Having a long term mindset and being patient is extremely important as an entrepreneur.
Bobby Haeri, a property expert, started The Investor’s Agency to help people do well in the property market.
After two years, he joined forces with Darren Venter, another property pro. Together, they grew The Investor’s Agency, going from four to ten team members and securing over 198 properties for clients.
But they aimed for more than just being a buyer’s agency. Bobby and Darren saw a need for a simple, tech-powered tool to help people explore the property market on their own. That’s why they created DIYBA—an easy-to-use service that looks at 15,353 suburbs nationwide. It helps users find the best markets and properties based on what they want, whether it’s good rental income or growth in property value.
“Having almost 10 years of experience investing in property personally, it was something I was extremely passionate about,” Bobby recalls.
“I was listening to audiobooks and podcasts over 8 hours a day, five days per week, and it had become an obsession. I had used a buyer’s agent in the past, and while the result was okay, what was lacking was a tailored solution based on my goals. Soon after this, I decided to start The Investors Agency; at this stage, I was quite fortunate that my existing business required a little of my time, which allowed me to finalise my real estate course and start my business in quick succession.
“About two years into running my business, I merged businesses with my now co-director, Darren Venter; he founded a company called Stratprop, a successful investment buyers agency which was primarily focused on regional markets. Our businesses were complementary, and it made sense on all fronts to merge the two together under The Investors Agency.”
Art of hiring and focused leadership
A business partnership is a unique relationship. Bobby says that in their partnership, their strengths complement each other. “As we are in a partnership, our strengths complement each other. Darren has been able to work to his strengths, which are building systems, processes, and the tech to allow the company to grow at the pace which it has, while I have been able to focus on my strengths, which are front facing of the business, including prospecting, sales, and content for social media.”
He highlights the significance of hiring the right people at the right time for business growth. “I fundamentally believe one of the main business owner’s responsibilities is to hire the right people in the right position at the right time who can do their specific required roles to help drive the needle forward. We have over the last five years hired the right people at the right time. This includes buyers’ agents with the required experience, operations managers to ensure the client experience is a smooth one, and marketing managers to ensure we are bringing in the right amount of leads along with sales reps who solely focus on converting our leads.
Discussing the post-merger scenario, Bobby mentioned the establishment of a robust referral network with partners, leading to a diverse range of clients from multiple channels. “Due to the, The Investors Agency APP, we have been able to optimise and streamline our client experience.”
Making the difference
Bobby emphasises that what sets their company apart from competitors are their people and technology. “Our team is like family, and we treat our clients like family. We will never pressure or instil fear into our prospects to engage with us. From their very first experience, it is a positive one with a consultative approach. We will never pressure our clients into making a decision on a property if they are not comfortable and we take the time required to nurture our clients through the entire process. This explains why our clients have only ever given us 5-starr reviews. In terms of our tech, on a monthly basis, we analyse 15,353 suburbs nationwide.”
The evaluation includes factors such as population growth forecast, economic drivers/diversity, infrastructure projects, debt-to-income ratio, rent-to-income ratio, vacancy rates, rental yields, days on the market, auction clearance rates, and stock on the market. This meticulous analysis helps them identify only the strongest-performing markets in the country.
“Doing this on a monthly basis allows us to purchase the right properties in the right suburbs at the right time, ensuring our clients benefit from the maximum amount of capital growth and rental yield.”
As business owners we need to be aware of what levers to pull and optimise at different times, whether it’s ramping up marketing, sales or optimising the operations.
Bobby acknowledges that a significant challenge they encountered was effectively managing cash flow. “The main challenge we have faced along the way would be managing cash flow. The Investors Agency was growing at a rapid pace, almost doubling every year in terms of the size of the team but also revenue. Congruently, we have been building and launching DIYBA, which is a SAAS model of what we do. It is an online do-it-yourself platform which allows a subscriber to log in and find only the strongest performing markets and which properties are the strongest within those markets at a fraction of the cost of the buyer’s agent.”
Despite their growth, Bobby noted the impact of the fastest rate of inflation and interest rate rises in history. “As business owners we need to be aware of what levers to pull and optimise at different times, whether it’s ramping up marketing, sales or optimising the operations. This is a forever evolving and ongoing process. At the moment, we are in a very fortunate position where leads and onboarding clients are at an all-time high. So we need to optimise the operations to ensure the client experience continues to be a 5-star experience. However, over the six months prior we were focusing on marketing and sales to ensure we had enough leads and clients come through the business to support the team and continue the growth.”
Tackling challenges in the early years of entrepreneurship
Bobby conveyed that estimates suggest a high failure rate for new small businesses in Australia, with one in three failing in the first year, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year. According to him, the primary reason for these failures is attributed to challenges in marketing and sales, significantly impacting cash flow.
“Having a long term mindset and being patient is extremely important as an entrepreneur. The less patient you are, the more money you will need to invest upfront. What I mean by that is, the more you spend on marketing, sales and product delivery, the faster you will receive an ROI however there will still be an initial period where you will be spending an amount of money while not receiving an ROI so it’s important to have enough buffers in place to allow for the startup phase of the business.”
“In the first few years of running a business, it’s likely you would have multiple hats on. You would be the marketer, the sales rep, client-facing if providing a service and product delivery if a product, along with admin. At this stage you will probably be the bottleneck within the business. You need to get clarity on where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are along with what are the high-value tasks and low-value tasks you are spending your time on. Based on that, you can then look to employ a team around you whose strengths complement your weaknesses and who can spend their time on the lowest-value tasks such as admin, which can allow you to spend your time on the high-value tasks to generate more income.”