Thriving and finding new opportunities for growth when challenged by the market conditions
Greville Pabst is an expert in the Australian property market, international keynote speaker and Executive Chairman of WBP Group and Founder & CEO of Greville Pabst Property Advisory. He is a passionate advocate for the role property plays in developing personal wealth.
The property market is moving quickly across Australia, with the industry seeing some major changes in recent years. While many businesses have been challenged by the market conditions, others have thrived and found new opportunities for growth.
This has certainly been the case for Greville as well as leading the organisation through a growth strategy that has led to a national presence. Greville has seen the company pick up a range of business awards and featured on Channel Nine’s The Block as one of the buyer’s advocates.
The Challenge: Moving quickly in an evolving industry
‘We quickly realised that we needed to adapt and change – we had to be a national group. That was particularly important for our major suppliers, the banks, that wanted to deal with firms that had scale and had a strong technology platform.’
The property valuation market has certainly come a long way since WBP first started working in this space. Then, the company only operated in Victoria and the sector was dominated by smaller firms with a local scope.
Since then, the industry has consolidated considerably, and WBP has become a national operation. Driven by a need to work with commercial clients across Australia – particularly banks – WBP grew to respond to these new opportunities.
The company branched out into complementary areas to stay ahead of the changes occurring within the broader property market and to expand upon WBP Property’s background in the sector.
‘We needed to think about other products that were aligned with our business. The goal was to create an end-to-end solution for our clients that involved both a B2B strategy and a B2C strategy.’
The Solution: Investing in people, investing in technology
‘The challenge for small businesses is that everyone wants good people, but not everyone can afford good people.’
To match the changes that are occurring in the property market and the demands coming from clients, Greville and his team at WBP Property have prioritised developing their staff, while also relying on unique technology solutions.
The importance of having the right staff has been particularly relevant when it came to expanding the business into new areas. While there was some trial and error, the company quickly learned to invest in the unique skills that were needed by each different part of the organisation.
“There is always a bit of trial and error and it took us about five years to get the right team,” said Greville. “The challenge for small businesses is that everyone wants good people, but not everyone can afford good people.”
The other side of this success has been focusing on technology, which has allowed the company to offer a consistent service across Australia and when working with larger clients like banks.
‘We did invest quite heavily in technology. We’ve created a paperless solution that has taken a number of years to develop.’
This strategy also removed a lot of legwork from performing the daily tasks the company undertakes. WBP Property’s software was also designed to integrate with the systems of their clients, simplifying the process of working with outside organisations.
The Results: Building a strong, reputable organisation
‘We’ve won a number of awards. The one I’m most proud about is winning the Telstra Victorian Business of the Year Award – I still have to pinch myself that we won that award.’
As well as the satisfaction of growing a nationally recognised business, both Greville and WBP Property have been recognised as leaders in their field.
Other recognition the company has earned include the Excellence Award from the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia, which the company has now received four times.
Personally, Greville has also been a key part of the TV show The Block, which has created a number of further opportunities for himself and the company.
‘I would have never expected to be on Channel 9 and being watched by over a million viewers,’ said Greville. ‘Education is really what I’m about now – it’s about helping people to make better decisions. [The show] is an opportunity for me to share that knowledge with the community.
‘It’s certainly also given me a whole new skill set and given me a lot more confidence when talking to the media and in my public speaking.’
Another part of Greville’s personal development has been his involvement in TEC over the last 12 years and the support offered by the group as a whole.
‘Not only do I have an experienced business mentor, I also have sixteen or seventeen other CEOs that I can talk to,’ said Greville. ‘We can all speak in trust and with confidence and I just think that is a really understated resource that TEC brings to its members. We keep each other very accountable, that’s for sure. We have a vast wealth of experience from all walks of life. It’s been a great learning experience for me.’