Living the dream: you and me both

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“We live in one of the greatest places in the world. And I have one of the best jobs in the world – though it’s actually less a job and more a lifestyle.”
Alan Neben

We spoke to Bay of Plenty Business News owner Alan Neben recently about his plans for 2024 and were surprised to hear changes are afoot. While he assured us that Business News, or BBN as he refers to it, is here to stay, he is taking the advice of Steve Catley in this month’s Link Business column, “When to sell your business: is there a right time?

“It is time for a fresh perspective – we’ve grown incredibly over a few years, but a fresh perspective will add excitement and open up new possibilities.”

Alan launched BBN back in 2017. At the time it was an expansion of his existing publishing interests in New Zealand and Australia.

“Back then Waikato Business News simply couldn’t keep up with the demand from advertisers for a channel to reach the rapidly expanding Bay of Plenty business market – so we launched Bay of Plenty Business News and operated for six months from our Hamilton office. But the Bay was booming, even back then, and we needed to be there in the community, not on the outside looking in.”

He moved to the Bay in 2017 anticipating the region was destined to become New Zealand’s next big success story.

Now in 2023 it seems his predictions were ‘right on the money’: PriorityOne is emphatic that Tauranga is ‘a thriving place to do business’.

Tauranga’s GDP has eclipsed the national average since 2013 to take the title of New Zealand’s fastest-growing economy. And Tauranga is growing its knowledge-intensive workforce faster than anywhere else in the country due to strong capital networks and significant investments in tertiary education and research infrastructure.

A range of talented people and businesses are being attracted to Tauranga Moana. Tauranga’s city centre is also experiencing a resurgence with more than $1bn being invested into new office and living space as the city intensifies.

In addition to Tauranga’s explosive growth, Rotorua is also experiencing a post-Covid resurgence of its own.

December’s BBN, reported Andrew Wilson, Chief Executive of Rotorua NZ, commenting on a recent Rotorua Business Pulse survey: “the findings … reaffirm Rotorua’s potential as a thriving place to do business. This surge in confidence reflects the resilience of our local businesses…”

Alan Neben is comfortable with his decision to make changes: “I’m looking to spend 2024 pursuing one of my passions: travel.

“While I’ll still have publishing interests in New Zealand, I decided a couple of months ago that BBN needs a fresh face – not this crusty old one.

“The business environment here in the Bay of Plenty is a modern, energetic one, driven by a ‘new generation’ of smart connected businesspeople.

We’ve profiled literally hundreds of them in our 100 People magazine and our annual Year Book – as well as BBN features Business People Under 40, Thought Leaders, and Women Leading Bay Business.

“I only work on this business part-time – it’s probably fair to say I’m living the dream”, he admits unapologetically from his apartment’s home office in Mount Maunganui.

“BBN’s reputation sells itself to an extent. But there’s plenty of room for growth. And our digital subscriber base continues to flourish, so it’s fun to be at the forefront of the new media landscape locally.

“We’ve built great business relationships right across the region – our beat covers business in Rotorua, Whakatane and Tauranga as well as the smaller satellite areas, so there’s plenty to talk about.

“And acknowledgement that Port of Tauranga, Zespri, Comvita and SCION are all in our back yard immediately grabs the attention of national marketing managers. They’re not stupid – they realise there’s a real economic powerhouse here in the ‘golden triangle’. And that’s only going to grow.”

“I’m keen to find someone to take over the business when I travel, so I’ve recently started talking to interested parties and have put it on the market.”

Although he says the move is tinged with sadness, he is adamant: “It’s time for a fresh perspective.”

If you’re interested in owning a connected, modern voice for the local Bay of Plenty business community, this could be a great opportunity.

For more information contact Tony Andrew, 021 938 560, tony.andrew@linkbusiness.co.nz
David Porter
David Porter
THE PORTER REPORT - A monthly update on the business world from David Porter

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