Picture an ordinary ‘small business’ in your mind’s eye and what do you see? A mechanic, a hairdresser, or a shop-owner, perhaps?
It’s probably safe to say, Government Relations Guru wouldn’t be at the top of your list. But then, nothing about Holly Suzanne Bennett, or her small business, HSB Government Relations, is ordinary.
Quite simply, Holly gives New Zealand’s business community a seat at the political table.
HSB Government Relations, non-partisan by nature, works hard to match businesses with all levels of New Zealand’s political ecosystem: Members of Parliament, Ministers, advisors, officials, regulators and everyone in between.
Looking back, Holly says it was something she was inspired to do from very early on, first beginning her career as a Lawyer, before heading to the Beehive in Wellington.
“In the fourth month I started
to get a few clients and I
haven’t looked back since”
“I loved it there; working with lots of people from different backgrounds, knowing how the system worked, and everything,” she says.
So, it was serendipitous when Holly’s father suggested she should use her background in the Beehive to start her own business. “It was definitely a ‘wow’ moment, but lo and behold I took his advice and 18 months on, I'm still in business,’ laughs Holly.
Holly is passionate about the opportunities HSB can provide. “The reality is there are only 120 MPs and 4.8 million New Zealanders, that’s why I wanted to make political engagement easy.”
Since setting up, Holly has worked with a variety of award-winning New Zealand businesses - with some of HSB’s early adopters featuring in national papers and on network news.
But it hasn’t stopped her from thinking bigger.
“One thing that I've learned in business is that cash flow is king”
“I do want to keep growing the business. We recently held a big event
to people here in Wellington to watch three MPs debate three
counsellors,” she says.
“The event was free, because the biggest challenge for many
businesses is cash flow. People don’t engage because they do not know
where to start, and don’t have the money to pour down an unknown
political engagement drain.
“As I see it, one of the easiest ways to begin breaking down the accessibility and affordability barriers is to provide free advice to everyone,” Holly says.
So, we know Holly loves her work, but what about her bookwork?
“I started with MYOB pretty early on and in four months it entirely changed the way that I ran my business because suddenly, all the backend stuff, which before I didn't really know how to do, was resolved.”
And being in Government Relations, it was important that Holly had a system in place that made her tax obligations easy, too.
“MYOB has been a god send”
“I pull down my reports every month, send them to my accountant. Then she just tells me how much I have to pay the IRD.”
Given that business cash flow was an issue Holly raised earlier, we asked her how she deals with that challenge.
“MYOB lets me send invoices straight from the software. Plus, it has this handy feature that lets me track when an invoice has been opened – so late payers never get out of hand.”
And in Holly’s line of work, it’s important to keep those relationships sweet. Indeed, that’s why she chose MYOB in the first place.
“What I love about MYOB is definitely the sense of culture and community they convey in everything they do. That matches the ethos of my business, and that’s why I knew it was going to be a great partnership.”
What Holly loves about MYOB
Cash flow success
As well as easy invoicing tools, Holly can also see where things are at any time. “MYOB helps make sure that my budgeting and invoicing stays all lined up.”
Holly can access her numbers anywhere – and so can her advisors. “I can literally see what's happening with my invoices and follow things up straight from the app.”
Time better spent
From the start, Holly has software in place that lets her focus on getting more done. “I spend about 5% of my time using MYOB, and 95% on the rest of my business.”