Exceptional Entrepreneur: Mark Berryman

Since starting his first business at the ripe age of 20, Mark Berryman has gone from strength to strength. He currently has a staff of over 50 people and his business has featured on the Deloitte Fast 50 index twice. On top of that, he's been contributing resources to Habitat for Humanity and was a finalist in the Young New Zealander of the Year Awards. So if you haven't yet, it's time to meet this ambitious and hard working entrepreneur.

Can you tell me a little about how you started your business and how you got it to where it is today?

I started SO Renovate when I was 20 years young, just after completing my building apprenticeship. We positioned ourselves in the renovation market, providing the full comprehensive service of design, council consents, project management and building for families who want to add more space or modernise their home.

For many years we were pretty much doubling in size every year and we now have around 50-60 staff, with a full management structure in place. While we are not doubling each year in our renovation company, we have started in the business of new homes (Selah Homes) and property development.

Have you found your young age to be an advantage in business or a challenge?

My age was a real challenge, particularly when I was in my early 20s and I had to deal with sub-contractors and clients two or three times my age - not everyone took me seriously. 

It's been ten years since I started, and many times I felt like giving up but I had the bigger picture in mind and great people around me. I think my passion and hard work made up for what I lacked in age. So now at the end of a week when I’m worn out and don’t have much energy, drinking my scotch in front of some Netflix, I'll say to my wife how I feel like I'm 40 years old not 30.

You were ranked in the top 20 in the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2013 and 2014 – what was it like to be part of this index?

This did wonders for our company - through all the growing pains, it really brought a sense of acknowledgement to the team for what they had achieved. For the company, it’s a great credibility point to tell our customers about too. Deloitte does a great job keeping us in check and we have development some fantastic ongoing relationships.

You’re working a lot with Habitat for Humanity, especially in the Pacific Islands. Can you tell us about this and why you enjoy working with this particular charity so much?

Before I started my business, we wanted to help others particularly through aid work. I knew that to make a real difference I needed to build up my own people and financial resources to make a real difference. So for 15 years now we have been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand and all over the world.

Over the last two years I spent a great deal of time in Samoa, helping to oversee a project of 270 houses that we’re building. We also sponsored eight of our builders to go over last year.

This year I was a finalist in the Young New Zealand of the Year Awards, for my involvement with Habitat for Humanity and business leadership. I love seeing people who are less fortunate than us be given a decent place to live and I will be giving even more back in coming years. 

What would you tell others trying to grow their business?

Don’t give up! And get a paid professional business coach. If you’re a top athlete you have a coach so when you injure yourself or lose badly you can get back up and keep going until you're successful! It's the same in business. 

My last bit of advice is work hard, play hard. You’ve got to sacrifice a lot, but make sure you have plenty of fun on the way.


04 August, 2017 by Emily McLean,

Emily McLean

Emily McLean

Emily McLean works in the Deloitte marketing team and closely with Deloitte Private. She loves telling the stories of those individuals and businesses leaving their mark in New Zealand's SME space while delivering news and insights to help business owners grow their companies. 

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