10 Questions in 10 minutes with Raj Brij

Raj Brij has more degrees and qualifications than his much loved Waikato Chiefs have won Super Rugby titles. We check in with Kakapo's Broker of the Quarter Q3 2022 to chat about everything from dream cars to family and the secret sauce in high performance, exercise and beating the sun every day.

A financial auditor and accountant that worked in USA, Australia and Fiji for close to a decade before returning home to little old NZ, tell us about your journey prior to joining Kakapo in 2019.
From the minute I got my driver’s licence, I started tinkering with cars. After finishing high school, I studied NZCE Mechanical Engineering at Waikato Polytech but I didn’t want to get straight into an apprenticeship so decided to go to Uni and study a Bachelor of Management Studies. Initially, I majored in marketing and strategic management but I found that my key strengths were numbers and I had a strong passion for business so decided to change to accounting and information systems. First two years of uni are of limited memory (I loved orientation weeks) but in the last two years, I got down to work and managed to graduate with Honours.
My accounting career started in 2002 with a Big Four Firm (the one with four initials) in Hamilton. Being in a smaller office gave me good exposure to multi facets of businesses while also getting to travel around NZ working in other offices.
After 4 years in NZ, I was seconded to Chicago which was another amazing experience. After Chicago, I moved to Australia and continued my working holiday for another 5 years whilst moving up in the corporate world. By the time I left Australia, I was a CFO of a boutique fund management firm and when I returned to NZ, I worked in the same capacity for an import and distribution Group for another 8 years.
Hamilton was a big transition from Sydney so I decided to base myself in Auckland. Auckland has given me lots... a wife, 2 boys, and a place I now call home.

After growing up in Hamilton and double majoring in Accounting and Information Systems at the University of Waikato... Do you support the Waikato Chiefs or the Auckland Blues?
That’s a tough one to answer. Maybe a slight hint if you come to my man cave, you may see a large flag suggesting you are in Chief’s territory.
But I do support the Blues when they’re not playing the Chiefs.

What is it that you love about business broking?
What I love the most about broking is that you meet interesting and like-minded people all the time. I love the fact that what I do as a Business Broker creates so much value to the buyers and sellers alike. Business Brokers in fact create a win-win situation for all parties involved.

You have two beautiful boys, Xavier (14) and Riaan (4). If you gaze into your crystal ball, what professions do you see them working in when they’re older?
I wouldn’t call Xav a school scholar but he is a silent achiever. He loves his gadgets and software, and he’s a bit of a gamer. I would love to see him move into game development.
Riaan on the other hand is a total opposite to his big brother. He likes to pull things apart and fix them, a bit like me.

Tell us about your recent achievement of Kakapo's broker of the quarter for Q.3 2022
It was a very proud and rewarding moment. There is a lot of work that goes into make every sale successful and this achievement reassured me that I am moving in the right direction.

You’re sold a considerable amount of business within the childcare and service-based industries of late. What are your views on the COVID impact on these industries, both at present and post-pandemic?
Currently there is a lot of hurt and struggle in the market. I am able to give advice through my past experience working in a variety of companies, on how they can improve their systems and processes to run more profitably and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

You're Kakapo’s earliest riser and routinely start your day at 4am, most would consider you mad to do this by choice but is there a bit of secret sauce to getting up early?
I believe I achieve more when I beat the sun every day. Waking up two hours earlier helps me to get everything in order including my fitness.

In your opinion, what separates your average business broker from a great one?
Ones that take time, energy, care and understand what the sellers’ motivation is and what the buyers want and making sure business is the right fit.

You’ve recently joined F45 and made a big commitment towards health and fitness, are you enjoying the new regime and what changes have you seen?
I’ve always been into gym and fitness and part of the 5am club, however when Riaan was born I wanted to be there when he woke up early (which affected my gym training). Getting back into fitness and joining F45, I enjoy the culture and team environment, where we push each other to exceed our goals.

Lastly, as a man who loves his cars and loves to drive, what is your dream car?
Too many to list but currently I have my eye on a Mercedes AMG GTR. And when petrol becomes $4 per litre, I’ll look at an electric beast.

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