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Tech of a Life Edition 4: Lessons in leadership
EweMove is one of the UK’s most distinctive and successful national sales and lettings agency franchises. Bringing decades of business experience to the role, Nick Neill is currently shepherding EweMove towards exciting pastures new – growing the brand, technology and processes behind the scenes that make it a success. Drawing on years of experience, Nick shared with us his words of wisdom on how to successfully lead a business whilst also achieving personal goals.
What is your vision for EweMove?
“Our vision is to bring a customer focus to the agenda. Estate Agencies work best when customers are put at the heart of operations, and at EweMove we’re doing just that. We have now reached a point where we know we can deliver excellent results for customers, so the next step is to grow the franchise over the coming years. We now have evidence that offering first-class service creates good outcomes for both the customers and the agents – so the next step is growth.”
Do you have a vision for yourself and your own career?
“Yes, but my vision has changed as I have progressed through my career. I was always corporate career minded as a youngster, but in my mid-40s I took the plunge and became self-employed – which was brave because I was at my highest earning level, but I wanted to test myself. I bought a business franchise, and it was very successful for over three years, and I learnt a lot about scaling and growing a business in that time.
“When I first came across EweMove, I loved the brand and had a strong vision of how I could take it to another level. Since then, as Managing Director, I have used my knowledge of driving growth to make it profitable, stable and grow the brand which is fundamental to the DNA of the business. My long-term vision is that I’d like to take on some non-executive directorships with growing businesses to support them in scaling-up.”
Do you have any advice for an agency looking to expand?
“If you’re planning to scale your business, you need to think about whether you’re scaling problems or opportunities. Whatever your set-up is in the current business, it will be replicated if you expand. I have always calculated how much revenue the business is generating per employee when deciding whether we’re at a point where we can grow.
“My rule of thumb is that a business should be generating three times someone’s salary before it takes the next step. If you’re already achieving those numbers, then yes, consider expanding but remember every person you bring in on the journey needs to generate similar numbers. We work in a cash hungry industry with tight margins, so its important agents keep their eye on the numbers to see them through atypical periods like an interest rate hike or when everyone goes on holiday.”
What would be your advice to Estate Agents who want to lead with a clear vision?
“Don’t do anything at all until your focus is on the customer. First you must focus on the customer, this is where the money comes from. Invest time and energy finding out what they want and need, then you can work out how you can deliver that securely and profitably. A shocking statistic I came across recently claimed 50% of customer enquiries to Estate Agents go unanswered.
“I have seen it myself where agencies invest more and more money in marketing or tech before they’ve addressed the captive audience they already have. Future-focussed Estate Agents need to focus on the customers that are already engaging with them before trying to improve elsewhere.”