The Royal Commission was called just three months after Chris Hall set up his own business as a new-to-industry broker. Despite the uncertainty this caused in the industry, Blue Crane Capital went on to thrive.
MPA spoke with Hall about how he started a successful company as well as the challenge of dealing with unforeseen circumstances.
A customer-centric approach
It was the needs of his customers that drove Hall to transition from banking to broking in 2017.
“I wanted to build long term genuine relationships with my clients,” he says.
“Whilst I did enjoy my time at the banks and I learned a lot and made some good friends, it was frustrating at times because I’d have good clients that would come back for their second and third transaction and we just wouldn’t have appetite.”
After working at banks for 13 years, Hall also wanted to step out on his own and set up a business.
“I wanted to go out and test myself and see if I could run a business and create something that was built on my values rather than being told what my values should be.”
The birth of Blue Crane Capital
He went on to set up Blue Crane Capital – a venture that started in his brother’s shed but soon expanded to include four staff and a CBD office.
“After the first three months I sparked up some really good referral partners that I dealt with before in the banks. They were very supportive,” he says.
“I also had a colleague that I worked with at Bankwest for a number of years, Alison, she came across and joined me to support in the back office.”
Having Alison on board enabled Hall to focus on client interactions while having peace of mind that everything was being processed correctly.
He says having a colleague he could bounce ideas off and talk to when they faced challenges was key to his success in starting the company – something he highly recommends to other brokers launching their own business.
“If you can, try not to go out alone and find people that complement your own skill set.”
Dealing with unforeseen circumstances
While being a broker comes with many challenges, Hall says the ones outside of his control were the most difficult.
“This biggest challenge really was the time leading up to the Royal Commission because they were effectively going to wipe out our industry,” he says.
“There was a big threat to lose the business or the residential arm of the business during that time so that was a massive concern.
“I think the leaders in our industry did a fantastic job to navigate through that and it looks like things are stable in that side of things and hopefully we have a really good five to ten years in the industry.”
The impact COVID-19 has had on clients has also been stressful, however, things are starting to look up again.
“I think the dust has settled there and the banks were very good during that period as well with our clients,” he says.
“It seems as though, fingers crossed, the worst is now behind us with that.”
The secret to success
Knowing what the company is all about has been central to Blue Crane Capital’s success says Hall.
“I think it’s really important from day one to set your values and your internal expectations on behaviours and how you treat your colleagues and clients.”
“Sometimes businesses get off the ground and they don’t really know what they’re about and why they’re there.”
“We did that really early and stuck to it.”
He says it’s important to be realistic when launching a brokerage.
“There’s a lot of challenges and it’s not easy so you’ve got to expect that in those first six to 12 months,” Hall says.
“Don’t just expect that the business is going to come to you, you’ve really got to get out and pound the pavement.”
He says building on genuine relationships with clients and referral partners while staying true to the values and principles of the business despite changing external factors is crucial for success.