Gavin McPherson started as a property developer, but quickly found more business in becoming a buyer’s agent. The unexpected turn led him to start his property development and purchasing business Oasis Property, which turns over between $3-4 million.
McPherson spoke to SmartCompany about changing directions, how he makes sure the business stays so lean, and being paranoid enough to avoid bad decisions.
My background is as a buyer’s agent. I quickly found in property to appear to give the best advice, you had to be personally wealthy. I have competitors who might be sweating over the next car payment and are anxious about a deal that’s on the line.
I’m not inclined to do that. I’m more inclined to wait out for clients to get a better deal because I don’t have that interest.
I’m a paranoid guy. I’m paranoid about the markets, because we’re still at the mercy of the market and we just have to accept that.
I started up by accident. I wanted to be a property developer, and I did research in the mid- to late-1990s while studying for an MBA. I had a host of properties at the time, and I just didn’t have the cashflow to support the business.
People started asking me if I could find them properties. I thought it was a job that wasn’t sustainable, but I had to say yes.
I got so busy doing it. That’s how Oasis as a company formed; because I was able to merge the elements of all these businesses.
I’m a good manager, and am becoming better. I’m very focused on becoming better. As a small business owner you have to handle five, six or seven hats. It’s difficult when you have other people responsible for doing things.
If we said yes to every opportunity, we’d be broke by the end of the day. Filtering the opportunities is hard – and also filtering your time. I’m constantly opening myself up to appointments for people so I can hear them out.
We have assets in excess of $8 million. We own the back end of our business. As a shareholder I have property, my back-end portfolio I develop myself, but this is the cash flow vehicle to do that.
Property is a high margin business. But I understand we won’t get away with our margins forever as people try to mimic our system of working, which is minimal.
We own our building. We have one secretary, and one employee who sits on the finance department. We can easily plug gaps here. We have a centralised office.
We’re moving away from general business to other opportunities. At the moment, there is no need to go any further, but I am prospecting the likelihood of a Melbourne office in three to four years’ time.
I never actively look for property. But I just bought a block of eight units a client said no to. I could do that sort of thing forever. One of the most disappointing things we encounter is a good property without a buyer.