Prep: The award-winning start up

start up business, business awards, business coaching, business success

Meet Natalie Richards, a down to earth ex-truck driver who used to work 60 to 70 hours a week. Having early starts and late finishes along with spending most of her time on the roads, food options were often limited and unhealthy. So, Natalie decided it was time to change her eating options by cooking her own meals. However, Natalie went beyond just home-cooked meals, she took classic recipes and transformed them into plant-based versions. Natalie then immersed herself with food and spent her time experimenting and creating new recipes.

Natalie made it her mission to offer a wide range of plant-based meals that are both nutritious and delicious. In 2016, this was the beginning of Prep. Prep offers healthy and delicious plant-based meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prep meals are made from scratch using only whole natural ingredients. These meals are frozen soon after to lock in all the nutrients and flavours in biodegradable bamboo containers. So, it’s good for you and the planet!

As part of Prep’s journey, Natalie utilised business coaching from Debra Chantry at Ventell to help guide her in the right direction. Business coaching challenges Natalie to go further and achieve better results not only for Prep but also herself. Business coaching at Ventell is tailored to the needs of a business and generally consists of three steps.

Step One: Deep Dive Coaching Session

The first step consists of sharing everything about your business and utilising business tools such as the SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, prioritisation matrixes and more.

Step Two: Strategic Planning Session

This step uses information gathered from the deep dive to develop a detailed set of goals and vision, along with developing your business and personal plan.

Step Three: Regular One-on-One Catch-Ups

The final step is to start putting those strategies into action. There are regular catch-ups with your business coach to ensure you are on the right track and to re-evaluate any strategies if needed. 


Natalie has been working together with Debra since the birth of Prep to where they are now. Natalie has driven Prep to success with the help and support from Debra’s business coaching. As Natalie’s coach, Debra has provided honest feedback, assisting to implement improvements on Prep and Natalie as a person, expose Natalie to greater networks, and more. The most important part was that Natalie had someone to talk to and receive support from as being a business owner is often very isolating and lonely.

“I also have a business coach, Debra Chantry, and swear by having one. She has been valuable to building my business.” – Natalie says in an interview with the NZ Herald.

Natalie has continuously pushed herself and Prep with the help of Debra which has resulted in her winning not one, but two awards at the 2019 Network NZ Awards. Natalie took home the “Best Start-Up Award” along with the “People’s Choice Award”.  Alongside this, Natalie has been recognised as a finalist in the NZ Maori Business Awards.

Natalie has recently expanded her product range by introducing the Prep Fitness Packs and is sponsoring Geovana Perez, New Zealand’s reigning WBO light heavyweight champion in preparation for her upcoming fight. Being a true entrepreneur and believer in her product, these fitness packs were first tested by Natalie herself which helped her lose 10kg in eight weeks alongside F45 training (see photos below). She has also recently won the F45 Training New Lynn’s “People’s Champion” title.

Every business owner needs someone who will encourage, inspire, and strengthen you to reach your full potential. Being a business owner means taking risks and making big decisions to try and generate business growth. Throughout Prep’s journey, Natalie has had Debra on her side as a mentor to consistently check-up and make sure that goals are being achieved and that Natalie enjoys what she is doing.

If you are ready for some real support, guidance, and knowledge it’s time for you to get a business coach. Ventell has a range of business coaches with different skills, experience, and specialties, check them out here. If you feel inspired by Natalie’s story, call us now to see how business coaching can help you and your business grow.

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