Find out more about Zac de Silva, his Business Changing team and his other business ventures, which are all focused on helping business people improve their performance.
ZAC DE SILVA
Zac loves business. In 2011 he started Business Changing and today he is a business adviser who has helped more than 1000 clients with his unique style and down-to-earth practical advice. If business advisers intimidate you with their buttoned-down and suited-up image, Zac may be more your style – he’s more of a café-and-sneakers kind of guy who shares his knowledge in layman’s terms, without confusing jargon. We call it business without the bafflement.
After being widowed as a young father, Zac decided that whatever he did in business from then on needed to count. Before he ventured out on his own to help others achieve success, Zac worked for several very successful and well-known businesses, learning business from the ground up.
- At 28 he was CFO of Flight Centre.
- At 30 he started FCM Corporate Traveller and grew it from $0 to over $100M over 5 years across 7 locations with 48 staff.
- He bought and ran iconic but struggling menswear company Barkers and quickly turned it around. He grew it from 18 stores to 29 stores over 5 years and renewed the reputation with brand recognition growth and a change in fashion direction.
- Barkers won Clothing Chain of the Year three years in a row, the 2009 JRA Best Workplace in NZ and the 2009 MYOB Best Customer Experience Award in NZ. Zac also facilitated the sponsorship of the All Blacks in 2008 that carries on today.
- In 2015 he co-founded the Nurture Group, aimed at giving business owners the space and inspiration to work on their business. There are now three retreats each year: Nurture Change, Nurture Her and Nurture 360. To date, over 2000 people have attended a Nurture retreat and the average customer satisfaction score is 9.81 out of 10.
A chartered accountant by trade, Zac has been told that he is lucky to have a great grasp of the softer side of business, too – innovation, strategy, customer experience, people and culture.
Today, Zac works with clients of all sizes (from owner-operators to 1500+ staff), in all industries to grow their profit and reach the next level of success.
- Long-term clients had an average profit growth of 102% last year (ie. more than doubled their profitability in today’s market).
- Business Changing has had the most companies in the Fast 50 of any advisory business in NZ – at last count, 38 clients made the list of the fastest-growing businesses in NZ.
- Zac has helped clients exit their business for a combined exit price of over $175 million.
- Business Changing is rated in the top 2.5% in the world for customer experience.
- We have over 120 5-star reviews from happy business owners and senior managers.
- Over 275 companies attend Business Changing business planning & strategy workshops each year.
Zac contributes articles and commentary regularly to NZ media and is a member of the Institute of Directors and a judge for the Westpac Business Awards. He also sits on the board of directors or advisory boards for several businesses.
Zac is married with five children and is getting better all the time at work life balance – ie. walking the talk!
Sip de Silva
Sip’s passion lies in bringing people together and working with people from across different industries to make a difference. She’s an innovation nut and dedicated to finding smarter and better solutions to make businesses thrive. As well as Business Changing, Sip runs the Nurture group – corporate wellness and performance retreats that get alongside everyday entrepreneurs and help turn their business into gold. Since her early 20s, Sip’s owned several award-winning companies – The Chiller, Bolaven Restaurant and successful property development ventures. With a background in design, paired with her flair as an innovator, she’s able to confidently balance the big picture while never losing sight of the finer details.
Phieng (pronounced pea-young) Phongsa has worked across a multitude of industries, using each role to hone her skills in customer experience and fine tune her logistics and processes expertise. Lucky for us, these are now put into practise daily in Phieng’s role as our Business Changing all-rounder. Phieng organises Zac’s diary, runs our office, ensures our workshops run smoothly, assists our clients, and – most importantly – ensures we have the most delicious cakes in town for our planning workshops.
Debbie Harrison is an experienced journalist with more than a decade in the media industry under her belt! In her career, she’s written for everyone from the NZ Herald to NZ House & Garden to Sunday magazine (which she also edited for two years). She’s always loved business, completing a post-grad Certificate in Business at the University of Auckland in 2008, so she’s happy that her writing and editing skills have proven valuable to the corporate world. Debbie uses her enthusiastic attitude and skill set to help Business Changing clients with PR and social media strategy, newsletters, website copy, blogs, content marketing, copywriting and marketing collateral.
Niki Franklin is an IT whizz, having worked at House of Travel’s IT helpdesk (where she consistently got rave reviews on fantastic customer experience) and then for Orbit Travel, supporting a specialised invoicing and reporting program. All of which proves helpful in her current role as Zac’s virtual right-hand support (Niki’s based in Christchurch). In a usual week you’ll find Niki creating custom online surveys for Business Changing clients, reporting back on those surveys, dealing with various clients email databases, collating various group facilitation sessions for Zac and working behind the scenes on Business Changing’s new accountability and virtual coaching software package, AccountabilityMe.
Business Changing clients rate Carlee highly for the impact she has on their business and their understanding of where they make their money (or not), cash-flow, gross profit and cost control. Carlee is the “financial controller” of several of our clients and also does project or training work and can assist with ensuring you have the right financial controls in place in your business too. Carlee is a qualified chartered accountant, who has worked at PWC, Deloittes, Dresdner Bank, Grenada TV, NZ Herald and House of Travel.
Sutts has worked with Zac for over 15 years as both a fellow director at House of Travel (Sutts was Group Marketing Director) and as a marketing services provider. He offers a great balance between strategy and execution and delivers solutions in easy to understand layman’s terms. Sutts is experienced in brand and channel strategy, creative solutions, marketing planning and its execution across both services and product and has worked on some great brands including House of Travel, Avanti and Tourism Australia.
Nurture Change is a separate business Zac runs with wife Sip. It’s designed to help businesspeople carve time out of their busy schedule once a year to work on their business and on themselves. The Nurture Change Business Retreat is an annual conference held in Fiji or Hawaii at a luxury resort, where business people spend 5 days listening to amazing speakers, get to think in-depth on their business, connect with like-minded people and get in some much-needed R&R. For four years the Nurture Change Business Retreats have been sold-out successes with over 200 attending each one, and attendees giving a customer experience score of 9.75 out of 10 over the past 3 years. Zac is also the co-founder of sister company, Nurture Her.
Zac has created a virtual coaching and accountability app called AccountabilityMe, which is a helpful tool for business owners and managers. Each week AccountabilityMe followers are sent a set of powerful questions that make them think differently about what they need to do each week in order to be more successful – and then holds them accountable to doing just that. AccountabilityMe will help you to set your goals and then each 30 days you will establish tactics you need to take to move closer to achieving your goal. It even lets you include your friends if you want added accountability to improve and be more successful.