After five years in property management, Pauline Bevin Johnson decided there was a better way to serve the property owners of Marlborough and set about making it a reality. Building the business from scratch, Pauline wanted to start off with the right support and advice so she contacted Business Mentors New Zealand.
She knew there was a need for a privately owned property management company that delivered a dedicated service for both landlord and tenant.
“I knew I could offer so much more than what other companies were doing and I wanted to work to my values and standards – which are high.
“At first I looked for a franchise to buy but found out I couldn’t afford it and then I realised I had all the knowledge to just do it myself. Fear of failure is always at the back of your mind when you’re beginning something new but, as the saying goes, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and I’m so glad I did,” says Pauline.
Pauline felt that her personal brand was the most important thing in the property management market – hence the name Pauline’s Property Management - and that people would ask for her by name, once word got out about the quality of service she offered.
Getting the word out was just one of Pauline’s challenges that Business Mentors New Zealand was able to help with.
Pauline was assigned mentor, Otto Lijzenga, who is a financial advisor and has owned his own business, bringing many valuable skills to the table.
Pauline had already started a business plan but Otto was able to review and make improvements. It became immediately clear that marketing was an area where Otto could help Pauline.
“I didn’t know where to start,” says Pauline “but knew it was more than just putting flyers in letterboxes.”
Through Otto’s networks, Pauline was introduced to a marketing specialist and local business networking organisations that have made a world of difference. She began a radio advertising campaign and attended regular networking meetings, both of which have delivered new business.
“Otto kept me on track and on target. He would come up with ideas that I hadn’t thought of and continually provided positive motivation. Joining the business networking group was a little outside my comfort zone initially but it has been a fantastic group to be a part of with lots of opportunities. Without meeting other people and learning of other business events and networking opportunities I wouldn’t be where I am,” says Pauline.
Otto said he felt privileged to support Pauline on her journey. “Having been in business myself I fully understand the struggles of starting out and what aspects of a business you need to attend to. It really depends on where the business is at as to what is required.
“With Pauline, we got the foundations right and then started building visibility within her local area. Her optimism and positive nature have helped her navigate the ups and downs of running your own business and she has been great to work with,” says Otto.
Otto believes one of the great benefits of mentoring is that you learn as much as you teach. “Having the opportunity to help people, to listen to them and try and understand them makes you look a little deeper into life.”
Pauline’s Property Management now manages 30 residential rental properties in what is a very competitive market.
“Getting a mentor has opened up everything to me as far as getting the business going. Otto is not just a mentor but has become a friend. I’m so grateful to have met him,” says Pauline.
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