10 Questions in 10 Minutes with Shelley May

An NZ representative barefoot water skier, proud race car driver mum, surfer and devoted mother of 2. We get Kakapo's 2020 broker of the year into the hot seat to answer 10 questions in 10 minutes as we discuss everything from business to sport and the unexpected upside of COVID-19 to the business broking industry.

As an NZ representative in water skiing, what skills or learnings transfer over from high level sport into business?
Actually so much! Firstly goal setting, secondly putting a plan in place to reach the goals. Then its all about putting in the hard work so you're moving closer towards your goals each day.

You were a proud business owner prior to becoming a business broker in 2012, tell us about your business and your time as a small business owner
My brothers and I shared a love for water skiing and jumped at the opportunity to become the NZ distributor for O’Brien water skis in 1987. We ran a snow and water ski retail store in Takapuna, a waterski school, ski hire, import distribution of O’Brien and other water ski brands till 2012. Life is short and I believe it's so important to do something you're truly passionate about, I lived my dream for 25 years, helping others enjoy the sport and learning a lot about business along the way.

How was the transition from business owner to business broker?
Instinct led me to business broking pretty quickly, no two days are the same in business broking and I love it.

Last year you conquered one of your biggest fears (public speaking), what was your experience like talking to hundreds of people?
Still terrifying, I have come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to make a fortune out of public speaking.

You specialise in online, work from home and health and wellness businesses, what sort of impact has COVID-19 had on these industries?
Most of these businesses have thrived if they do online well. Personal and home improvement businesses have certainly increased in value and desirability which has seen these businesses snapped up for great multiples since the first lockdown.

You have always been incredibly healthy and active, what is your secret to looking so young?
No secret! Stay active doing what you enjoy and eat healthy when you can. Everything in moderation, meet up with your friends and family once a week for a laugh. I personally chose not to drink alcohol or do drugs ever.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to a first time business owner who has just purchased a business?
1. Learn Xero and understand a profit and Loss report
2. Set simple financial goals. 1 year, 2 year 5 year, exit strategy.
3. Get some technical sales skills (if you are in business, you are selling everyday)

If you're not racing around Hampton Downs with your son, where can we find Shelley outside of work hours?
Living in Orewa we love the lifestyle, if the surf is right I might be on my longboard, or bike riding around the estuary. When the tide is right on the weekends, my squad and I will be out on the boat up the harbour from Greenhithe water skiing. I will also pounce at any opportunity to snow ski in the winter time!

Personally completing more than 100 business sales, what is the single biggest mistake you see business owners making when bringing their business to market?
Business owners with expectations well above the market value. Make peace with the appraised value and price to sell the business quickly as the longer it sits in the market, the more it will devalue.

It is a real shame that there are very few female business brokers in NZ, what would you say to someone who is considering joining our industry?
Talk to me first, I would love to mentor a new Girl Boss Business Broker!!
If you have run a business and you're prepared to hustle for a good year, are in a financial position to survive for 6 months without any income then this could be a very lucrative and enjoyable new career.

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