In answer to a question concerning Huizemarks’ culture, Bryan Biehler spoke passionately about this industry leaders’ exceptionally innovative and people centred approach and the writer believed every word he said. The foundation of my belief is based upon the high level of transparency that he engaged me with, underpinned by his enthusiastic virtual guided tour of their online franchise operating system, which by the way I was in awe of.
Never have I seen such a comprehensive and sophisticated yet user friendly system within the franchise sector in South Africa. Yet even more impressive is how the Huizemarks’ management team has managed to marry the successful application of technology to creating a people centred culture.
This Brand has truly flexed its ‘muscles’ within the property sector and managed to consistently grow, despite the very challenging economic environment in South-africa.
The core ‘muscles ‘compounding this brands’ strength are Professionalism, being Uncomplicated, building relationships, and being ‘Fresh’ (not having a run-of-the- mill approach).
Speaking of being ‘Fresh’ I was introduced to several head office team members who’s enthusiasm for the brand could not be masked and who did not only speak highly of Bryan as a leader but also of the sense of community amongst franchisees, agents and staff members. A keen observation is that this sense of community stems from all community members being direct, honest, and transparent in their communication whilst respecting and living the collective community values at all times.
As is true of business as well as human nature in general, the Huizemarks’ systems are not without its flaws, however, the author witnessed a keen sense of commitment to resolve any issues as speedily as possible. Some of the team members that I spoke to mentioned that agents’ commissions are always paid on time which is of course a key factor in maintaining healthy business and staff relations. Another spoke about the willingness to help and support each other as a team.
Bryan as Managing director has extensive experience on the ‘coal face’ of this industry and is a keen mentor to agents within the Huizemark community, as an example, he quickly and effortlessly guided an agent through a solution to an issue on the phone within a minute during our interview.
Huizemarks’ innovative approach does not only apply to technology and business culture but also to market adoption. The Huizemark teams’ strategy veers away from the traditional model of Estate agencies as well as franchise systems and is highly flexible in their offering to their franchisees. Townships are seen as one of many areas of franchisee development and it is possible for an agent to ‘run an agency from his car boot’ as Bryan alluded to, when the situation and market demands it.
This way of thinking has served as another growth engine for this pioneering franchise system. Growth however is not only about amount of franchise sales and profit within this community it is just as much about personal development. The franchisees receive ongoing training and support of a high calibre and are inspired by the information and recognition they receive within the monthly newsletters. A highly inspiring incentive is the possibility to win a trip to Bali which is possible for any franchisee to achieve through their effort and performance.
In his personal capacity Bryan has honed certain skills over several years which serves the Huizemark community well. He has a keen sense for identifying the very best people to fulfil certain functions and delegates to them with a high level of trust. The Managing Director of Huizemark is enthusiastic about mentoring others to the pinnacle of their potential. Bryan has no time for excuses yet is very open to ideas and solutions. He maintains an “open door” policy when it comes to all committed to their collective community which has earned him the trust of his team.
The Huizemark family is moving forward and growing at “the speed of trust”. When there is a high level of trust within a franchise community, decision making can be agile, expansion can be rapid and relationships can flourish. And that is exactly what is continuously unfolding for this aspirational brand and its’ team.