Wilfrid Hoos, the Managing Partner at the Engel & Völkers Portimão agency answers the following 10 questions:
1. What did you do before opening your own Engel & Völkers agency?
My professional career began in Brazil where I worked as a General Manager for a family-run business in the field of industrial equipment. After that, I founded and developed a business division in Germany and worked as an international human resources consultant.
2. Why did you decide to start your own business?
The experiences I previously described were entrepreneurial, involving full responsibility for the creation and implementation of business strategies. When I was looking for new challenges, I had to become an entrepreneur - to start my own business project.
3. Which aspects were the most important to you when choosing a brand such as Engel & Völkers?
Together with my wife and partner, I wanted to do something different in a field we enjoy the most, i.e. real estate. As we did not have enough experience in this industry, it was important to have a well-known brand behind us as our support base.
For a team leader in this field we consider it essential, in addition to the usual leadership skills, to be able to create a high performance culture while maintaining a team spirit to motivate and retain the great professionals who are accustomed to working as freelancers.
5. What aspects do you consider when selecting real estate agents for your team?
First is personality: are they genuine and sociable? Are they entrepreneurial, independent and ambitious? Do they like working in a team?
6. What are the main benefits of a brand like Engel & Völkers for your franchisees?
For us who started without any previous experience in this field, a strong brand was a prerequisite to be able to establish and start our business quickly. Engel & Völkers offers us 40 years of experience, a global network of 800 branches in 33 countries, successful marketing and sales systems, a professional tools platform, and excellent training opportunities. All of this is backed by a clear and consistent corporate identity.
7. How does your agency differ from the competitors in your area?
In general, all the previously mentioned points. In particular, the quality and motivation of our multicultural team who make up our core values - Competence, Exclusivity and Passion - we are fully committed to a quality portfolio and an unrivaled level of service and reliability. And last but not least, our agency's central location is easily accessible in a sought-after area within a historic building on Ribeirinha.
8. What advice would you give to a franchisee who is about to open their first Engel & Völkers branch?
For us it was highly useful to have previously visited some local franchisees in order to gather their personal experiences with the brand and get to know first hand the concept of the way they operated their business.
9. What aspects should an investor look into when buying an agency?
Analysing the potentials in the area you intend to invest in, in terms of quality and value of real estate and the volume and commissioning of transactions. An assessment of the support the brand offers and at what cost. The preparation of a business plan for a period of 3 to 5 years in order to prove the viability of the business.
10. How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?
Firstly, any start-up businessman requires total dedication to his job, thus there won't be much room for a personal life - but as I do my job with passion, I don't look at it as "work". What's more, once everything progresses successfully, a supportive team will allow you to create a more balanced personal and professional life.