Meet the MD: Deborah Richards
PUBLISHED: 20:31 22 February 2014 | UPDATED: 20:31 22 February 2014
The director of Maddisons Residential’s top business tips
Tell us a bit about you
I have always loved property, but my career started in retail banking. I told myself that I would only be there for a couple of years while I worked out what I really wanted to do but, 20 years on, I decided enough was enough and made the difficult decision to leave my comfortable job and set up my own estate agency business.
My clients in my previous job were all Kent based so I now know the county very well. I’ve lived in Tunbridge Wells for 13 years and love it. I can never see myself leaving: it has the perfect balance of lots to do in the town plus so much on its doorstep.
Tell us about your business
We are a residential sales estate agency covering West Kent launched at the beginning of 2013. Our strapline is ‘Expect the Exceptional’ and we put our clients at the forefront of everything we do and take a truly proactive approach to selling property. This reaps results: our listings often sell within weeks, despite many having been previously marketed with other agents for months.
The office is based in Tunbridge Wells, but I have received recommendations from all around the region from sellers with various property values, including £2m executive homes and one-bedroom flats.
Any plans for future expansion?
I have hundreds of ideas on the new areas that I would like to explore, however, at the moment we’re focusing all our efforts on being the best residential sales estate agent we can be and embedding the core ethos of what Maddisons Residential represents.
How to cope in tough times?
Find an idea that capitalises on the harder times that are being experienced. For me, I felt the property market was slow, and as a result some sellers needed help selling their product. Then when they find a buyer, you need to keep that buyer and make sure the deal completes. So these are just two core standards that we have built into our business culture.
Best piece of business advice?
Live the life you love to live.
What makes a good boss?
I think this will really vary from business to business. For me, it’s about creating a culture where we all love what we do, have fun, enjoy coming to work and understand that we need to put the client at the centre of everything we do. I have no room for egos in my business.
Your most prized possession?
My home. It would have to be, as I love property so much.
How is your work/life balance?
It’s very important, but I’m not sure my husband would agree that the balance is quite where it should be! It’s difficult when you’re setting up a new business: you have a great idea and you so passionately want it to be a success that you work harder than you’ve ever done before. My children are very important to me, I’m very involved in their school and help raise as much money as possible for that and other charities. I guess I see those activities as my hobbies.
Your favourite restaurants in Kent?
The Swan at Chapel Down (the rib of beef is divine) and Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells. I love to entertain at home, but that tends to be reserved only for friends and family who can forgive my cooking!
What did you have for breakfast?
Nothing: I always fast on a Monday. Fasting has real health benefits, but the main reason why I do it is that it means I have one day of an empty tum, in return for eating whatever I like for the other six. n