The last week or so has been a small watershed moment in my career, a career which has now spanned 35 years.
Firstly, I had a near milestone birthday which always triggers a reflection on how far you’ve come and how far you have to go. Secondly, I was invited to be a guest speaker to a group of young developers – which provoked the question of this blog. Thirdly, I received some kindly worded recognition from a former trainee employee – thanking me for giving them the opportunity to enter the field of development and showing them how to ‘add value’ – which they are harnessing to great effect in their new role.
The Developers Club
When I stood up last week to make a presentation as guest speaker to The Developers Club (TDC) in Mayfair, I was intrigued to gauge the entrepreneurial spirit in the room – after all, without that ingredient no business can start, flourish or survive. TDC is a group of residential developers under the age of forty who own and manage their own businesses from all over the UK. They are all serving specialist residential niche markets and have adopted various business models, each sharing common opportunities and challenges. The aim of the group is to cross-fertilise ideas and best practice whilst harnessing the experience of those developers with longer tooths. It’s a potent approach driving forward the speed of each company’s continuous improvement and commercial evolution. This is an important catalyst to the group as collectively they have committed to delivering 10,000 new homes by 2030 to address the housing crisis – a laudable mission!
It became clear straight away that the group were highly informed and very professional. There was that X factor feeling in the audience – that energy – that passion. I started my presentation with a flashback to 1969 – the first moment when I made a profit reselling Christmas wrapping paper to my neighbours at the age of five – then we moved on to 1971 when I got into the property game – Monopoly! Fast forward 50+ years and here I am with a business based in London delivering over 1,000 homes to seven housing associations in nine locations. Over thirty of those years I’ve spent self-employed with no safety net of employment and perks or silver spoon ready to feed me in the background if my dreams and endeavours were to fail. It is the same for all those in TDC – each juggling the needs of their customers, investors, employees, suppliers and themselves whilst exploiting market advantages and avoiding overwhelming risk to maintain and grow their business volumes to meet the aims of TDC. After the presentation it was clear from the penetrative nature of the questioning, before and during the dinner that followed, that these young developers had the spirit, the swagger, the level headedness and open mindedness to learn, apply and achieve.
The Future Is Secure
In the next few years, like all of us on that conveyor belt of life, I shall exit stage left one way or another. When I look at the young talent we are nurturing in V10’s ranks to take over the business, the progress of some of the young talent that has left V10’s ranks and the young talent that the members of TDC represent I have concluded that the future of residential development is secured – so long as successive governments adopt pro-development policies.
Land & New Business Director