J. Peter Hendrikx is a native of The Netherlands who immigrated to New Zealand seeking a more laid-back lifestyle. After years working for large, international corporations, he went to work for the Business Migration Branch of the New Zealand Immigration Service. It wasn’t long before he decided to launch his own company, combining his knowledge of the governmental process with his interest in helping others succeed in business and his firsthand experience as an immigrant.

In October 2002 Peter started Terra Nova Consultancy Ltd, a business migration consulting agency specializing in assisting people and businesses from all over the world in migrating to New Zealand. Terra Nova provides professional assistance to their clients in obtaining temporary or permanent residence by taking them through the daunting paperwork process and making sure they meet all the criteria required by the government.

You have to have a plan

As part of their application process, businesses must submit a business plan. “I must have written about 200 business plans using Business Plan Pro, covering a wide array of business types with a variety of investment levels,” he says, including the business plan for Terra Nova Consultancy itself in his estimate.

With that kind of plan-writing experience, it’s safe to say that Peter has an appreciation for the planning process. “The older you get, the more you realize that you do not have the answers to an increasing number of issues, compared to when you were young and you thought you knew everything,” he says. Writing your business plan forces you to “assess situations and look for possible solutions” in advance.

A living document
“I have always advised my clients to use their business plan as a guide for their company, and to be flexible enough to react to changes in the market,” Peter notes. “You need to know the market you are going into, your financial situation under at least two scenarios (a positive and a negative situation), and what you have to do to remain successful.”

To that end, Peter recommends his clients continue to use Business Plan Pro to adjust their plan regularly. He suggests revisiting the plan every six months, creating a “pathfinder” plan that looks ahead five years, as well as a more detailed three-year plan, and a six-month action plan.
“This obviously means that the business plan is a living document,” says Peter.

Peter doesn’t write business plans for his clients just because the New Zealand government requires them. He feels a plan is a valuable tool for all businesses, whether they’re migrating to a new country or not. “Business planning is a must for all who go into business. Without it, you bring yourself into a situation that may be a real challenge to get out of!”