Nikki Connors, propelling herself onwards
Christchurch businesswoman Nikki Connors talks to Metropol editor Lynda Papesch about business battles, troubleshooting, and consolidation.
Thanks to her own investments, positive attitude, and hard work, property queen Nikki Connors is forging ahead after taxing times.
In 2022, the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) put two companies owned by Nikki and her son (unrelated to her foundation company, Propellor Property Investments), into liquidation after she rejected its proposal for a payment schedule on overdue taxes from the Covid-19 years.
Within a few months, she’d sorted the taxes, and just over a year later has almost resolved liquidation negotiations.
Consolidation, and getting the company she founded firmly back on track, has kept her busy, with Nikki and her constant companion, her dog Milo, regularly flying up and down the country.
“My head office is in Christchurch, but I do have an office in Ponsonby, Auckland, as that is my biggest market. So although my home is officially in Christchurch, I spend equal time in Auckland.”
Nikki spends two weeks here, two weeks there. “I was brought up in Auckland, and my family is there, but I have been based in Christchurch since starting Propellor [Property Investments] in 2009, so I feel very at home here. I cannot imagine that changing,” she explains.
Nikki points out that she’s not been alone suffering in the business stakes. “I think everyone has been through tough times with Covid-19, especially small businesses. The Government certainly didn’t give us the same support that Australia, the UK, or the US, gave companies. Imagine how the economic landscape would have looked if we had been given the same deals of interest free loans for up to 20 years?”
Unfortunately two of Nikki’s smaller companies paid the price. “From being hugely successful in their own right pre-Covid-19, I had to prop them up for the last three years which took its toll. I was disappointed I wasn’t given the extra time needed to get them back on track.”
Nikki says completing negotiations with the liquidators will put a line under her ‘annus horribilis’.
“Luckily the jewel in my crown – Propellor Property Investments – is a hardy and established business. For nearly 15 years, it has grown and survived earthquakes, the global financial crisis, and Covid-19, so it will certainly be around for another 15 years,” Nikki says.
Always an entrepreneur, Nikki learned years ago that sometimes you win and sometimes you have to start again. “Adversity breeds resilience and education,” she says. “Failure is not the end game, it’s just a learning experience.
“Many times during the last few years, I could have given up (running a business on your own can be lonely), but I have a wonderful company with a great reputation.
“I have clients who have come back repeatedly, so I have consolidated. I am concentrating on my core businesses, and future-proofing for unexpected occurrences, such as epidemics, and economic downturns.”
Her advice is not to forget that long-term, property will always continue to be a great investment. “The ability to sell some of the properties in my portfolio helped me weather the bad times.”
Weather them Nikki has, to the extent that she is currently looking at buying a second home outside of Nice, in France, where she usually spends most of July and August each year. Looking at property online is a favourite downtime habit, as are long walks with friends and their dogs.
On the job, she is actively involved in all the client strategies, sourcing investment properties, and running monthly webinars and seminars. Add in countrywide speaking engagements, plans to run a repeat of her previous three-month, free mentoring programme for entrepreneurial women, and taking clients away on Habitat for Humanity builds around the world.
The future promises to be as busy as the past for Nikki.