Know When It Is Time To Quit

These immortal words contained within Kenny Roger’s 1978 hit song ‘The Gambler’ may not have been written about business, but the words certainly have relevance to the business landscape at this time. Our national attitude of perseverance and determination is a real source of pride for us as kiwis, but when pushed too far, this attitude can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.

As a credit consultant, I am often called in too late to a business where the wheels have fallen off, and the hubs, axles, and chassis are dragging on the ground. Undeterred, the owner tells me that if they could only get a bit of funding, they would be able to get through the struggle and make the business great again. Now there are instances where this is true – for example when an unforeseen event like Covid or an earthquake occurs, and the “business as usual” model is not practical for some time. In many cases, this is not so, and the short-term fix will not correct the long-term problems. Systemic business issues will often be more evident in times of stress or turmoil, highlighting problems already there.

The solution isn’t always working more, rather than analysing and addressing the issues, business owners often think they need to work more and find more clients. If your business issues are ones such as miscalculated margins or poorly managed projects, these will only be made worse by volume. Upscaling profits and upscaling problems often look the same from an input perspective but are vastly different from an output one if the underlying issues are not found and corrected.

Having an impartial business advisor or mentor periodically look over your systems and processes could point out these problem areas before they become business killers. Often, however, I am called in after the issues have grown into monsters and the overworked owner is putting massive effort into putting out fires, and a decision must be made. Do they carry on working themselves half to death until someone else, such as the IRD or an unpaid creditor, decides it is time for them to stop through a liquidation? Or do they pause, see the situation for what it is and make an exit plan that leaves them intact from a financial and reputation perspective. In business, people have long memories and bowing out gracefully without a legion of unpaid creditors and crippling personal debt is much easier to come back from than the alternative.

Loans given to struggling businesses are nearly always very high in interest. Given the probably insolvent position of the applicant business, loans will be secured with, at the very least, a personal guarantee and probably a security over personal assets such as property. I have seen business owners lose houses, go bankrupt, and ruin their lives. I have even seen a few unfortunate cases where the business owners took their own lives for simply not knowing when to call it quits.

If you are ever in the position where the options are to cease business or go all in with everything you have, take some time with an independent advisor that can give you the cold hard facts regarding the business’ real-world chances of survival before you leap. Your life may very well depend on it. Just a thought.


Get in touch with us for guaranteed terms and conditions of trade.
Brooke Ahern
Lower North Island Manager

Based on the Kapiti Coast in Wellington, with over ten years of success as a strategic, hands-on leader, Brooke Ahern brings a wealth of experience over his career, driving innovative revenue growth and profitability for his organisations. As Brooke progressed through his career, he developed a reputation for being creative and executing high-profile product marketing and growth strategies. These have significantly impacted an organisation’s bottom line.

After ten years of management experience ranging from business development manager to chief revenue officer for a large company, Brooke joined Debt Free Limited in 2022 after observing and experiencing the difficulties in obtaining and managing business documentation. Brooke saw an opportunity to provide New Zealand businesses with industry-leading credit-checking tools and documentation they need to mitigate/prevent future risk.

Brooke has a proven record of going above and beyond for his clients, and we are excited to have him a part of the team here at Debt Free

[email protected] | 0212262563

Mark McLachlan

Mark is an expert with ten years of experience dealing exclusively with business documentation and credit management processes. He has completed a New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services Level 5 qualification and consulted with thousands of companies, saving his clients millions.

Mark founded Debt Free in 2021 as he is passionate about helping New Zealand companies to succeed and flourish by getting paid their hard-earned money while avoiding typical issues faced in their industry. He has immense knowledge of real-life cases and how tailored credit management processes can prevent debt, address the unique demands of a wide range of industries, and remove risks and liabilities relevant to business activities.

Attending association and organisation speeches, Mark is a respected figure in the credit management industry and is a member of the New Zealand credit and finance institute.

[email protected].nz | 021 283 9027

Add Name
Lorem Ipsum Dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Imperdiet turpis ultrices ut nulla scelerisque. Phasellus posuere tristique suspendisse suspendisse at id blandit. Elit, pellentesque eget metus, massa ut mi pellentesque. Luctus libero consequat facilisi tortor volutpat morbi blandit pellentesque urna.

Mauris semper ut sed eu. Pellentesque metus integer pretium arcu velit aliquet maecenas feugiat. Nec pretium dolor vitae ultricies. Tellus morbi cursus tortor et diam amet blandit varius. Ut nisi pulvinar eget maecenas est pretium. Pellentesque eget amet posuere a faucibus condimentum pulvinar amet. Phasellus sed feugiat dignissim commodo ultrices.

[email protected] | 0212839027

Josh Whitehouse
South Island Manager

Growing up in Taranaki, Josh worked in business consulting for eight years, delivering successful solutions to his clients before relocating to Christchurch and joining Debt Free in early 2022 to look after the beautiful South Island.

Josh is a trusted and valued team member specialising in business documentation, business development, credit management and account management. He has helped the companies he consulted with to implement best practice credit management processes and saved individual clients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Josh entered this space for one reason, his absolute love and adoration for people and a passion for helping others to achieve greatness in business and life.

Josh’s business motto is “there is untapped greatness in all of us. Sometimes we just need a little help to cultivate it.”

[email protected].nz0272722132


Rana searle
Office Manager

Rana started as an Office Manager when she was only a teenager and has extensive experience across many different industries, including building, horticulture and healthcare. She is a great communicator, an avid list maker, and always plans things well in advance.

Rana is super helpful, caring and kind and is a perfectionist when it comes to documentation. She has an incredible eye for detail and thrives on getting stuck in and succeeding. Rana prides herself on being people-focused, loves motivating others to be their best and always puts her client’s needs first as she genuinely cares and wants the best outcome.

Rana is always smiling, has a proven track record, is a natural-born leader who loves managing a team and genuinely loves to help whenever and wherever she can. She is passionate about our purpose to make sure New Zealand businesses flourish and grow. Rana loves being able to help the people behind those businesses feel safe and secure to succeed and is a big part of the Debt Free team.

[email protected] | 0212226425