With the 2014 My Business Awards edging closer, here we chat to Warwick Williams, Founder of Sydney-based Warwick Williams Real Estate, the 2013 My Business Award winner in the Best Employer category, sponsored by the SME Association of Australia. Pictured in the photos below is Adrian Sereni, Property Consultant at Warwick Williams Real Estate, who represented the business at the Awards night in Williams' absence.
My Business: Why did you start your own business?
Warwick Williams: 36 years ago when I was looking to purchase a property of my own, I was surprised with the low level of service in the marketplace. I realised there was much room for improvement within the industry. I wanted to treat customers with the same respect and level of service that I would like to receive. I set a new benchmark for a higher calibre of service, which I’m still proud of.
MB: How has your business evolved since its inception?
WW: Since we started, the business has grown from three team members to over 40 across two offices. This growth was experienced both organically and through acquisitions. Over the years we’ve transformed the business into one that now holds a high reputation within the industry and the community – as a result, 80 per cent of our business is repeat clients or referrals.
MB: What business challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
WW: Attracting quality team members. In an industry where your team members are the ‘face’ of your business, this is of paramount importance. The challenge is finding quality team members whose values reflect our own, and are simultaneously capable of being part of a high performing team.
MB: What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
WW: Quite simply, starting my own business. Taking that enormous leap of faith.
MB: What does it mean for you to be recognised as a My Business Award winner in 2013?
WW: We are humbled by this Award. In an industry that has such a high level of turnover and volatility, we have established ourselves as a unique operator, providing a working environment that allows our team to perform constantly at high levels. High staff retention has made this environment and culture possible – a number of our team have been with me for over 25 years.
MB: Why did you enter the 2013 My Business Awards?
WW: It was actually a member of our team who took the initiative themselves to nominate our company for the Award. This is humbling.
MB: How did you find the event at Marquee at The Star?
WW: The event at Marquee was superb – we had a great time.
MB: What are your most effective work habits?
WW: Ability to network and build relationships with our community (both personal and in business). Also, our discipline to persevere through thick and thin, the good times and the challenging, and to come out on the other end every time.
MB: What’s your key to great leadership?
WW: To lead by example. Also, to trust the quality and capability of my team. Take a genuine interest in their lives and provide as much support to them as possible at all times – whether that be professional, financial or personal.
MB: Share with us some of your bigger successes.
WW: We’ve grown our property management division and can proudly say we manage over 2,000 properties – making us one of the largest agencies in Sydney’s inner west. We’ve set the highest sale price in six suburbs through the inner west at a given point. We’ve grown to a size where we can afford to generously give back to the community that made us what we are today – through numerous local charities, and also for chairing the Red Shield Appeal for the inner west for over 20 years. Creating an attractive and positive culture and work environment – our team wake up of a morning and actually look forward to coming to the office!
MB: Do you have a business motto?
WW: Without discipline, there is no success. Without perseverance, there is no reward.
MB: Looking ahead, how’s the outlook for your business?
WW: We have a new, younger breed of team members coming through the ranks. With their knowledge, energy and passion, the years ahead are looking great.
MY BUSINESS CONGRATULATES WARWICK WILLIAMS REAL ESTATE ON BEING A DESERVING MY BUSINESS AWARD WINNER IN 2013.