At BizCover we seek to recognise and reward small business owners who go above and beyond for their customers. For counsellors like Martin, their clients and the mental health services they provide are their number one priority.
The $2000 BizGiver grant is awarded each quarter to better the lives of small business owners and facilitate growth through a product or service. During our selection process, we provide a space for small business owners to share their story and tell us how they plan to use the grant. At BizCover, we take this grant seriously. We share all the finalists’ stories with our staff and invite everyone to vote for who they think should receive the grant.
Congratulations to Martin Sloman for being the latest recipient of the BizGiver New Zealand grant. Martin has Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance combined with BizCover, as he believes it is a great value for money policy. We are proud to support Martin’s business journey!
We interviewed Martin about his passion for providing counselling services and the significance of his wish. Here is his story.
Why did you start your business?
Prior to being a counsellor, I was an IT Manager in the UK – a career that lasted 20 years. Even then I felt there was more I wanted to do to help others, so I volunteered for various charities including The Samaritans, a Mental Health Outreach Charity and a drug and alcohol drop-in centre. This was still not enough to scratch the itch, so I retrained as a counsellor (whilst still working in my IT role) and qualified in 2004. I then worked in both roles (which was interesting) from 2002 to 2009 before coming to Aotearoa and switching full time into mental health. Financially not the most lucrative move, but certainly better for the soul!
Why did you enter the BizGiver competition? Why did you wish for your particular wish?
These COVID times have meant we have all had to embrace working differently. Many people have been unable to access vital mental health support ironically at a time when they may need it more. For many therapists, computers are normally only used for admin, and all my gear is second hand. I realised that if I wanted to continue to operate, I needed to be more available in a virtual sense.
How will winning this prize help your business?
It means I can “see” more people without the confines of unstable technology and ensure a purer client interaction with different opportunities to work with people who want the help. It also means I can be available to clients literally anywhere – even Kiwis who are living abroad.
What does being a small business owner mean to you?
Independence and autonomy are really important to me within my professional framework. My work is very relationship focused and so having the ability to streamline what I do is key. I am literally not hamstrung or distracted by other organisational requirements and can focus on serving my clients to the best of my ability.
Why do you love your job?
I love my job because I love to see people grow, develop and thrive. I’ve been privileged to walk alongside people coming from dark places and see them transform into special versions of themselves. There is no greater feedback than this.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time? What are your growth goals?
I would like to work across a wider geographic area, including overseas. I live and work in a small community and it would be nice not to always bump into former or current clients – both for them and for me. I think the possibility of seeing people from different locations will give me an insight into the different flavours of struggle out there.
What are the biggest challenges your business faces? Will winning the prize help?
Winning the prize helps massively. Counsellors will never be rich and often we do work on the cheap or pro bono as it is a heart industry. Balancing the needs of my whanau and helping others is always a challenge and this grant takes a load off of my plate in terms of paying for this technology!
What have been your biggest achievements?
In 2010 I co-founded “Whirlwind,” a men’s mental health charity, and in 2020 founded the Kapiti Kindness Trust which is focused on encouraging kindness within the Kapiti community. In 2019 I was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to mental health. I have been privileged to work supporting others for over 20 years. None of this could have been achieved with a great mentor and the love and support of my wife and family.
For more information, please visit: http://www.martinslomancounselling.co.nz
Whirlwind Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whirlwindstories
Kapiti Kindness Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kapitikindness
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