Meet Derek, the Chamber SEBA

Do you have an idea for a business… or do you have a business?

It’s the first (and the most important) question that our Smart Economy Business Advisor (SEBA) Derek Roser asks prospective business owners.

While Derek is one of the most welcoming, cheery people you’ll ever meet, he needs to ask the tough questions – or gently pop balloons, as he calls it – when it comes to helping people start their own business or go out on their own.

Derek holds free business advice sessions as part of the Chamber’s business support services. This session can cover anything a potential business owner needs to get them off on the right foot.

“It provides an opportunity for people to share their aspirations or ideas for business, and I can provide impartial, experienced advice and guidance.

“For someone starting up or starting out, it’s all about the basics, and putting plans in place and ticking boxes: What do they do, what do they need to do, what are the pitfalls, have they thought about this or considered that?

“Business is not easy and there is a lot to think about to manage risk, both personal and financial.”

The two most common problems Derek sees in start-ups and newly self-employed are not setting enough goals and not realising the costs involved to set up a business – even one that is home based.

“If they haven’t got financial, marketing or planning goals, they’re starting on the back foot. It’s all well trying to sell this ‘thing’ or service you have, but how many do you need to sell to make a profit? Often the planning is not there or there is a lack of understanding of that all-important planning process.”

With a rise in the quality and quantity of people making appointments for this free advice, needless to say no two sessions are the same – which Derek enjoys as he gets to put his varied business background to good use.

Originally starting his career as a medical scientist (an immunohematologist and microbiologist, to be precise), Derek then studied and received his MBA and moved into the management of hospitals. He worked in-house before forming a consultancy company, specifically for the health sector, where he travelled around New Zealand providing strategic planning and service planning to hospitals.

Derek later left health and moved into the private sector, where he was appointed as General Manager for Orica Chemnet in Tauranga, working within the dairy industry and across the food sector, and then General Manager Sales & Marketing for ENZA Foods in Hastings.

After two years of commuting each week to the Hawke’s Bay (down on Sunday night and back on Friday) to his home in Tauranga, Derek restarted his consultancy and linked up with the Chamber nearly a decade ago. While maintaining selective consulting clients, Derek is now focused on applying his customer service, negotiation and communication skills to further developing his business in real estate.

“Customer service and interpersonal relationships are what I am passionate about, and that’s translated across all sectors I have worked in.”

It also makes him the perfect person to help the Bay’s newest business owners in the making.

If you want to chat to Derek about starting your own business, or going out on your own as a sole trader, please contact our team on to book your one hour of free business advice.

You can also find out more here. 

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