Robert Wilson's Estate Agency Group reflects on adaptability in business a decade on from recession
One of the most commonly heard words when it comes to businesses and Brexit has been ‘unpredictability’. Businesses can adapt with time to prepare, but the uncertainty that comes from not knowing whether tariffs will be raised, deals will be made or materials will be available can leave companies paralysed.
The meteoric rise to the top can be a tempting aspiration for any business, but many more experienced figures pray for slow, sustained growth over anything so drastic.
Robert Wilson, Managing Director of the Robert Wilson Estate Agency Group, learned this the hard way. His estate agency grew from strength to strength through the 1990s and early 2000s, with Wilson writing in his best practice article in The Parliamentary Review that ‘by 2006, the housing market in Northern Ireland had risen, according to the Nationwide Building Society statistics, from an average price of £92,000 in 1995 to an average price of £225,000’.
In isolation, this statistic sounds wonderful for those in the industry, but of course we all know what happened next in global finance. Rocketing growth means new offices, employees and investments – all things that implicitly rely on the growth continuing, or at least the new numbers remaining stable.
The financial crash of 2008 hit the business hard. ‘Loyal staff had to be made redundant and offices closed’ according to Wilson, who now operates with a ‘tightly knit and highly motivated group, with a finance director who watches over our costs with utmost attention to detail’.
Big challenges still face the business and the industry. ‘Online estate agency systems are here to stay’ pens Wilson, and these hold ‘enormous influence’. Perhaps the silver lining of the 2008 recession was that it taught the importance of flexibility, with Wilson musing ‘both life and business allow for a certain margin of error, so long as one adapts’.