Tips for young property entrepreneurs

Published: 21 Aug 2009

Mark Hoffman set up his own development and investment agency, Hoffman Partners at the age of 30. He went from the security of a basic salary to worrying about paying his staff and the rent for his office.

Since, Hoffman has become director of Commercial Property Investment, an investment and development company set up with Adrian Levy and Nicholas Cowell from property consultant Estate Office. It has a portfolio of more than £30m.

He also started APC Training, a company that provides courses for graduates.

He offers the following advice for young start-ups:

  • Go where the fees are but don’t always be driven by them
  • Do deals honourably
  • Be flexible so you can adapt your business to changing market needs. I set up Wellbeck Asset Management 18 months ago in response to market conditions
  • Focus on a narrow segment of clients and fight to gain their trust
  • Don’t sit in your office and wait for the phone to ring. Networking is important – whether it’s on a golf course, over dinner or in a meeting room
  • Don’t underestimate the cost of running a business. It needs capital and there is no quick income. Set aside at least six months’ salaries and running costs
  • Every penny counts. For a big firm, a £20,000 fee will be put in a common pot. For a small firm, it can mean four months’ running costs
  • This is a better market for individual firms because fewer people are chasing a single deal. Try and work with clients that have money and the desire to do business
  • Take advice from experienced people whom you trust. My father, Peter Hoffman, has 40 years’ experience in property and I often turn to him.

Read the full article in Property Week at The companies they keep.

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