Vitor Paiva Managing Director of Engel & Völkers Comporta Agency answers the following 10 questions:
1. What did you do before opening your own Engel & Völkers agency?
I studied telecommunications engineering at the Instituto Superior Técnico. I worked for about twenty years in the communications industry for US companies, including Anixter, Cisco Systems, and Avaya. Since 2014, with the change of residence to my holiday home in Comporta, I left Lisbon, with a personal and professional objective to start a business in this area. Initially, as my first option, I considered opening a beach restaurant, but since I didn't have any realistic goals I didn't follow that up. After various business ventures, I dedicated myself to real estate by opening my own agency in Comporta.
2. Why did you decide to start your own business?
For the past twenty years I have developed a series of skills and experience in managerial positions that have enriched me personally and professionally. Given my age, the stage of my life came when I decided to invest all my professional effort in a personal project developed with a strategy and business plan, with my total determination and with the goal of bringing added value to the market. After launching the business model and the potential of the Alentejo coast, I started looking for a business partner that could complement my personal and professional skills, with an international and prestigious brand that would make it possible to take this “corner” of Portugal to the world.
3. Which aspects were the most relevant when choosing to invest in a brand such as Engel & Völkers?
After getting to know and developing some of the best known brands out there, I found Engel & Völkers in the "Amigo Google" and right away I realised that the brand shared an ideal vision in terms of the exclusivity and professionalism of this market. Its high segment positioning and recognition, with 800 offices and presence in over 30 countries were the decisive KPIs (key performance indicator).
4. What is most important to you when leading a team of real estate agents?
Always lead by example and give the agent enough responsibility and independence so that he can contribute his best to the benefit of the team. In order to successfully manage a team, it is essential to have a strategy that everyone knows about and work together as a team on a daily basis with a genuine commitment - not just words- to move forward.
5. What aspects do you consider when selecting estate agents for your team?
The recruitment process is based primarily on three factors: personality, teamwork and industry experience. When considering and making choices I am flexible about lack of experience however I have a strict policy on everything else when selecting an agent for my team.
6. What are the main benefits of a brand like Engel & Völkers for the franchisees?
The know-how gained from over 40 years of experience in the segment, its global success, brand recognition and focus on exclusivity.
7. What sets your agency apart from competitors in your area?
I never ignore the competition. I am attentive and in order to have the best prospect in the market but I have a goal and will follow it through. I am fully focused on my objectives.
8. What advice would you give to a franchisee who is about to open their first Engel & Völkers agency?
Before starting any business it is crucial to validate the viability and business model. Once you have this information together with the Engel & Volkers brand, then the most important part of your work is complete. You should make an effort into finding the right staff.
9. What aspects should an investor look into when buying an agency?
In addition to the economic viability and business model, it is essential that the investor brings their knowledge and know-how with specialised training, the latest technologies and marketing tools.
10. How do you adapt your personal life to your professional life?
There are 24 hours in a day and we have time to achieve all our personal and professional tasks, it's just a matter of organisation. Since the early years of your career are more intense and demanding, with good management, everything will flow naturally at the end.