Lessons learnt her business


Maree Gooch and husband Neil haven't been afraid to think outside the square.

When they farmed in Bremer Bay, they bred superfine Merinos, grew certified seed potatoes and sold wool direct to China before it was the norm.

At the same time, Maree, using her experience from working at Tourism WA, started a bed and breakfast and a restaurant before they decided to sell up and go broadacre cropping in Beverley.

Now the mother of three is turning her hand to bringing professional and business development opportunities to the bush.

A few years ago, the couple threw everything to the wind and took their children 34,000km around Australia before settling in Falcon where Maree completed a master of business administration at the University of WA.

The experience was life changing.

The lessons learnt during the course are what Maree wants to share with rural and regional WA, especially farming and small business.

Planning for the future, ensuring strategic and business planning are aligned with improved financial performance are key.

Maree is working with organisations, including the Institute of Company Directors and Murdoch University's Executive Education Centre, which are excited about bringing their courses to regional centres.

"They are going to turn their own education model on its head and not just deliver in the city but to rural areas," Maree said.

Her latest efforts also tie in with her business, Belay Consulting, which provides facilitation services, coaching and strategic and business planning to farmers and rural businesses.

Belay Consulting also writes business plans for time-poor clients.

"Our ultimate driver is to help provide support to clients to identify and achieve their goals," Maree said.

Maree is also a director of the Rural Business Development Corporation, which administers support schemes on behalf of the Federal and State governments.

One of the schemes, The Grow Zone, enables potential high achievers in agriculture and food-related industries to work through a business case and facilitated program with mentoring from top business leaders in WA.

"It has been an outstanding success both internally and externally in the industry for the past three years," Maree said.

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