It's not everyday you organise a giant knitted jersey to be sent to England for a Rugby World Cup event, or send an Antarctic snow machine to Nouméa to groom sand beaches, but that's exactly what freight forwarder Alex Gukalo does for a job.
These are just a couple of the more unusual items his company Easyfreight has shipped, but thanks to the tools gained from completing a Certificate in Applied Business Growth, deliveries remain on the increase.
Alex arrived from Russia in 2005 with a background in logistics and while working for a shipping firm he had an idea to be his own boss.
In 2010, he met customs broker Max Sherstobitov and the two partnered up their different but related fields and set off as an independent company with just five clients.
"We were advertising through Google ads, going to different events and became members of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, but we were lacking in managerial experience,” said Alex.
“We'd been operating for a while and were ready to make another step and grow a bit. Then we saw in Newmarket, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa offering great courses that were exactly what we needed."
Initially they signed up for the Certificate in Small Business Management before they were transferred to Applied Business Growth based on their experience. Even so, they found the few small business classes they did attend, valuable.
The vision they came up with then is still their vision today.
"Doing the course has helped a lot to understand processes. By using the knowledge we received from that time to now, growth profit-wise has doubled in digits, 24 to 30 percent growth per year."
They now have also employed three customer service employees to deal with more than 150 clients, mostly working in the small to medium import-export business sector.
"People are different, experiences are different, (the) approach is different and the ways to get clients is different. Service is so important in New Zealand, you can't afford to lose a single client.”
"Marketing was where we really got a lot out of the course. How to advertise properly and put yourself out there so people can see, that was the most valuable. How to show customers our best side."