It’s easy to look back and see how you could change something in hindsight. Looking back and learning from the past is great provided you put what you’ve learnt into practice.
Topic – The best and worst of tough times
Mentor – Milton Rendell
- Be clear and strong
- Believe in yourself
- Trim the fat and keep it off
Kevin: It’s always easier when you look back at the end of a journey you’ve been on and study that journey, before you leave it, sometimes you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s very much what’s happened in Western Australia and our guest all this week has been Milton Rendell from Real Estate Plus. In WA, he’s come through it as I would have expected. He’s still fighting some fights, but he joins us to round this series out this week. Milton, let me ask you this, if you could go back to before when all this happened, when it really … and none of us knew that it was going to get as tough as it did, but if you could go back to that day, is there anything you could have done to prepare your business better?
Milton: Yeah. Look. In hindsight there’s always something that you think you could. I probably, on reflection, I would say probably just really simply, I would trust my gut more than I did at the beginning of this process. I felt that there was changing, things were changing. The numbers were indicating there was … things were changing. But you sort of get on the hope train and you say, “No. It’ll be all right. We’ll be all right.” I’ll ring up five agents that will BS me and tell me all the stuff that’ll make me think it’s all good. In hindsight, I wouldn’t do that. I would trust … Like I say, trust … Look. I’ve been … This is my 31st year, so I’ve been through a few different cycles. This cycle’s gone longer. No one could have anticipated that. I’m certain of that, but I think I could have pulled a lot of things in earlier.
Milton: I think, probably was living in a false economy. And once again, like I say, I realised at the time that things would change. But, look, I bought my partners out just about the same time as the market decided to shoot itself.
Kevin: Yes. I remember that. Yeah.
Milton: And now-
Kevin: But you weren’t to know that, were you?
Milton: No. Absolutely. Mate … I only joke myself for that, and I have absolutely no regrets at all. Financially, would I be in a different position? Yeah, possibly, but that doesn’t matter. But going back to the beginning, probably my decision making was slightly clouded by the enthusiasm of buying the partners out. So, in hindsight, I probably could have been a little bit more prepared and probably been tougher on my numbers early, but I still should have trusted my gut. I actually said to the partners at the time, “I think that the market’s going to dip. I think it’s going to slow down, and this is the reason, one of the reasons I want to buy you out because I don’t think it’ll sustain enough return for three people involved in the business.”
Milton: I was the only person working within the business, other people were just outside investors. So, I was right, but I wasn’t right in, probably, I was looking through rose coloured glasses a little bit, and that’s something that I certainly would change going forward. Not that I want to be pessimistic going forward, but I think you’ve got to be realistic and look and believe your numbers, and stick with your gut feeling is probably the biggest one of all.
Kevin: Yeah. You and I spoke off air and we haven’t discussed it on here, and I’m happy if you don’t want to.
Milton: That’s okay.
Kevin: But there’s one thing you and I talked about and that is how you trimmed your business down now to adapt to the market that it is now. It’s tough.
Kevin: You’ve got to maintain that. There is no reason why you can’t keep those same sort of cost efficiencies in place even when times get good.
Milton: Correct. And that’s … Trimming the fat is not a bad thing. I’m telling … I look at it … I look at my business like a … like it’s a sporting team, and to me, we’re going into the draft and now we’re trimming the players who can’t get a kick, all that sort of stuff, and I’ll be looking for new talent going forward. But I’ve got to get my processes right. I’ve got to get my coaching right. I’ve got to understand what game we really want to play, going forward. And that’s the benefit of what’s happened. And each team has players that only lasts one season.
Milton: I mean, there are people who play AFL they only play one game and that’s all they’re good for. and others play 300 games and they’re champions. I’ve got some great people, got some sensational people that are the core of my business. The people, my main people, are amazing. They’re incredible. They’re really good at what they do, but I’ve actually had to trim those who weren’t carrying their weight. And I was looking at one department and it had five people and it really only needed three. And what the hell was I thinking I needed five for? Maybe I liked them? I don’t know. I do like my staff, but in some-
Kevin: It’s not that. What it is, is that when times are good, you build fat, and you just don’t … There’s no need to change it, no need to cut it back.
Kevin: But when you have to, you have to. And the point I was trying to make is that it’d be … It’s one thing to learn these lessons. Don’t forget them.
Milton: Oh. Absolutely. And we’ll carry this forward and that’s why I say it’s like a draft. We know what sort of players we want. We’ve got the players, and we believe we’ve got the process and systems. What will happen as things improve, and their game play improves, we’ll add the other players that we require as we go along. But we’ve got to work at how our game works properly first, before we take the next step. And I think we’re pretty close to that.
Milton: Mate … We’re running your business on numbers that I never would have thought 10 years ago I’d be running it on. So, there’s a lesson in … And then, you get that it’s almost like … I don’t know, remorse, and you think, “Jeepers Creepers. How much money have I wasted in the last 10 years?” But you can’t do that. You can’t live in a world of pity for yourself. You’ve got to look forward. But once again, I’ve got some fantastic people to work with and to build from. And what’s the amazing part of that is how some of these guys stepped up in an incredible way, to be honest. Some of them that have done some amazing stuff, and showed some amazing character. I’m very proud of them for that.
Kevin: Good on you, buddy. Hey mate great talking to you. I’m going to leave it there for the week. Thank you very much-
Milton: Not a problem.
Kevin: For giving us your time.
Kevin: Strength, mate. You’ll be right. I know you can do it.
Milton: You got to have a laugh every day, mate. Look, at the end of the day, I appreciate you talking to me and, mate, to be honest, I hope the people who listen to you, Kevin, appreciate the commitment and time that you put into what you do. You’re an amazing character.
Kevin: Oh. Thanks for that.
Milton: And you’re a credit to the industry, mate. Thank you very much for what you do.
Kevin: Good on you, mate. Look forward to catching up with you sometime when I can afford to get across to Perth.
Milton: Good on you mate.
Kevin: Okay. See you. My friend, Milton Rendell.