Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Wayne Kennerley, Co-Owner of The Meat Box, located in East Tamaki, New Zealand.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We deliver Fresh, Export Quality Meat to your door. Our goal is to provide an affordable and easily accessible option for New Zealanders to enjoy the great quality meat New Zealand farmers produce, and with our focus on ensuring our meat is freshly cut to order, we believe our online meat offer is hard to beat. Not only that, but you can compliment your Meat Order with produce, beer, and wine, as well as complimentary grocery items. During seasons like Christmas, we offer Champagne Hams, Salmon, and even Turducken. We're a great solution for families looking for better quality meat and corporate gifting.

Tell us about yourself

My first interest in business was investing in the share market alongside my mother when I was 12. I saw how saving and investing money transformed our living standards over time. As I learned more about businesses, I wanted to own my own. Instead of owning a small share of a business with little influence, I wanted to own 100% and directly influence the outcome! What inspires me each day is making progress gradually chipping away at improving our offer for customers, improving efficiency, growing and developing our managers, and seeing a marketing campaign come to life.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When I was at University, I started a business that was later sold to a large corporate. Seeing the hard work (it was a 7-day-a-week business with early starts, which meant my social life at University was nonexistent) and the risk pay off was incredibly satisfying. Since then, I'm enjoying owning and living out what I thought could only be a dream, which is to own and operate a number of businesses where my wife and I get to dive in or out depending upon need/opportunities, but otherwise, our focus is on developing and coaching others to be the best they can be. It's amazing to see young leaders grow in confidence and their ability to one day become business owners themselves.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

What I find the hardest is when staff let you down. We are passionate about supporting and treating our team like a wider family. So when someone lets you down, it can sometimes make you question what you do and, in our case, what drives us. The great news is while there will inevitably be staff that let you down, the majority don't, and you also get just as many team members who surprise you with their ability to step up.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure the market you are entering is big enough to be worthwhile.
  2. Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices.
  3. Don't give up. You will have bad days and challenges, but remember your competition will likewise have those days and challenges too. It's how you respond to those challenges that matter.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Keep the end goal in mind. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget your end goal. Ideally, have a support network; it could be a person who you catch up with every so often. They don't have to be a 'mentor,' but if you have someone with a 1/2 glass full attitude who is willing to ask the tough questions, they can often keep you on track or simply help you think things through. In my case, I am incredibly lucky to have a wife who complements my weaknesses, supports my decision-making, and shares my passion. Without her, it just wouldn't be the same.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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