, entertained and inspired our audience. It was a pleasure to have him at the event and we would be delighted to work with Zac again should the opportunity arise.
Chris Paulsen, Managing Director and Owner, House of Travel Holdings Limited
Zac worked for me for 2.5 years in the executive team. He added great value to House of Travel with new commercial ideas and really aided our knowledge in the transparency of our business. He did a fantastic job running a large subsidiary as a project also and helped bring the team, customers and business model together onto the same page. Zac now assists on some of my business interests with Business Changing – it is invaluable to have Zac (and also Carlee) available to take us forward! I would recommend Zac as someone who can help improve your business and profitability.
Fiona Newton, Director, Match Realty
Match is involved in some of the property acquisitions for Barkers, including during the time Zac was Barkers’ Managing Director. It was encouraging to see the new lease of life Zac injected into a strong iconic NZ brand. Barkers’ team was strengthened and grew the business during Zac’s time at the helm. This was recognised by way of the awards Barkers’ received from Westfield for overall excellence at 3 of their Centres during this period. Zac has a passion for business and we wish him every success in the establishment of Business Changing.
Brad Gatehouse, Principal, Numero (New Zealand) Ltd
Originally introduced through a mutual friend, my working relationship with Zac began in 2001 when he was CFO at Flight Centre and I recruited a 2ic for him. His confidence, passion and energy left a lasting impression on me and it was evident he would go places. I have continued to recruit for Zac over the years and have also been involved with him more recently through CPA Australia. Last year at our AGM Zac delivered an inspirational presentation as our guest speaker. Commercially astute, he is truly a “people person” who somehow manages to fit 25 hours into the day.
Deirdre Little, Human Resources Manager, CST Nexia
Zac presented at our company conference in February 2011 and did a fantastic job. Topic was how to create a best workplace and how to be a more effective leader… He was engaging and insightful and provided a great deal of ‘food for thought’. He facilitated break out groups and resultant presentations back to the entire company. As a result our company has implemented a number of changes which we hope will make a meaningful difference to our business. We look forward to working with Zac again in the future.
James Gilbert, Creative Director, Solutionists
Zac is great to work with. He has SO MANY NEW IDEAS, a clear strategy, & is full of energy.
Paul Forward, Managing Director, Calder and Lawson House of Travel, Hamilton
I am the managing director of one of the largest travel companies in New Zealand. It has been my privilege to have worked with Zac over several years within two separate companies and found him to be a fantastic mentor. He contributed significantly to building my own commercial knowledge over that time & has a unique ability to blend both commercial expertise with commonsense business logic. I continue to value his input on a wide range of topics & would have no hesitation in recommending him to other business leaders.
John Robertson, Managing Director and Owner of JRA
Zac spoke at our JRA Best Workplaces Seminar Series in March 2010 & was very well received. Equipped with real leadership insights, Zac is VERY INSPIRING, honest and genuine. He takes a practical approach & is full of great ideas about communicating with staff & rewarding them for their efforts, as well as making work exciting.
Tim Poonon, Group Financial Controller, Les Mills International
“I have had training with Zac to develop my leadership and management skills. Zac is a highly motivational person and he has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and insight that will allow me to become a better leader and manager. I highly recommend Zac to anyone else who is interested in business training to grow yourself.”