Five Must-Have Qualities as a PropTech Leader
Living at the cross section between real estate and technology, leading in the proptech industry requires a unique set of qualities. In addition to the obvious characteristics like having a passion for real estate and a drive for innovation, there are some less apparent qualities that are equally important. These will help founders successfully fulfill their mission of disrupting the residential and commercial real estate space.
In this article, I’ll discuss the five most crucial personality traits that have helped me become a proptech leader—through both the companies I’ve founded and those I’ve supported. I believe that nurturing these qualities early on will greatly benefit others’ entrepreneurial journeys.
Jump on Opportunities Quickly
I don’t think that anyone needs to be convinced just how competitive the real estate business is. After all, it’s a “dog eat dog” world out there.
So if you want to build a proptech company that truly revolutionizes real estate, you have to be able to identify gaps and opportunities. And it’s equally important to jump on these opportunities as soon as you see them.
There have been countless times where I’ve seen someone come up with an incredibly smart idea for improving real estate processes, but they wait too long to act on it. This is likely due to a fear of change or a hesitancy toward digitization. By the time they are ready to act, the moment has passed or someone else has already replicated their idea.
That’s why I say that becoming a proptech leader requires more than smarts and creativity. You should be proactive and fearless too. Otherwise, someone else will arrive at your idea sooner or later and won’t be afraid to jump on it.
Let Change Excite You
Needless to say, proptech leaders must thrive on innovation. However, you also have to embrace smaller and ongoing challenges with the same level of enthusiasm.
In order words, you must be an agile leader and build an agile team.
Coming up with a unique business idea and founding a company around it is not the only change you’ll need to implement. In fact, establishing a startup is only the beginning of the series of endless changes you will experience throughout your journey.
Proptech businesses are affected by many niche-specific alterations like dynamic real estate trends, evolving market conditions, and ever-changing customer needs and requirements. There are also more general factors that impact the industry, such as shocks in the economy and labor market.
Instead of meeting these dynamics with fear and discomfort, PropTech leaders need to welcome them. The key is to perceive each change, no matter how big or small, as an opportunity to improve your business and team. The digital real estate industry has no space for those who feel best in the status quo and aren’t excited to respond to ever-changing business environments.
Be a Visionary
While this quality is important for business leaders in any industry, being a visionary is a must for proptech leaders. You should not simply respond to trends in the industry, but also drive changes through your visions.
You need to have a vision of both the general real estate market and your specific area. You need to have a vision for the future of the real estate business and the proptech industry as a whole. And you need to have a vision for the short-term and long-term development of your company’s mission, structure, and even exit strategy.
Having a unique understanding of the future of the industry and startup will give you the motivation, perseverance, and drive to make this vision a reality.
PropTech leaders cannot be followers—they have to be visionaries.
Believe in Your Team
Founders and leaders must comprehend and appreciate the fact that they cannot succeed on their own. Their level and rate of success is largely determined by the quality of the team that they are able to build.
As irrational as it seems, I’ve met PropTech founders who act as if they are afraid of the power and potential of their employees. After all, your business is your own and no one will steal it from you or replace you. Therefore, you should not fear competition from others in the company.
To build a startup that stands a chance at disrupting the real estate space, you need employees who work together, put the common good above everything else, and behave like a team. And installing this company culture starts with you.
When hiring and managing your team, you should look for others with leadership potential and strive to improve their hard and soft skills at all times—all the while promoting a collaborative environment.
You cannot lead digital transformation in real estate as a lone wolf.
Be Driven by Data
Both real estate and entrepreneurship are 100% reliant on the quantity and quality of data used in making decisions—whether these relate to buying an investment property or managing a startup. As proptech combines these two worlds, leveraging data is one of the keys to success.
This means that proptech leaders should eat and breathe data, making it second nature.
Real estate data can help you identify gaps in the market and come up with a product or service idea for bridging this gap. Market data can show you whether an opportunity is worth acting upon. Business data can help you compare your startup to the competition and draw important conclusions about your performance, while company data allows you to optimize processes and teams.
As a proptech leader, you should not make a single decision without gathering, analyzing, and using data.
Final Words for Current and Future PropTech Leaders
Many people think that they don’t have what it takes to drive digital transformation in the real estate industry. This is understandable, as impacting real change in such a massive industry can be intimidating—especially for beginners. However, I also know that many of the qualities and skills that you need to succeed are trainable. After all, I wasn’t the person that I am now when I first got into proptech many years ago. If you have the desire to become a leader in this truly exciting industry, you can cultivate these traits to take your idea to fruition and propel your team toward greatness.