Irene Bennetts chose the name Admin Army for her business because she wanted something that wasn’t boring, something funky and with a fun personality – a good description for Irene actually.
Faced with the prospect of less challenging, status quo alternatives she took the leap into shaping her own entrepreneurial future, initially based out of her home patch in the Hawkes Bay, in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since.
From that starting point to the current army of 33 staff, has seen Irene’s vision of devoting her time to business development – “it’s what I love” – come true. And while being part of the Streamline Business Group wasn’t originally on the agenda that too has been about fulfilling the growing ambitions for Admin Army.
Hitching Admin Army to a larger group did mean “letting go” says Irene. “In a very real way that’s the experience that our client businesses have – the holding on to the belief that no one else will do things for your business as well as you can do. I had to let go of that perception myself, which is why my LinkedIn profile notes that I’m a reformed control freak!”
“I know I’m on the right pathway because of the way things have ‘clicked’ into place along the way. Some people might call it luck, however I think it’s more down to the fact that I’m always open to exploring new opportunities – something that past role models instilled in me.
“I think for me the big thing has always been about expanding my mindset from what I can see in front of me, to looking beyond. It has definitely helped me grow my strategic outlook. Things I never would have even considered, like Australia/UK expansion and not just for Admin Army, but being part of growing the wider group within that”.
“We’ve purposefully taken a ‘hire before we’re ready’ approach to ensure we can onboard the team well and set them up for success in the Admin Army way of doing things”.
Battling perceptions has been a constant in the conversations that Irene has been championing, to increase the regard and understanding people have of bookkeeping and of businss process outsourcing (BPO).
Irene has been correcting the ledger so that more and more people can grasp that bookkeeping can be successfully done remotely, a realisation in the industry that dealing with Covid has driven home.
Irene: “I no longer have to explain how it’s possible in every third sales call I have, whereas the mis-perceptions people have about BPO are 100% about stereotypes, some of which are because not all BPO has the team culture we have at Admin Army – one where if you’re in NZ, Fiji or India we’re all working together. And we don’t just become colleagues, we become friends”.
For Irene attaining the sense of having a zone of genius or ZOG, has three elements:
- It’s something you’re good at (For Irene that’s business development)
- It’s something that lights your fire on the inside – you love doing it (business development again!)
- It’s something that other people can recognise in you (and … business development!!)
“When I’m not walking my dog Gryff, I’m at my happiest when my days have a mix of sales calls (especially when they convert!), interacting with the team (whether that is for some specific training I’m providing or a meeting to discuss whatever the topic of the day is!), interacting with the wider team too”.
The two criteria for Admin Army recruitment are that you are someone who is ambitious and someone who defines themselves as a problem solver. For the sense of what the growing Admin Army team means for Irene you don’t have to look any further than the series of one-on-one videos being posted on the (highly recommended) Admin Army Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
An Admin Army snapshot, by the numbers:
|6 in NZ|
1 in Australia
16 in Fiji
10 in India and growing
|2.5 Sales & Management|
7 Accounting Practice Support
5.5 Virtual Assistants (VA)
Fun fact about Irene – “I’m a huge fan of outsourcing as much life admin as I can. My latest discovery is outsourcing the chopping of onions after finding out that you can buy frozen pre-chopped onions at the supermarket”.
- Team size is now 33
Split a slightly different way
One of my key drivers is to get people (business as a whole) excited about bookkeeping. So many people have the perception that it is “just data entry”, but it is so much more than that. It’s time to change the way this vital role is viewed.”
What is a reformed control freak?
Magical bucket of general admin
What 3 items would you take if you’re stranded on an island.
On LinkedIn last year you posted “5 years ago Admin Army wasn’t even on my radar and to see what it has grown to in this time continues to amaze me”.
Getting to know the team videos.
Topic of burnout
Is there a story behind the naming of Admin Army? the Admin Army logo?
I can be found exploring the countryside with Gryff; or rereading the Harry Potter books (books > movies) and creating HP Lego masterpieces (I’m a big fan!).
A German Shepherd/Husky by breeding: Gryff joined the team in August 2016 and has been running office demolitions ever since. He’s also Head of Document Destruction and takes care of our social club.
When Gryff isn’t hard at work being a personality to be reckoned with; he can be found chasing his ball, doing tricks for treats, or hunting sky grapes.
Hawkes Bay – case studies
STEPHANIE, 23 May:
Sorry you were the first email of the day then you got buried.
These share holder and staff newsletters are the first of their kind. Going forward the timing for these will be
– out to staff 6-weeks after the end of each quarter
– content to you 4-weeks after the end of each quarter
Ie. you and I have 2-weeks to turn the copy and creative around – my part is the easier part as we have an approved look for these now.
The curly part is that there will be more content following the end of the half year quarter (September) and full year end (March) so we need to ensure that our dance cards are kept free for those as there will be a lot more in these issues.
Can you tell me where you are at with the adaptation of the shareholders newsletter into the staff newsletter? This is something Craig is very keen to get completed asap. The look for the staff newsletter differs to the Shareholder – more of our What, How, Who look n feel, like with the adaptation of the copy.