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Getting better at business

Success Stories

With 17 years’ experience as a sole trader in the design and arts world, and supporting her partner’s COVID-impacted healthcare business, Rachel Ruckstuhl-Mann knew the basics of running a business, but wanted to be more efficient with her time and energy.

“I wanted to be able to use the different business systems effectively to make my life easier and be able to find the support I need,” she says.

In a practical sense, Rachel says that means things like investing in accounting software rather than doing the accounts on Excel.

Along with supporting her partner’s business, Rachel – Kāi Tahu Whānui – is developing her own wellness business based around hauora and mātauranga Māori, and has just completed the new 5-week online business start-up course with Pakihi.

Pakihi provides the skills and knowledge to start a new business, a growth plan, mentoring with an industry expert and networking connections with other Māori businesses in an online kaupapa-Māori environment.

Rachel was initially attracted to the programme because it was only five weeks’ long.

“It’s short and accessible,” she says.

“Because my work is really contract or project based, I can get really busy and it’s hard to commit over a long period of time.”

But she enjoyed learning in a kaupapa-Māori online environment.

“The whakawhanaungatanga at the start was great and the karakia at the start and end feels like you’re  in a safe space, and you can ask lots of questions without feeling whakamā.”

“We also discussed some issues that we as Māori face that may not come up if you were not in that context, like how to deal with things like koha, and what to do if you want to donate some of your profit to charity.”

She is already putting into practice things she learned on the Pakihi course.

“We’ve been having conversations with my partner about his business and making plans, being more specific and thinking about what we are doing in the future, rather than just doing what’s in front of us.”

“We are thinking about short and long term, and thinking more strategically about what and how we are doing things.”

She says the one on one mentoring provided further good insights and she’s now more confident in where she’s going.

“It’s good motivation to keep doing what I’m doing and definitely a good experience.”

To find out more about Rachel, go to: rachelrm.wixsite.com/rachelrm