A bedroom, a fold-out desk, a laptop and a whole lot of work ethic was all Daniel Erez had when he started Newground Property in 2009. The business is a specialist property firm which provides access to “off market” A-grade investment properties to investors.
Having previously worked as a real estate agent and then in a financial planning firm, he realised there was a gap in the market for property investment advice when colleagues started asking him to “scout around the market” for property options to present to their clients.
He started the business by doing a lot of cold calling to find clients and after six months he’d established a core clientele. One of his “big breaks” was when Erez worked with a client who let him pick up other clients in his helicopter from Sydney airport.
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Now, Newground Property has six employees, its own office in Brisbane and last financial year had a turnover of $2.5 million. SmartCompany spoke to Erez about the challenges of hiring the right staff, attracting and keeping clients and differentiating the business from its competitors.
Name: Daniel Erez
Company: Newground Property
Erez starts his days with a gym session at 7am, a task that’s made easier by living 10 minutes from his office.
“After the gym, I head to the local café for breakfast and this is where I collect my thoughts before heading into the office.
“Once I’m at the office the team comes together for about five minutes and this works as a bit of a briefing if you like.”
Erez says the staff meet each morning to discuss everyone’s tasks for the day and what goals need to be achieved.
“It also gives it the feeling that everyone is doing something together,” Erez says.
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to spend a large chunk of their day in meetings, and Erez is no different.
“Meetings and unfortunately emails take up the most of my time. I don’t have a personal assistant, so there is a lot of actionables which require me to type up an email or respond to things and there are a lot of contracts to go through,” he says.
When Erez started the business he says he feels like he was doing everything, but now he focuses on three or four main tasks.
Having grown significantly in the last few years, Erez says he no longer needs to cold call and most of his clients now come from referrals.
“Most of the business stems from inbound referrals from people who have dealt with us before. Builders, our solicitors and our selling partners often give us referrals and now we’re at a stage where we can focus on delivering a good service and a good product.”
Measuring data and analysing the business metrics, Erez says, is critical, and he evaluates the business on a weekly basis.
“Time and time again we’ve used the data to make decisions about the direction of the business which have turned out to be good decisions because we’ve had this knowledge.
“Each week I look at the new sales, number of active selling partners, the bank account, cash flow and the property market trends. We also measure and analyse everything every month and every quarter as we have a key performance indicator report and look at things like how many things we’ve published, the number of projects, sales and unconditional contracts and also the value of contracts and what’s in the pipeline,” he says.
As well as measuring his own business’s figures, Erez says examining the market trends is fundamental to the business and he’s constantly examining the property market.
At the moment, Erez says the property market in Brisbane is starting to experience a similar return to form to what has been seen in Melbourne and Sydney, although buyers are still wary.
“There are more people out and about looking, but there still is a degree of uncertainty among the buyers. Everyone believes the government is a foregone conclusion and they think this will be a major catalyst for change to bring the property market back to what it was,” he says.
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