Leading With Integrity

DRAWING ON YEARS OF EXPERIENCE in managing businesses both in and outside the real estate industry, Stone Real Estate Founder and CEO Peter Mumford explains why he would like to create a new ‘norm’ in real estate leadership.

FOR MANY YEARS I have thought the property industry needs more ethical leadership and integrity, starting right from the top. This urgent need for a better way forward has arisen, in my opinion, from so many businesses not offering agents and franchisees the chance to fulfil their true potential.

I started my first business, The Blue Rock Catering & Events Group, from home. Within five years it was the largest boutique caterer in Sydney, with more than 1,000 casual personnel staffing dozens of events across the city.

Crave Coffee Plantation and Coffee Roasters was my next venture. Here I learned about branding, adapting to change and how to handle major challenges, such as finding all our 33,000 coffee trees dying of frost – on my 40th birthday – and having to start all over again.

Real estate caught my attention about three years later, when I rebranded Charles Park Insight Real Estate and then opened up McGrath’s first franchise, establishing the business on the Northern Beaches. I grew agent numbers from three to 30 in only two years, plus opened multiple offices. Any business is a long journey; I saw the great benefits in regularly reviewing each aspect of your operation, while caring for your team and looking for ways to lift and inspire those with whom you work. It instilled in me the importance of scalability, performance and leading from the front.

Every place you work teaches you something amazing.

You have to be open to this and take the best parts of each experience.

As a leader, you must look after your people. Over the years I have witnessed many situations where people have been let down. This made me determined that my own agency, Stone, would operate differently.

They say if you think you can do a better job, you should. My new goal is to shift ‘the norm’; we aim to unite franchisees rather than divide them, encouraging them to collaborate and share information through a centralised database where it’s possible to have exclusive and/or larger territories.

One size doesn’t fit all. Stone has offered from day one a variety of attractive equity and ownership models – some unique to us – to recruit the best, most entrepreneurial, talented agents and franchisees. For instance, we offer agents a percentage of ownership of any property management assets they refer to the business, instead of a one-off fee – a wealth creation tool that I believe will change how the real estate industry operates.

At Stone our goal is to ensure all new franchisees and agents are offered clear mentoring and business guidance. Much of our leadership focuses on broadening a newcomer’s outlook and pinpointing opportunities. Many people don’t realise what is actually possible for themselves or their businesses.

For this reason we developed a comprehensive training program using Stone’s exclusive business growth manuals. There is virtually nothing like this program elsewhere in the industry and newcomers are truly embracing it. Run by internal and external coaches, newcomers are shown precise steps that will take their businesses to levels they either did not think possible or know how to achieve.

Our sole database will eventually be Australia-wide, providing a superior system for our agents, principals and especially the consumer. In property management, for example, you can have one relationship manager look after all your landlord’s properties right across Australia. Consumers benefit by streamlining all the different conversations with different property managers. No more multiple phone calls from agents! The benefit to the franchisee is the opportunity to expand their rent roll beyond the geographic area they would normally be able to service.

Stone Real Estate aims to provide a fairer way of doing business, one that’s more rewarding and ultimately more profitable for franchisees, agents and consumers, while opening minds to new possibilities.

Visit stonerealestate.com.au for information about franchising opportunities with the group

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Peter Mumford

Peter Mumford is the Founder and CEO of Stone Real Estate. For more information about Stone Real Estate visit stonerealestate.com.au.