Buy wisely. Focus on what you truly need to grow your business, not just the nice to haves.
Ian Waxman is co-founder and Managing Director of Pad Residential a leading estate agents in Manchester, UK. With over 20 years experience Ian has vast experience in the day to day running of a business and is the go to person for any problems that need solving.
Where did the idea for Pad Residential come from?
This was an acquired company that just felt a perfect fit for our new build growth over 20 years ago, it grew way beyond my expectations. Online presence was not even adopted by many agents at the time and developing the property tech and systems have helped keep pace with the structural progression of the industry. The idea for Pad was really an organic experiment that turned into a beanstalk!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day passes so quickly in a mix of blur and solving puzzles. I always try my best to prepare for anticipated question but sometimes it’s just off the cuff gut reactions that have learnt the hard way. Throughout my day I try to listen to the odd podcast, no music but always keep an eye on property news and wider issues like political leanings. Always need to adapt to a changing market, the skill is noticing the trends.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We have regular team meetings to discuss ideas, and a marketing agency to bounce ideas off. Constantly looking on how to make tasks simpler and processes more intuitive. If it’s not simple it’s time to change the process.
What’s one trend that excites you?
How to bring back the human element to the tech explosion
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Being a problem solver, I listen out for frustrated colleagues and look for positive paths. If you can try and spot early warning signs that something is not working properly, or is even slowing down your growth, frustrating employees, fix it. Even if this was your idea in the first place.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Nothing lasts for ever so enjoy the now.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The office can manage without me. This is an important one for aspiring entrepreneurs, you may think that everything depends on you, it’s your idea, your dream so you have to do everything and it will fall apart without you. When you have a team you trust, that gets your business and goals, your business will continue to grow without you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Buy wisely. Focus on what you truly need to grow your business, not just the nice to haves. Do you really need a new website? Or would you be better off investing that someone else? Always think about the returns that the costs are going to bring, and shop around.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
There are two things that hugely helped PAD in the early years. Firstly, constantly looking for signs of early industry trends. If you spot something try and jump on it and use it to your advantage as quick as you can. The second is making strategic alliances. When you first start its very important to build your network, referrals are a great way to get new clients/business, and a great way to build trust in your brand/business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In my early years, my eagerness to get sales done sometimes meant the deal was not 100% right, and because of that they never completed. In hindsight there were patterns to my failures that I spotted and addressed to help improve next time and over the years.
When you’ve just started your business, you may feel you need to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, or go that extra mile for everyone. You don’t. There comes to a point as they say when you need to “learn to say no” this could be to a opportunity, or even to your own ideas.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Completely self-contained mobile offices so you can go to your customer. Sign written and with private meeting space. Like a company car but more functional.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Graduation photos for my middle child, expensive but priceless.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Office 365 clearly, integrating mobile and desktop PC. We also use some specific industry tools such as Jupix property software and Microsoft SharePoint are invaluable but there can be many derivatives, you need to research as to which are right for you and for your colleagues. Remember – there is no perfect system but you know when the system is not working, changing is the single most crucial priority.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Atomic Habits” by James Clear, it’s that good voice inside your head.
What is your favorite quote?
“It’s the profit that makes it expensive”
- Try to stay as calm and as focused as you can.
- Know your strengths and when to apply them
- Revealing yourself is not weakness
- Treat your fellow humans like your favourite pet