CEO, HSR Property Group
With more than 5000 agents, 22 awards under its belt, and an ISO9001 certification for world-class quality standards, the HSR Property Group is one of Singapore’s biggest names in real estate. All this did not come easy though. The company’s path to success is a not a story of luck but one of sheer resilience in times of trouble.
This goes back to as recent as 2003, when HSR was on the brink of collapse due to the global economic downturn in what CEO Patrick Liew terms “the darkest hours” in its history.
This wasn’t a situation that Patrick needed to put himself in. In 1992, he was doing fairly well as a regional sales manager in a multi-national corporation. But he wasn’t happy.
“I felt that I wasn’t developing myself personally or professionally. I was not able to achieve true freedom, which to me meant money freedom, time freedom, lifestyle freedom as well as entrepreneurship freedom. I was at a dead end,” Patrick explained. So he quit his job and decided to venture into business.
At the time, he chanced upon two studies which showed that real estate agents were some of the top income earners in Singapore. They also revealed that 90 percent of millionaires made their wealth directly or indirectly from real estate. Believing it could help him achieve true freedom, Patrick made his foray into the industry.
For 10 years, Patrick’s conscientious attitude and determination helped HSR perform admirably as it quickly established itself in the real estate industry. Then came the stock market downturn in late 2002.
As Patrick recalled, “It was very stressful going through it as our company was virtually destroyed.” “But today, with the wisdom of hindsight, I’m grateful for the downturn as it forced us to re-examine our business model and drove us to change ourselves,” he quipped.
This soul-searching prompted Patrick to reinvent his entire business model. He wanted HSR to be more people-oriented – to focus on providing more value to customers, staff and advisors.
“We want HSR to be a place where people can feel there’s a community of love and care,” he explained. “And I believe this – if my customers know that we genuinely care for them, then our business will definitely grow.”
This new approach has enabled HSR to overcome the crisis and become what it is today – the largest and fastest growing real estate company in Singapore.
Some companies are known for their meteoric rise to success, others for how they picked themselves up after a fall. Patrick Liew and HSR belong to the latter. For them, the economic downturn turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave them the chance to re-look at the way the company was run.
“If you try hard enough, you can find ways to enhance your profit and discover new business opportunities in bad time,” Patrick said. “So it’s not about the situation, but how you respond to it.”
Wise words from a man who has built his destiny with sheer determination and a never-say-die attitude.