EPCOT DOWNTOWN VENTURES: PIONEERS OF REAL ESTATE THAT WALKS ON 4Ts: TALENT, TRUST, TECHNOLOGY, AND TRANSPARENCY
The excursion of success and all started when Abrar decided to take a plunge into the arena of entrepreneurship. Recalling his memory, the maestro has seen many of his colleagues often talk about quitting their well- established career in one of the best known real estate consulting firms of the times, but nobody had that courage to take that very first step in order to achieve what they wanted to achieve. On this notion, the elite Abrar Ahmed states, “When this idea got germinated, it was mainly due to our limitations in implementing the majority of our ideas/concepts in the corporate ecosystem. While in that process we end up giving our best/long hours to the same ecosystem at the cost of our personal lives and in these innumerable challenges, hence I thought that despite giving your best, you end up in the loser’s side.
Therefore, I decided that I have to dive in the pool with my limitations and with the thought that I will cross the bridge as it comes and not complicate the matters further by boiling the ocean.”
According to our rooted entrepreneur, for any business to thrive one needs to know his or her limitations. From a set of experiences and self-realization, Ahmed realized that his weakness was to take that very first and crucial step with respect to his concept and strategy. On the positive nook, his signature strengths were hard work and ruthless execution. After deep thought and attention, he dived into the space of unknown as he envisioned some rough sketch of what he had to do and the ship had left the dockyard for a year-long journey.
In this expedition, the entrepreneur has learnt a multitude of essential things like running the operations depending only on collections, how to expand when you are not very sure whether to penetrate or expand horizontally under limited financial resources, then to cater to the Indian Diaspora in Gulf, learnt a lot while doing strategic tie-up with a couple of companies there in order to get a foothold in Gulf, building the right culture from day one in the company, learning and understanding the fact that any business group needs to diversify and de-risk its portfolio. Sharing his learnings of the professional realm, the CEO states, “The biggest lore that I learnt is that to what level the company can be constructed independently and from where it would be needing support.”
However, the entrepreneur focuses on things that he avoided completely during the struggling period. He successfully stopped behaving like a CEO and got his hands dirty. He did not hire people out of competition with higher salaries and fancy designations. His financial constraint, fortunately, became his strength. Abrar Ahmed stuck to the core principles even during rainy days. Completely avoided the lure of fancy offices and the tendency to compete with the competition in the industry. He feels happy to not falling into the trap of technology to augment the processes, though he is not undermining the technology here.
Through these learning and careful avoidances, the birth of Downtown Ventures took place and slowly it emerged into a Group company with interests in real estate residential brokerage, consumer retail, white goods services with separate product vertical and cost center.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE NEW VENTURE
Abrar Ahmed always had a dream of owning an empire rather than working for somebody to build his empire. He prefers taking risks and experimenting with various new initiatives, constantly without getting into too much of investments. This requires a lot of free hands and is very difficult to get into a governed/controlled corporate world where people are not always aligned with your thoughts. When you are your own boss then all these can be done without getting approval hassles.
ADAPTING TO THE LATEST NEEDS OF MARKET
See the market has undergone a sea of change, the way you acquire a customer, the way you engage with your customer, the way you retain a customer, rewards program for the customer and employees have undergone a rapid transformation. Some old machinations have undergone reforms, but to the best of his knowledge, some of the basic principles of any business are Talent, Transparency, Trust, Transactions and Technology. These principles have not changed and there is no possibility of that in the near future.
Very soon you are going to see some series of new strategic initiatives from their side addressing the key stakeholders of their business model.
Talking about the competition in the market, Abrar Ahmed says, “I don’t believe in competition, whatsoever competition is there, it is within Downtown. I am not in the valuation game. I am here to successfully complete my mission which is to form a globally renowned company, but if you still insist on the differentiators, then 5 Ts as mentioned above are critical, honestly, if you ask me today it is WIP but very soon you are going to see some disruption in the market.”
Technology is important and will play a pivotal role in transforming businesses, but it is not a pivotal differentiator. Technology will play a role when businesses are in a particular stage.
As far as Residential Real Estate is concerned the role of technology can play a critical role in demand generation.
The entrepreneur has some inspiring words for startups, “Always believe in your goal. Your goal is non-monetary. During the incubation or seeding period be prepared to struggle. Foundation is important the rest can follow.”