Living Local, Working Global
Posted 5 October 2017
by Adam Harris
The bright lights of Auckland, Sydney or London can be a real draw card for young business people. But how does Hawke’s Bay stack up as a viable alternative?
Napier-based businessmen Adam Harris and Sam Murdoch believe they have the best of both worlds; a thriving website development company in Hawke’s Bay with a local, national and international client base. It’s a global approach to business that ensures their company, and their clients, stay competitive and relevant in the market.
Adam founded NZ Digital in late 2011, with Sam joining the business in 2012. Originally based in Hastings, head office was moved to Napier a year ago to share a collaborative office space, Inc & Co.
Like many business people, Adam could easily have moved to Auckland or Sydney, instead opted to stay in Hawke’s Bay.
“I get to spend quite a bit of time in Auckland, both for work and socially and I love it. But I also love a short commute to work on a nice sunny day. I have plenty of friends from other cities visit Napier and they remind me how lucky I am to live and work here.”
For Adam and Sam, the move to Napier has given them an “energy boost” and both are strong advocates of shared office spaces. Inc & Co is also home to Adam’s brother Matthew Harris and Simon Griggs’ business Property Tax Returns and a band of freelancers. The space is designed to inspire creativity with an open plan layout, local artists’ work on the walls, a foosball soccer table, table tennis and craft beer on tap from local brewery Zeelandt.
The collaborative approach has had a major impact on the fast growth of their business.
“It provides us with the opportunity to get a different perspective to how we can solve a solution for our clients. To have people here that look at things differently to us is a huge advantage,” says Adam.
Fully spec’d for growth, last year the men moved the hosting of their websites from a global shared storage facility to a fully managed and dedicated virtual private server (VPS), based out of Auckland.
The result has been dramatic. It means the websites they host don’t run the risk of grinding to a halt or crashing due to other users on the server.
“We wanted to manage our own risk when it came to hosting client websites. This means that our websites load much faster than others and we are in control of the whole environment. Security is also paramount, so we are developing more and more websites that are a total business solution for clients.
“We are also specialising more on eCommerce websites that are fully integrated into a business and include Vend and Xero links. We see the online retailing space in New Zealand is set to grow and we see this as a huge opportunity,” says Adam.
Both men see Napier as “more conducive” for creative businesses, especially in the web space.
“The biggest issue is flights in and out of the region,” says Adam. “It’s too costly to make a last minute decision to fly to Auckland or Wellington so you have to book too far in advance to get a good deal. And it’s not just hard for business but also for just getting away.”
Like others in their age group, the pair likes to stay informed when it comes to issues affecting their business and their region, and amalgamation is one such topic.
“When it comes to having a say on things like amalgamation, we will vote but we’ll not be actively involved. It’s important that we know what the benefits and negatives are of issues like amalgamation as it’s important to our region’s growth.
“But most importantly, we are focused on expanding our client base even further and setting up a satellite office in Auckland. It’s a dynamic industry and being based in Hawke’s Bay we see as very positive.”
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