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Thriving in Business: Cat Peters Unveils Recruitment Success | Cat Peters – Episode 151

Top tips from Cat Peters.

1. Really focused on what you do, and all different functions within the business

I think, the biggest thing for us, and I think why we’ve done so well as focus. So I think a lot of businesses, they want to do everything and be everything to everyone. Whereas we’ve been really, really tight and what we’re focused on. So when I talk about focus, it’s focusing on two or three sectors that we want to go after. Yeah, it’s making sure that from our marketing point of view, we’re only investing money in a couple of channels that we know work. Yeah. So it’s making choices and saying no, and that could even be saying no to clients that want to screw down on rates. So I think you need to be really, really focused on what you do, and all different functions within the business. And then that will allow you to do things really well.

2. Making sure you’ve got the right support systems in place.

I think it’s around, you know, we’ve already kind of spoken about it, from a support point of view, have the right support around you early on, because that will put you in a really good position. So we had our business coach from the first couple of months. But equally, we’ve got an HR consultant that we lean on, we’ve got a legal team externally that we lean on immigration, accounting, so you don’t have to have all the functions within your business, you just need to have them around you. So making sure you’ve got the right support systems in place, I think is really, really important.

3. Making sure that you make time and make space for yourself.

I think it’s making sure that you make time and make space for yourself. Yeah, so we haven’t really been that good at it until this year. But you know, one of the things that we’ve been really mindful of this year is making sure that once a quarter, we’ve got something to look forward to whether it’s a week away, or having a holiday for a week or a long weekend or something planned that we can take some time off and have some space. So I think it’s really, really important that you give yourself you know, breathing space from the business.



business, johnny, work, team, hard, talk, auckland, year, clients, recruitment agency, roles, systems, process, guess, bit, grown, marketing, deloitte, challenges, staff


Debra Chantry-Taylor  00:00

Welcome to the Better Business better life Show. I’m your podcast host, Debra Chantry-Taylor. In this podcast, I interview business owners, iOS implementers, and business experts who share with you their experiences, tips and tools to help you create not only a better business, but also a better life. At the end of each show, you will have three tips or tools that our guest share that you can implement immediately into your life. If you want more information or want to get in contact, you can visit my website, Debra dot coach, that’s D B R A dot Coach, please enjoy the show. And today I’m joined in studio by cat Peters, who is the we’ll call co owner, co founder of hire staff which he actually started with her husband Johnny. Welcome to Studio cat.

Cat Peters  00:45

Thanks so much for having me.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  00:47

No absolute pleasure looking forward to hearing your story. So tell us a little bit about hire staff. So it’s been going for around five years now. Is that right? Yeah.

Cat Peters  00:55

So the business started in 2019. And essentially, high staff is a recruitment agency. And we focus on temp and temp to perm base roles. So we cover a whole bunch of different industries, but mainly trades are construction, manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, we’ve just opened our white collar division as well. So we now can do all of the kind of hands on manual work, but also the business support side. So finance roles, admin on all of that kind of stuff. So we’re a fully rounded agency now. Excellent.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  01:26

And so why why did you decide to start your own business? Because we don’t have we get to quick chat before we came in here. And you were working in marketing and sort of, you know, very big companies. And Johnny was working in some quite large recruitment agencies as well. That would have been a nice cushy kind of job where everything’s kind of done for you. Why did you decide to go out on your own?

Cat Peters  01:43

Yeah, well, I guess, Johnny and I had always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit as such. So we’ve done a few house Reno’s we’ve bought done it up, flip them on, we’ve always had an idea that we wanted to do something on our own. And we got married and Jan 2019. We got back from a holiday. And Johnny just said to me cat, like, I don’t want to go back to a big corporate, the culture isn’t great. They don’t do things the way that I think they should be done. Like, I reckon we could do it better. So essentially, I reckon in the course of a couple of days, we came up with a brand name, we designed a logo, we built a website, and then it was all on from there. And essentially, yeah, Johnny kind of ran it on his own for the first year with me doing all the ops and payroll and all the backend stuff. And then we’ve grown it to a team of 99 and four and a half years.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  02:29

Wow, that’s great. And five years, that’s before COVID. Right? Yeah, you would have started it just Well, a couple years before COVID actually hit? Yeah, yeah.

Cat Peters  02:38

So, April 2019, we started and then literally one year later, COVID hit and all of our temps were off site, because at that point in time, we were just doing trades, right. So we had electricians and carpenters, and they were with a lot of the kind of big companies and overnight we had nothing. So it went from being this great kind of growing business overnight to everything being shut down, which was really, really hard. So we had hired our first staff member, I think, in the January of 2020. And then by March, we had to let them go, because no one knew what was going on. We had no bloody idea how to kind of manage it, yes. But then we kind of reset and through COVID, we actually hired a lot of stuff. So we did actually get the confidence. We had our rates, and we actually grow, which was really, really cool. Fantastic.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  03:24

And so going from working for somebody to working on your own. What’s the been the biggest kind of challenges for you in terms of doing that?

Cat Peters  03:33

Yeah, well, a lot is actually funny. You know, like, when you wake up in the morning, you’re like, oh, shit, I feel kind of sick today. You can’t have a sick day. There’s no such thing when you own your own business. So I think you actually have less flexibility when you work for yourself. Because you know, it doesn’t stop you things have to keep going, you’ve got to do the books, or you’ve got to make those sales calls. You’ve got to, you know, do your whips with your team members, or whatever it is. So I think the biggest challenge is that you just can’t switch off. Yep. And I think that’s been a big lesson for us, because we thought, oh, you know, like golf twice a week, you know, live the life rally, but you actually can’t. Well, I

Debra Chantry-Taylor  04:13

Think you can over time, and I think you’ll be fine as it gets, you know, as training wheels come off and things are starting to pick up, you will find it a lot easier. But yeah, in the beginning, you’re wearing multiple hats, right?

Cat Peters  04:20

Yeah, 2%. And I think that’s the thing. You know, Johnny had the experience from a recruitment side, he knew the business model, he knew the rights. I was lucky in that I had a bit of business acumen from my marketing, background, and kind of together was really, really good. But early on, you have to learn so many different things like tax your legal side of things, like there’s so much stuff that you just don’t know, because when you’re a little cog in a big wheel, you only focus on marketing and brand as opposed to doing every single function within a business. Yeah,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  04:52

No, it’s really true. I actually come from a corporate background as well originally. And yes, you’re right. I mean, you have a very narrow kind of focus because there’s somebody in the team that can do all the other things and all of a sudden you get your own business like I did. And all of a sudden, you’ve got to wear all those different hats and be very broad in terms of the way you actually do the business. Working with your husband, he’s not here, so I can ask you this, but how has that been for you? Yeah,

Cat Peters  05:15

It’s it’s been? Yeah, it’s been challenging. Yeah, I think it is really cool as well, though, because we get to spend a lot of time to time with each other. But I think we are definitely very mindful that, you know, when we’re at work, we’re there to work. So we do have the ability to separate stuff. Yeah. And the office, whereas at home, that separation definitely gets blurred, I think, you know, is it is a challenge, because you want to have that separation. But when you get back from work, there’s always stuff you want to talk about. And, yeah, you want to keep talking about it, because you want to grow and you want the business to get better. Yes. And so you don’t really have an off balance. But it’s been great, like Johnny and I are really lucky and that we balanced each other’s skill sets, which is really cool. Yeah. So we’re quite fortunate in the fact that we do work really well

Debra Chantry-Taylor  06:03

Together. Now that’s got and you’ve got a young family, of course, as well. Yeah. One already and one on the way. Yeah, so

Cat Peters  06:09

All these coming up, too. So he’s, he’s coming into the terrible turns. But yeah, we just make it work. You know, I have slightly shorter hours. So I can do the drop offs and pickups and Johnny works the longer hours. But you know, I also do work in the evenings sometimes as well. So I don’t know, we make it work. It is hard. But I don’t know what we’re going to do in the second one comes along. It’ll

Debra Chantry-Taylor  06:30

Be interesting, but I’m sure we absolutely find your work to it. So you just said we just talked before again, you just won an award. So congratulations. Yeah, that’s a little about that.

Cat Peters  06:39

Yeah. So basically, since we started the business, we’ve been entering the Auckland Business Awards. So they’re run by the Auckland business chamber. And we’ve been finalists three times for best emerging business. And finally, this year, we took a prize, which is awesome. finally won, which was really, really cool. So I think it’s just testament to our determination and the growth that we’ve seen. And, you know, our team has been working extremely hard over the last 18 months to kind of get us into this position. Yep. And so we’ve both grown financially, but all systems are great. Like we’re it’s a fully rounded business now. And I think that’s probably why we’ve

Debra Chantry-Taylor  07:13

Won at this year. Sure. And so how many stuff you say you’ve got now you’ve got, so we’ve got 19,

Cat Peters  07:17

Full time staff. Yeah. And we’ve got about 400 people out on site working for us. So that’s across our, like, a variety of different clients. Yep,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  07:25

Sure. Okay. And so systems and processes, I want to explore that a bit further, because one of my things I’m very passionate about is that if you really want to create a business where you can get away from the day to day, you’ve got to have replicable systems, you’ve got to have processes, you’ve got to be able to actually let go and let the team get on with it. How did you even start with that? Because often in a large organization, it’s already there for you, I’m gonna think too much about it.

Cat Peters  07:48

Yeah, so it’s actually funny, you know, people talk about COVID as nasty thing that happened, but there was actually a lot of good that came out of it for us. So, you know, when we first started, everything was done on paper, for example. So terms of business with clients, application forms, with candidates, everything was manually done, scanned, and then saved into the system on an A folder such whereas when COVID had we couldn’t meet our candidates, we couldn’t meet our clients. So we had to digitalize some of our key processes, we kind of forced our hand as such. So in a way, you know, we had to adapt, and we had to move pretty bloody quickly. Because an absence of meeting candidates face to face, we had to get them to fill in forms online, and we had to interview online and all that kind of stuff. So we have, I guess, changed our processes internally, which has allowed us to scale probably a lot quicker than we would have otherwise. Yeah. And I guess from, you know, like a payroll and finance side of things as well. We’ve also kind of step change that. So again, it used to be manual timesheets each week, so it would fill in their hours, they’d get the client to sign it off, they’d send it in our payroll team would manually enter into the system, whereas now it’s all digital.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  08:59

And so is that then sort of your own software? Or have you used off the shelf software? Or have you actually done that?

Cat Peters  09:06

Yeah, there’s a lot of off the shelf software, we did a lot of research, the project took us probably 18 months to implement, because there’s a lot of good options out there. But we wanted everything to kind of talk to each other. So we were now in a position where our CRM talks to our payroll system. Everything is kind of cohesive, our payroll system talks to our invoice system. So everything’s linked. So it allows us to have only two non billing people. And when I say non billing means people that aren’t generating money. Yep. So two out of 19 staff are essentially just dedicated to ops and payroll and stuff. Whereas a lot of other businesses and you can see it, you know, online, they’ve got 5678 people doing the same job. We’ve got two people doing so. It’s very efficient for us now that we’ve got those systems in place.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  09:55

And so did you get some help with that? I’m just interested in terms of those. I mean, how did you go about out it. So you knew it had to change. In fact, you as you said, You’ve forced your hand was forced as a COVID. What was the first kind of step towards that? What did you have to do to kind of go this needs to change? Now what? Yeah, well,

Cat Peters  10:11

I guess I was lucky in that in my marketing career, I’ve kind of come across a number of different platforms and toes that have already been used by other businesses. So I’ll be honest, like, everything kind of fell on me to get a shorter, you know, Johnny’s awesome with sales and all that kind of stuff. But his skill set definitely isn’t in the back end ops, whereas that’s definitely mine. Yeah, so I think it was just you had to learn really quickly do a lot of research really quickly, we have a business coach as well, that we’ve been seeing since probably two or three months in. So when we started, and he was a really, really good help for kind of suggesting things. But, you know, we use the CRM that one of our competitors use, and then from that, there was a lot of partners that we could kind of tap into. So it was actually pretty easy to be fair. I don’t know, maybe we just make it look easy, but

Debra Chantry-Taylor  11:00

We underestimate what you already know, I think people don’t necessary have that a little bit like the business coach, because obviously I’m a business coach myself, and I’m, I’m very much an advocate, I actually believe you should always have a coach an operating system in the business, and then a peer group you can actually talk to as well. So what but not everybody understands or appreciates the benefit of that. So what’s been the benefit? Why did you get one to start off with what’s been the benefit of that for you?

Cat Peters  11:21

Yeah, so I guess we knew that we didn’t know everything. And we knew all of business coaches. I don’t know how but we did. And Johnny just did a Google search literally, and this person that we use toss and he ranks number one, yeah. And we, we met with him, and we developed a really good rapport straightaway. He was young, he built and sold businesses, he was punching above his weight for his age. He was just a really cool guy. He knew a lot. He was very knowledgeable. And I think, you know, business can be really lonely. And you know, people don’t really get it. If you haven’t been in business. They’re like, Oh, yeah, that must be fun. It must be easy. And you’re like, No. So he was a really good advocate for what we were doing. And he has kind of nudged us along, in the in the right direction. Yeah. But equally, we often go there will talk to him. We’re like, Yeah, crack on, do it. So sometimes it’s just reassurance of your ideas, as opposed to actually getting advice.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  12:15

Yeah. Interesting. Is any of your family, business owners or entrepreneurs? So my

Cat Peters  12:21

Old man runs? Well, he ran his own building. Yeah, it was just him, but he was still self employed. So I guess I’ve seen it and also Johnny’s stepdad run sign company in the UK. So I think we’ve probably grown up around, you know, people that have actually worked for themselves, which is quite cool. And also other people, my family, like my brother is in real estate. So he’s always kind of worked for himself. Yeah. And we always know, you know, every book that you read tells you that you’re only going to get rich if you work for yourself. So that was, I guess that’s another main driver, you know, we want financial freedom. And the way to do it is by working,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  12:57

it’s just interesting, because you mentioned being lonely. And I suppose let’s say I grew up in a very traditional family, which means that my mum and dad, they didn’t actually even understand working for yourself there, their goal was to basically have me get a good education. So I could find a good husband, so I could settle down, get married, and we could lead like a good life working for somebody else. I was the black sheep of the family pushed against all of that and want to do something different. But, you know, if you are starting a business, there is that loneliness, right? Because you can’t talk to other people, because that your friends who are working in corporate marketing still don’t understand what running a business is really like, would that be fair?

Cat Peters  13:29

Yeah, 100%. And even now, like we, we don’t have anyone in our friendship group that runs their own business, everyone’s in a nine to five job. And when you tell them, you can’t do something, because of the business, they like, they don’t really get it. And you also can’t lean on them for advice, you know, the challenges that we face are very different. Yes, you know, if it hits the fan and a corporate Oh, well, someone else will help and you’re still gonna get your your pay at the end of the week. Whereas if a client doesn’t pay an invoice for us, like we feel it in our pockets, so it is very different, and people just don’t get it.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  14:02

Which is why it’s I think it’s important to have that coach, potentially a peer group who can actually talk about these things with as well. So tell us about winning the award. So when you go and you enter a Business Award, they obviously have criteria, they have a process that they go through as well. What was it like going through that process? What are they what kind of questions they ask you, and what are they looking for in your business?

Cat Peters  14:19

Yeah, so I think it depends on what awards you’re entering. So we’ve entered a couple, we’ve entered Deloitte, where we came forth on the 5050. Yeah, yeah, we will be back this year as well. I’ve actually been asked to speak on a panel. I’ve spoken to the launch launch of it a few weeks ago. And on the actual event night, I’ll be speaking as well. So with Deloitte, its financial, its numbers. It’s hard and fast. It’s black and white. You’re either in or you’re out, which is nice. Whereas the business time bet is a little bit more subjective. And I think you’ve got to be a fully rounded business. It’s not just about growth. It’s not just about high numbers. It’s about doing in all different functions, yeah, really well, so how do you treat your staff? How do you do your marketing? What’s your strategy and planning? Like? So they ask a lot of questions around how you actually operate internally, you know, what are the challenges kind of similar to what you’re asking me today? You know, what are the challenges? How did you overcome them? All of that kind of stuff. So it’s, it’s a lot harder to win those awards than as the winner.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  15:22

Yeah, but both are equally, you know, great in terms of the Deloitte is about hard numbers. So business is a mixture of hard numbers and the soft skills as well. And I think actually, the, you know, the people part is really fascinating, right? Because people can make or break a business. How do you make sure you have the right team in high stuff?

Cat Peters  15:39

Yeah, So people were our whole business is made on people. Yeah, we get good people in and our product is people as well. Yes. So we’re very different to other agencies, and that we don’t recruit from within the industry. Every single person that we’ve recruited, we’ve hired based on attitude and energy. Yep. And that’s exactly what we want. You know, we’ve got people that have come from site. So we’ve got an x electrician, we’ve got an x roofer, and it’s labor. And they’re in our trades team. So you’ve got trades people, talking to trades, people selling trades people. And so it honestly just comes down to attitude and energy. Then on our warehousing team, we’ve got people from within different warehousing businesses that might have been in a sales role, or we’ve got a flight attendant, but we can train anyone, if you’ve got the right attitude, you’ve got the right energy, you do the work, you’re away laughing,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  16:30

We’re on the same page. I think it’s all about values, right? The end of the day, attitude values, if they if they feel like they fit in with the business, you can actually teach them anything. And it’s really interesting. So I was talking to Ian from Farah Jemison, who’s on the other end of the recruitment scale, right. And he has a very similar kind of attitude. He has people come to him and they go, Well, we want somebody who’s got these kind of, you know, they’ve got to have this experience is like, why? Because actually, if you’ve got the right attitude, the right values, they can often be better for the business, because they actually challenge things that maybe somebody who’s come from FMCG marketing, I tried to break into it many, many years ago, and I couldn’t because I had no FMCG marketing experience. It didn’t mean it wasn’t a bloody good marketer, but I just didn’t have that. And it’s funny how industry is, you know, kind of go with and we want to have people from our industry. And yet sometimes bringing somebody in from external can make a massive difference. Yeah.

Cat Peters  17:16

And I think you’re right, you know, the reason why we bring people in that haven’t been in the industry is because we we do have a certain way of doing things. And if you get people in from industry, they’ve got their own ideas, they’ve already got their ways of working, how they do stuff. And you can clash. Yes. So essentially, if you bring someone and you can mold them to the highest staff way, and that’s exactly what we do. Excellent.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  17:36

Yeah. Okay. What are the what’s been the biggest challenge? Do you think in the business overall in the last five years? Because I mean, we always get taught that, you know, business has grown this beautiful, beautiful, smooth curve. And we know, that’s not necessarily true, what he would say, is the biggest challenge you’ve had, I think

Cat Peters  17:51

it’s the growth in the team. So, you know, we’ve gone from it just being Johnny and I to a team of 19. And neither of us have had that leadership or people management experience. No, people were people were hard, you know, like the hard work. And, though very nuanced, you know, they have their own kind of ways of working and challenges. And it’s been really difficult for us to manage that. A team of that size. So we’re now in this phase where we’ve scaled really quickly, we don’t have the management structure in place. And now we’re like, okay, shit, we need to, you know, build up team leaders from our existing senior consultants. Yep, we also need to bring someone in to kind of heat it up. So now we’re in that stage of okay, all right, we need to put a bit of structure in place, we need to get some more support at a management level. Yep. So we can actually go away and grow the business as opposed to working in a day to day managing WEPs, and all that kind of stuff. So I think that’s the biggest challenge, and just generally dealing with people as difficult because everyone’s

Debra Chantry-Taylor  18:51

Different. Yeah, no, I completely agree. And actually, people do, do they need to have boundaries, they need to actually understand how they fit in how they contribute to success. What they do that doesn’t contribute to that success as well. Okay, and so what are you most proud of? Because, you know, apart from winning an award, of course, was amazing, but I’m only most proud of of the in the business. Well, I

Cat Peters  19:08

For me, personally, I think we’ve grown really great brand. And, you know, obviously background and marketing. It’s it’s really difficult to create brand from scratch and actually make a dent in the industry. Yeah, and we definitely have, you know, I would say that we’re one of the biggest players, particularly in the Auckland market now. Yeah. So I think building that brand from scratch is a real success for me. Yeah. And, you know, we were also nominated for marketing excellence in the business chamber awards as well. So even that nomination is really special. Yeah, but I think overall, getting fourth and Deloitte last year is definitely the highlight. We had over 500% growth to get there. And we are officially the fastest growing recruitment agency were the fastest growing services business across New Zealand nationally. So yeah, that’s definitely the biggest achievement that we’ve had. Again, congratulations.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  19:57

That’s really cool. Give you a high five Yeah. Okay, so one of the plans for the future, what are you because, you know, the ultimate goal, I suppose, is to have that chance to have more freedom to have time with a family. What’s what’s the goal? What does the future look like?

Cat Peters  20:10

Yeah. So everyone asks us, and we just don’t really know the answer, you know, we’re still a relatively young business. Yeah. But we know that it’s gonna take probably a couple more years of hard graph to get it into a place where it’s kind of self managed, particularly the Auckland and Wellington branch. Yet, from a growth point of view, we’re still working out where we want to go, there’s a couple of options. Do you scale the country? Or do you keep it tight, but expand within the the location that you’re already at? And so we’re not really sure where to go yet. But there’s a few options on the table. And I guess it just depends on what we want, and how we prioritize that. But yeah, you’re right, definitely want to get it self managed. So we can take a bit more time out to spend with family and do the stuff. We love doing that. But equally, we still want to be heavily involved in the business. Yeah.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:58

Fair enough. Okay, cool. So what we always ask them, I always ask my guests, you know, what are the sort of three top tips or tools that you can share with people listening in? Because it’s like, you know, what have you. Is there a great book that you’ve read? Is that something that you kind of got a wish I’d done that earlier? What would they be?

Cat Peters  21:13

I think, the biggest thing for us, and I think why we’ve done so well as focus. So I think a lot of businesses, they want to do everything and be everything to everyone. Whereas we’ve been really, really tight and what we’re focused on. So when I talk about focus, it’s focusing on two or three sectors that we want to go after. Yeah, it’s making sure that from our marketing point of view, we’re only investing money in a couple of channels that we know work. Yeah. So it’s making choices and saying no, and that could even be saying no to clients that want to screw down on rates. So I think you need to be really, really focused on what you do, and all different functions within the business. And then that will allow you to do things really well.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  21:58

And I think, you know, there’s a, there’s an old saying, or there’s an old adage that the most successful people are the people who say no, because if you keep saying yes to everything, you actually lose the capacity to have space for the really good stuff. And there are some clients, let’s face it, who just are not the right clients, and we shouldn’t work with them. Yeah,

Cat Peters  22:14

100%. And that’s the thing, you know, early on, Johnny was very, very mindful that we didn’t drop rates, even through COVID, we didn’t drop rates, because once you go down, it’s bloody hard to come back up. Yeah. And so, you know, from our point of view, you know, we don’t go after the commercial companies that have 500 staff, because they want to pay the lowest rate, it’s all about money for them. Whereas we’d rather kind of go after the medium sized businesses that are happy to pay the rates, and you know, we deliver a great service. So we might be a little bit more expensive than other agencies, but you get what you pay for as well.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  22:43

I’m not comparing apples with apples. Yeah. Okay. So focus. Yep, completely agree. Yep, number two,

Cat Peters  22:48

Number two, and I think it’s around, you know, we’ve already kind of spoken about it, from a support point of view, have the right support around you early on, because that will put you in a really good position. So we had our business coach from the first couple of months. But equally, we’ve got an HR consultant that we lean on, we’ve got a legal team externally that we lean on immigration, accounting, so you don’t have to have all the functions within your business, you just need to have them around you. So making sure you’ve got the right support systems in place, I think is really, really important.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  23:19

And we can’t know everything. And it does my head a little bit. Because this whole number eight wire mentality of the off keywords is really, really good from an innovation point of view, right? It’s great that we’re pushing the boundaries, and we’re wanting to change things, and we’re prepared to give it a go. But it also means sometimes we think we can do everything ourselves. And I’m an X marketer. So I always hate it when I kind of work with companies that kind of go Oh, yeah, well, we can build our own website, you know, we want to pay all that money to our website builder. We weren’t paid to have our brand. And we can it’s just a logo, we can help with a logo, we can use Canva. And it’s like actually start properly, get the support, as you said, Doesn’t gonna be internally but get the right people around you. It just makes such a huge difference if you can get the foundation’s right from the beginning.

Cat Peters  23:56

Yeah, 100%. And I think in hindsight, if we look back, one of the things that I wish we’d done is done all that systems and process stuff earlier. I mean, it was only a year and where we had to, we were forced to do it because of COVID. But if we’d had all of that stuff set up from day one, we probably would have been able to scale quicker. I’ll be at you know, we had to be mindful of cash flow at the same time. So

Debra Chantry-Taylor  24:17

Yeah, cash flow is always up. And before I asked for the third one, it’s works for the immigration a bit because obviously, yeah, I imagine you are quite reliant on immigrants to actually fill these roles and things in the company. It’s been a tough couple of years, isn’t it?

Cat Peters  24:31

Yeah. Immigration and yeah, it’s very, very challenged, challenging. So obviously with COVID the border shot yet we prior to that we had a lot of overseas qualified sparkies and carpenters and all that kind of stuff and, and these people want to work, they are so reliable. They do the jobs that a lot of Kiwis don’t want to do. And so when the borders shut, it was really, really challenging. Even when the borders have been opened the process with accreditation has been quite challenging. Stand is very slow, there’s a lot of red tape, you’ve got to prove a lot of different things before you can actually bring them over. So we’re accredited in New Zealand. We’re also accredited in the Philippines yet, but we’ve actually put that on hold this year because of what’s happening in the market. We’re hoping to open it up once the economy starts to pick up, and businesses have a bit more confidence because it’s pretty bloody risky bringing people in at the minutes.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  25:21

Yeah, it’s it’s really interesting. I don’t get political tool. But I remember when I was living over in Australia, and I came from the UK moved to Australia, I was living in a household of aircraft engineers, and they were all British. And they were all, you know, trained and educated in Britain on how to work on aircraft. And yet they had to go through this ridiculous process to transfer their qualifications to Australian qualifications. And yet, with all due respect, you know, the actual training and qualification process over in the UK was infinitely better than the one in Australia. But there was this whole kind of, you know, roll around, but you have to be Australian qualified, not UK qualified. Is there a similar kind of thing that goes on here?

Cat Peters  25:56

Yeah, 100%, particularly with electrical workers. So you have to transfer all your calls into New Zealand, same with anyone that’s on, like driving trucks, for example, that also needs to be converted. It is yeah, it is really challenging. And even just trying to get approval to bring someone in is really hard. So for example, we had a guy internally, he was a salesperson for us working as an account manager, and his visa expired a couple of weeks ago. And it took us probably three months to get him his visa, you had to go through the rigmarole of showing that you couldn’t find a New Zealand has a dough and all of that kind of stuff. And he’s bloody great. And we’re Luckily his visa came through last week. So we’ve been able to keep that process could be made a lot easier.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  26:39

And I think you know, I’m all for, you know, not bringing people in when there are people who want to do this work. But as you said, there are actually some jobs that that we don’t have enough Kiwis to do the work. And so we have to rely on that immigration to actually fill those roles. And if they want to do the work, then why wouldn’t we let them have it? Has it just been a bit of a back? Not backlash, but like a hangover from COVID? Or has it always been a bit of a challenge getting people into the country?

Cat Peters  27:04

I think, well for us, I can only talk from our experience differently. Yeah, we’re only obviously set up into 2019. And at that point, initially, we had a lot of overseas workers and that wanted to do the job set. Okay, we set it up. And when the borders, you know, got shot and people had to go back home, it was really hard to fill some of the low skilled roles. And so now that the borders are open, we’re definitely seeing a lot of people and a lot of backpackers coming in. Some of our clients only want backpackers because they know they’re going to work 4050 hour weeks, and they’ve realized what they turn out they do a good job because they’re here to work, make money and then kind of travel around the country. So we

Debra Chantry-Taylor  27:41

Saw it when we weren’t. It was in the middle of COVID I think was a point where we opened up a little bit. And so we’re able to travel a little bit around New Zealand and we love cycling. So my husband and I actually went cycling in the Hawke’s Bay. We love the Hawke’s Bay, it’s our second favorite place outside of Auckland. And we were traveling around, you know, on the bikes with the dogs, and it was just all this fruit all over the ground rotting, because there was nobody there to actually pick the fruit. And that was, you know, that must have been, I dread to think how much stuff actually went to waste because there’s nobody there to pick it. It’s quite scary. Okay, and we get diverted there, which we’ll call the top tip, probably the last thing you would say that you can share with other business owners,

Cat Peters  28:19

I think, and we kind of touched on it earlier as well. I think it’s making sure that you make time and make space for yourself. Yeah, so we haven’t really been that good at it until this year. But you know, one of the things that we’ve been really mindful of this year is making sure that once a quarter, we’ve got something to look forward to whether it’s a week away, or having a holiday for a week or a long weekend or something planned that we can take some time off and have some space. So I think it’s really, really important that you give yourself you know, breathing space from the business. Obviously, you’re probably going to talk about on holiday anyway. But even just removing yourself from the office and from your your home changing the event that change. Yeah, changing the environment is awesome. The other thing that we have done right from the beginning, which is actually been really good as every week we go out for a meal. So we get a babysitter. Honestly a date night. Yeah, we we go out for a meal. And it does give us the ability to switch off even though we don’t really Yeah, so just having a nice meal out and, and that’s also a bit of a reward for all of our hard work. So it’s having those regular things in and you’ve got to be structured and planned with it. Because if you don’t, then you’re probably not going to do it. And you’ll always be like, Oh, no, I’ve got to do this. We’ll go out to dinner tomorrow night.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  29:30

Another get some members as well. I mean, even when you’ve got to work because in business, you’ve got the business as usual stuff and you’ve got the stuff that is actually the the non urgent but important stuff that moves the business forward. And I think you’ve still got to make time for that as well. And people kind of people laugh at my calendar because it is so structured in terms of I have a morning routine, I have an evening routine. I have certain blocks blocked out for clarity breaks certain blocks for doing bits of work, and it feels like it’s very structured, but it actually gives you freedom. Because if you didn’t do that I guarantee somebody else will fill that gap for you. No matter what that gap is. Somebody will find somewhere to fill up with. And so even just planning your date nights planning your weekends away, like we’re going and see Robbie Williams in Napier very shortly and you know, just having knowing that’s coming up, it forces you to actually take that time out, which if you didn’t actually plan it, it could very easily just get eaten up by the all consuming thing called business. Yeah. 100%.

Cat Peters  30:17

And I think like, even during the week, I tried to do some of them to you. So on Fridays, I’m at home. Yeah. So I know that on Fridays, I can get all of the big projects, stuff that’s actually going to move the business forward, as opposed to being in the office where people ask you questions, or they want to chat or you’ve got a whip or whatever it might be. So you’ve got to make that space for yourself both for your own mental health, but also to drive the business forward as well.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  30:40

Yeah, I was actually talking to a lady the other day who has got a so the Eisenhower matrix is the matrix most people know about, which is that there’s not the urgent non urgent important on important issues, we don’t even more urgent or important stuff in our lives. So she’s got this for Q framework. And it’s really, really cool, because he turns it on its head. And it just talks about actually, rather than trying to make ourselves busier, how do we make sure we maximize our energy and our use of our energy? So she’s come on the show very shortly. So I’m seeing that but yeah, it’s just interesting that she says it’s even just things like, when you come into work in the morning, you know, if you’re a leader or a manager, you’re usually kind of driving into work or walking into work and going, hey, when I get into the office, I’m going to work on X Y, Zed project. And of course, you walk into the office, and suddenly everyone in the office wants to kind of go, Oh, can I just grab you for a moment and just ask you this. And if you’re anything like me, you get a little bit triggered by that because I came in here to do this. And now you’re all asking these questions. And so because you get triggered, then of course, they see that on your face, and then they get triggered. And suddenly, we’re all kind of in this triggered kind of high stress environment, just coming to the office. And just what the first thing you do is you actually come and go, right? You’ve got I’ve got one hour, anybody want me need me? What do you need? How do I help you? What can I do to make the business kind of work better, and then you lock yourself away in your office or in a quiet, safe space for a set period of time, and you’re going to be gone for 45 minutes, you let your team know, it’ll be 45 minutes or notice, I’ll be free at 11 o’clock. And so you’re removing right from the beginning, you’re taking away that whole stress and kind of go, I’ll give you everything you need, then I’ll have my quiet time, then I’ll come back out again. Yeah, yeah. And I loved it. I just thought that was to me, that was just genius. Because I don’t think in all of I’ve, I’ve managed stuff my entire life. And in all my time, I’ve always got caught in that trap of being triggered by people wanting my time.

Cat Peters  32:18

Yeah. So and I think that also lends itself to the need for us to get that management structure in place. You know, for Johnny and I, at the minute, we’re just the go to people for everything, everything. Yeah. Whereas if you’ve got team leaders, no people can go to them. If you’ve got a branch manager, people can go to them for stuff as well. And so that’s the plan to kind of almost make Johnny and Eilis needed. Yeah. And then yeah, it will free you up to actually do stuff that you need to get done.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  32:43

Yeah, perfect. Okay, cool. Okay, so that’s really cool. So focus. So make sure you’re focusing on the right things and saying no, often get the right sub surround yourself with the right supports, that not everything has to be in house, but make sure you’ve got your immigration HR experts, so they’re available for you. And then make time for your yourself and for your family. So time to pursue other passions. Brilliant. Okay, um, tell us a little bit about hire staff now. So what is your ideal client? Who do you love to work with? And how do people get in contact with you?

Cat Peters  33:12

Yeah, so like I’ve said, hire staff as a fully rounded recruitment agency. So we can spam both blue collar and white collar roles. Okay, so I guess the clients or the companies that we like to deal with is basically anyone that needs stuff. Yeah. So we have businesses that are a team of 10, right up to a team of 100 plus, so the size of the business doesn’t really matter. If you need someone, then we can find find you the people. Yeah. And essentially, I guess one of the reasons why we’re different is we place a lot of focus on urgency. Urgency is one of our key values, right? So if you ask us for a staff member on Monday, we’ll do our best to get you on for Tuesday. So we operate at pace, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why we win in terms of how can you get in contact with us? Yep, give us a bow. Just jump onto the website. Just put a request through and then we can facilitate it out to the right team. So we’ve got a trades and construction team. We’ve got a warehousing manufacturing logistics team. And now we’ve got white collar as well. So whatever you need, we’ve got it. Yes, give us a call and we can have a chat.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  34:13

Perfect. Hey, look, thank you so much for taking time to come in. Congratulations on the wind well deserved and also on the on the lightning as well. I look forward to seeing how you go this next year round. what’s your what’s your interest, but yeah, really appreciate you spending the time and sharing your knowledge expertise.

Cat Peters  34:26

Thanks so much for having us. Absolute pleasure. Cheers. Thanks.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  34:29

Thanks for listening to the podcast show better business better life. My name is Debra Chantry-Taylor. I’m an EOS implementer family business advisor, business and leadership coach podcaster and speaker. However, I’m also a business owner with several current business interests. I’m fortunate to have lived the high life with all the lifestyle, the toys, you name it, and then I’ve lost it all. Not only once but twice in two spectacular train wrecks. I know what it’s like to experience the highs and lows. I came across EOS when they launched in New Zealand using my entrepreneurs playground at an event center in Parnell Auckland. I love the simplicity of the tools and their philosophies fitted my personal brand statement perfectly. The brilliance is in the simplicity. I’ve always been passionate about seeing entrepreneurs live the life they love. And now I help them live that EOS life doing what they love with people they love making a huge difference in the world being compensated appropriately and with time to pursue other passions. If you want more information or want to get in contact about using ELS and your business, you can visit my website at Deb Deborah dot coach that’s dub dub dub Deborah D B R A dot coach. Thanks for listening.









Debra Chantry-Taylor 

Professional  EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner

#betterbusinessbetterlife #entrepreneur #leadership #eosimplementer #professionaleosimplementer #entrepreneurialbusinesscoach

Professional EOS Implementer New Zealand

Professional EOS Implementer  Australia

Professional EOS Implementer UK

Professional EOS Implementer NZ

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