One-on-one interview: Sue Taylor of Almond Property
Sue Taylor has launched an agency to cater for high net worth clients in Liverpool City Centre. Here, she talks to Clare Bettelley about her career to date and why she made the move.
Talk me through your career to date. I started when I was 18, working for an independent agent in Liverpool City Centre, which then got taken over by Countrywide. I went to work for another independent in the suburbs when I'd had my children and then I was headhunted for a corporate, which became Connells. I had 19 offices, 160 staff, seven Halifax agency offices and financial advisers as well, so I became a bit of a banker and man manager.
What's been your biggest learning curve?Working for Connells was a good learning curve. It's very forward thinking and I was very lucky; I went to conventions in LA and South Africa. They actually trained me to be the managing director of my own business. I did accountancy, my own profit and loss accounts and my own HR.
So why set up on your own? I began to feel that I had become too distant from [the coalface of] property, so I decided to take the plunge - I'm not at the age where I've got a lot of time. For the last two years I've had my own company that manages my own investment property portfolio anyway, and my clients were at me all the time for me to set up on my own. Almond Property by Sue Taylor is a subsidiary of my business. My property portfolio is still there, but I realised that people buy me, not a company, so this is about people coming to me and me managing their portfolio, or buying their portfolio; whatever they need.
Who's your target audience?From Premier League footballers to anyone with any luxury property.
What's the secret behind your success? The fact that the other agents will all work with me. It's a little bit of the American idea where I will phone agents with property in which my client is interested. It's not going to move unless I take it because my clients are the only ones who will take property at that sort of price, so I offer to split the fee and they work with me.
What motivates you? I've two sons and twin granddaughters, and I'm a workaholic. I love the business and I love the fact that I can go out in the street in Liverpool and it can take me half an hour to get to the end of the street because people will stop me, either because they're clients, they have been clients or they want some advice.
What advice would you give to aspiring business owners? They have to understand that it involves long hours, and they must want to answer that phone. I can't leave the phone ringing at ten and eleven o'clock at night; I never ever switch my phone off.