Skills & Training

In addition to the information below check out our latest newsletters for skills and training opportunities.


June 2021

Marketing Workshop

Your customers have changed so much in the last year, in both their spending habits and their buying behaviour. Relying on how you’ve always attracted customers isn’t going to be enough to ensure your business can survive, revive and thrive in a COVID-19 landscape.

Auckland Unlimited has partnered with The Icehouse to create a subsidised one-day marketing workshop, 'Grow Your Business-In One Day’, to help you learn how to generate sustainable growth in your business.

This workshop allows you to invite one additional person from your business to attend. 

Spaces are limited and attending the workshop, valued at over $1,000, is now available for $20 per person*

About the workshop 

During the workshop you’ll learn how to:

  • understand your customers - their problems, needs and desires 
  • refine and focus your products and services to deliver real value to customers
  • identify what makes your business unique or positions you ahead of competitors acquire and retain customers
  • drive incremental sales. 

Throughout the day you’ll develop a simple and actionable Growth Plan to drive sales growth in your business.

Every business that attends will also receive a one-hour, one-on-one follow up coaching session (valued at $330) with the course facilitator - Icehouse Business Coach, Kevin D’Ambros-Smith - to further your unique business growth plan.

West Auckland Workshop

Monday 21 June 

9am - 4:30pm 

Te Manawa Library

11 Kohuhu Lane




March 2021


Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog?

Part of what I do with business owners is help them focus on ways in which they can identify and improve their competitive advantage.  To keep on this track this post is about one of the fundamental strategies that provides the cornerstone of developing a sustainable competitive advantage over your competitors.  That strategy is, FOCUS.

Jim Collins in his classic book, Good to Great, retold the story of “The Hedgehog and the Fox”.  The fox knew many things, but the hedgehog knew one big thing. The fox was a cunning creature, able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks on the hedgehog.  Fast, sleek, beautiful, fleet of foot and crafty – the fox looked like a sure winner.  The hedgehog , on the other hand, was a dowdier creature.  He waddled along, going about his simple day, searching for lunch and taking care of his home.

One day the hedgehog wandered in front of the fox.  “Aha, I’ve got you now!” thinks the fox as he leapt out towards the hedgehog.  The hedgehog, sensing danger, rolled up into a perfect ball, sharp spikes poking out in all directions.  The fox retreated back into the forest to plan a new line of attack.  Time and time again the fox tried different ways to attack the hedgehog, but every time the hedgehog won by following the same, roll into a spiky ball strategy.

So, what has this got to do with business?  Well, lots actually.  Jim Collins used this parable to classify companies as either hedgehogs or foxes.  A hedgehog company generally had a crystal clear understanding of what they can be the BEST in the world at, the single key economic driver that had the biggest impact on their profitability and passion for what they do best.

Fox companies, on the other hand, were quick to jump on new opportunities, even if they were in a significantly different market to where they had most of their business and were more passionate about “doing the deal” than their core business.  Senior management were generally driven more by their egos.

Hedgehog companies generally outperformed similar sized fox ones in the same industry by many times over. The important message is that to be successful in the long term and develop a sustainable competitive advantage, you are better to focus on one thing that you CAN be the best at, even it appears to be rather boring in comparison to your flashy competitors’ try everything approach.

What is the hedgehog strategy in your business? What should you focus on and become the best at in your market? Deciding on this, and committing to use this as your yardstick when deciding on what tactics to employ, will help you build a more successful business and one that is simpler to manage.

Andy Burrows  -  The Trades Coach

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