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Business Advisory



We understand that every business is different, as are the needs, wants and aspirations of each business owner. This understanding forms the foundation of our advice programme, as we support you to take your business to new heights. We help you to create the head space to step back from ‘business as usual’ tasks to focus on activities that will help you to realise a better future.

AdviceFirst’s business advisory team provide the strategic planning, mentoring, advice and coaching support for business owners or senior management teams going for growth. Our aim is simple, we help set you up for long term, sustainable growth and ultimately, bottom line success.

Joining the programme has enabled us to break through the glass ceiling. We now have confidence in our strategies, setting goals and sticking with it. Turnover has tripled and staff doubled over the last 3 years.

Client Testimonial about our Active Management Programme

We are the link between ideas and action. We help you:

  • Get clarity on where you want to go
  • Identify what you want to achieve with your business and for you personally
  • Keep you accountable for delivering on goal actions

We create movement through aligning you and your team with the strategic goals of the business. We look at the vision and purpose and show how each member of your team contributes on an individual level by:

  • Focusing output on delivering what matters the most
  • Making better decisions based on what’s important even in times of change
  • Creating a highly engaged team, inspiring passion and commitment
  • Achieving greater growth, productivity, performance and profitability

Our programmes are designed to fit you – your wants, your needs and what you value.  They offer different levels of support and can be one-on-one for a business owner or with a management team:

  • Achieving Business Results
  • Active Management Programme
  • Business Success Dashboard
  • Integrity Selling Programme
  • Personal and Business Coaching
  • Business Consulting and Advisory
Achieving Business Results

Working one-on-one, and/or with your leadership team, we will prepare a ‘living’ business plan for your business.  The Achieving Business Results programme will include workshops to understand the critical factors influencing the success of your business; as well as the development of your annual strategic business plan.  In the programme we also look at your role as business owner and/or leadership team, and you are invited to undertake a psychometric personality assessment to gain greater insight into your leadership style.

The workshops will re-evaluate the vision, purpose and values of the business and their alignment to the strategic direction. We also investigate how to enhance and leverage leadership capability to aid business success.

Duration: The programme takes place over 2 – 4 weeks.


This has proved to be extremely good for the business. Something that I should have done years ago.
– Client Testimonial | ABR, 2019

The Achieving Business Results course really hit the ‘target’ and was just what I needed to launch me into the next phase of growing my business. The tailored strategic business planning advice was highly supportive and delivered promptly.
– Client Testimonial | ABR, 2019

Active Management Programme

The Active Management Programme builds management and leadership capability through a focus of understanding core management requirements, managing self, managing others and, managing teams. 

Enhanced capability will support business growth, team cohesion, organisational engagement and overall improvements to business performance. The programme has taken world best practice in training and development to deliver a learning experience which incorporates:

  • Online learning – videos, reading and quizzes
  • One-on-one coaching – to support learning and support individual needs
  • Co-lab facilitated sessions – with social learning with peers from differing businesses
  • Active workplace participation – taking learning to the workplace and practice activities designed to enhance management capability
  • Journal completion – to highlight progress and record accountabilities to support personal and professional growth

Duration: The programme takes place over 12 months with activities taking place weekly to embed knowledge, skill development, experience and ability. Actual time to commit to the formal learning and coaching is just 2 hours a month for each attendee. Each organisation requires a minimum of 3 managers or emerging managers to participate in the programme. 


I feel that discussions with yourself & Mike have allowed me to free up as much time as 9 hours a week on occasions… after open discussions with my superior & yourself, it became apparent that it was my own wrongdoing which was effectively putting myself under more pressure, by simply not stepping back and letting others take full ownership of smaller jobs… One key tip I have learnt is to actively ask my workers to repeat the job (5min task) – and how they approach it – back to me… which in turn gives me full confidence that all will run as if I were doing it myself. …This has allowed me to access time I never knew existed, which I now tend to utilise on personal / team or business development. I can easily say this has saved me hours at the workshop & time at home.
– Mitchell, Electrical & Mechanical Contractors | Active Management Programme, 2019

The Breakthrough (Active Management Programme) Programme has really changed my life… I have been on boards of trustees and speedway committees for 15 years and I recently stood down as I realised that I was more valuable in other areas. I have a list of 3 things I achieve every day at work and home, the real biggy was… I realised what I achieved in 3 years with no plans, (now how as a result of planning with the active management programme) I have many more great ideas. If I could offer anyone any advice, it would be practice every day and show up, even if you fail.
– Trevor, Manufacturer | Active Management Programme, 2019

Business Consulting and Advisory

At times you will want support on the ground, in your business driving change and implementing critical actions in the business plan. Alternatively, you may need expertise on your advisory board. Our business consulting team are experts in many industry areas from retail and hospitality to medical, early childhood to professional services through to FMCG, technology, export, franchise and even wine manufacturing.

Duration: As required, projects are generally 3 – 6 months.


Full of insights and positivity. Just what we needed. 
– Client Testimonial | Business Consulting & Advisory, 2019

Sharn is just so personable and on to it! Her professional delivery of her outcomes based mentoring framework coupled with her focused encouragement and no-frills engaging is I believe, highly beneficial to any business owner.
– Client Testimonial | Business Consulting & Advisory, 2019

 A business owner spends a lot of time in their own head and this can be a challenging and sometimes lonely experience. Sharn’s extensive business acumen based on her outstanding HR ability is naturally supportive and results in achieving clarity around next actions- which is exactly why Sharn’s work is so empowering.
– Client Testimonial | Business Consulting & Advisory, 2019

I am incredibly thankful I followed up on the recommendation that a colleague had strongly suggested to me, that my best next step would be to give Sharn a call!
– Client Testimonial | Business Consulting & Advisory, 2019

Working with Sharn Rayner has been a business life-changing experience over the past year. Without her knowledge, skills and ability I’m positive I wouldn’t have achieved the remarkable business successes to-date.
– Client Testimonial | Business Consulting & Advisory, 2019

Business Growth Strategy

At times, instead of a one year strategic business plan, business owners and/or senior leaders want to drive momentum, establish clear outcomes and execute action over a shorter period of just 90 or 180 days.  The applied focus hones attention on the key outcomes and with the regular workshops, which are interactive and action oriented – results are delivered, quickly.

This five workshop programme can be delivered over one month or over a period of six months, depending on your availability and the time you have to invest in taking action.

Plan on a Page – The first workshop would incorporate a review of the business performance and key elements of the business strategy presently.  At the end of the session, we should expect clarity and simplification of the vision, target market, core outcomes for each functional area (i.e. HR, sales, marketing, finance, technology, operations) and a 90 day plan of action.  All details being presented on a ‘plan on a page.’

Functional Focus – The subsequent workshops would involve a deep dive of the functional areas. Each session would involve the ‘how to’ of delivering the ‘plan on a page’ in specific regard to the 90 or 180 day plan. The coaching sessions would see us practically bringing the plans and actions to life.

Exit Ready Programme

Over the next 5-10 years up to 300,000 New Zealand businesses owned by baby boomers will be put up for sale, that’s close to 105,000 located in Auckland alone. With this flood of businesses to the market and with a shortage of buyers with plenty of options, to live the retirement you planned, differentiating the value of your business is imperative.

Knowing that you have achieved the best possible return on your asset at the time of sale is what ensures that you can genuinely celebrate your exit and the time you have personally given to growing your business over your many years of ownership. 

Our one-on-one programme is about giving you the confidence to know that your business is in the best position to maximise your return when you sell. 

Programme Outcomes

  • Development of a high level action plan outlining the tactics and timeframes within the functional areas of the business, with the aim of ensuring that any due diligence processes will reflect positively in each of these areas, be that HR, operations or sales
  • Understand valuation methodology options to determine sale price
  • Gain insight in to the key actions to enable the best return for your business
  • Determine your personal succession plan
  • Accessing expertise to aid your success
  • Completion of a business sale readiness assessment
  • Development of an information memorandum for your business [optional]
Integrity Selling Programme

Sustainable and growth-oriented businesses require ongoing sales. Selling success is more an issue of who you are than what you know. While knowledge is necessary, sustained success comes to the person who’s driven by strong values and ethics.

We can increase your revenue by helping your salespeople develop customer-needs focused sales behaviours and positive attitudes that create long-term, value-producing partnerships with your customers.

Our internationally recognised programme provides behaviour change support through an extensive follow-up course, where participants share best practices and brainstorm solutions to challenges.

Outcomes and expected return on investment:

  • Consistent high sales performance
  • Decreased call reluctance
  • Greater customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Stronger goal clarity
  • Retention of top performers
  • Improved managers’ coaching capability

What makes the Integrity Selling Programme so valuable?

  • A flexible process for having an organised, sales conversation
  • An engaging digital experience supports the facilitator-led training
  • Content may be customised based on organisation or industry
  • 8-week follow-up course and monthly performance accelerator modules to embed learning and transferability to the workplace
  • Participants learn the value of ethical behaviour in sales situations
Personal and Business Coaching

During the coaching programme we will bring your business plan to life by each month coaching you through the activities and milestones relating to HR, operations, technology, sales, marketing and finance. 

As your coach, mentor and business strategist, we will work alongside you to help your business excel. Together we will focus on your vision (personal and professional), key business drivers and goals.

We will support you in your leadership development and your role as business owner, by focusing you “on” the running of the business; as well as supporting you to deliver the operational and growth requirements needed “in” your business.

Duration: The programme takes place over 6 – 12months.


Sharn’s sessions have been hugely helpful and are so practical I can instantly share the knowledge with our team and achieve a direct result. We have already implemented considerable change in a very short space of time since commencing this course; it’s great being goal orientated again and off the day to day tasks.
– Client Testimonial | Business Coaching, 2019

You have a true art and I am very appreciative that I’ve had the opportunity to work with you over the past few months. I’ve has some real learnings and know that I still have work to do but it’s exciting.
– Client Testimonial | Business Coaching, 2019

You have a real knack for understanding people and bringing out their goals and influencing their behaviour.
– Client Testimonial | Business Coaching, 2019

I love that I leave with so much to think about and follow up on. You have a true art and I am very appreciative that I’ve had the opportunity to work with you over the past few months. I’ve has some real learnings and know that I still have work to do but it’s exciting. 
– Client Testimonial | Business Coaching, 2019

I’ve found the sessions invaluable and always leave them feeling invigorated and keen to keep learning and progressing.
– Client Testimonial | Business Coaching, 2019



One on One Executive Coaching

Leaders and managers within workplaces are ever faced with change and the requirement to make decisions which are constrained by a range of external factors, such as the business environment, industry trends and market conditions, and, internal factors which include organisational structure, culture, politics and management style. The role of leader incorporates everything from dealing with strategies and financials through to enriching the customer journey and building high performing, engaged teams. The ability and confidence to manage conflicting and challenging decisions will undoubtedly affect the success of leaders and managers.

We adopt a technique called ‘transformational coaching’ when working with leaders, as it encourages them, through deep questioning to explore their perception of deeply held beliefs, values and assumptions which may impede their success.  The coaching enables the executive to become aware of how their response to an experience can be adapted and evolved to facilitate a positive, better and different way of seeing a situation. This changed response and thinking, therefore, has bearing on the subsequent actions which are taken.

Over a period of three coaching sessions initially, your business coach will work with you to remove road blocks to success and holding you to account with agreed actions.



Business Success Dashboard

Knowing how your business is tracking in real time will give you the confidence to make decisions which drive success. The Business Success Dashboard shows actual results against forecast results and aligns directly to your business plan or strategic roadmap. Your dashboard will highlight what actions to take to ensure that important activity doesn’t fall off the radar.

Sharn Rayner
Sharn Rayner

Head of Business Consulting

Gwyn Thomas
Gwyn Thomas

Business Adviser

Mike Kensington
Mike Kensington

Leadership & Strategy Partner

Phil O'Neill
Phil O'Neill

General Manager