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The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Effective Partnerships

Property developers Anna Harper and Stefan Canavan talk with Kelly Lemon

How often have you been to a networking event and asked somebody what they ‘do’ for a living only to be greeted with a fancy job title that means very little? Both Anna and Stefan are used to seeing a dazed look appear on people’s faces when they tell them they worked as ‘strategy consultants’ in the City. That is of course until they met each other at a property-networking event and it was their shared backgrounds that laid the foundations for a profitable partnership. To be specific, a business relationship that in the past 18 months has raised approximately three and a half million pounds from a handful of high net worth individuals. A business that has transitioned from property sourcing to developments and currently has 50 units under construction over three cities with a GDV of six million pounds plus. Needless to say I am keen to find out more.

It is perhaps useful at this stage to find out what a ‘strategy consultant’ actually is and why the skill set has been and continues to be so valuable. I’ll let Anna explain; “Basically, we were paid to understand business problems/objectives and find the best way to reach the goal or solve the problem and then communicate that to our corporate clients.

It taught me how to solve problems in a professional manner; how to see the bigger picture without sacrificing an understanding of detail; how to understand and focus on what clients want; and how to present information and ideas in a professional manner. This is what we do every day, so it has been a huge benefit. We have tried to take a professional, business-like approach to running our business, and feel it marks us out in the small/medium-sized deal bracket that we currently focus on.” In essence the duo start with the end in mind and then work backwards. It may seem obvious, but it is a skill that is often overlooked. To understand the partnership though and just how it has managed to achieve quite a lot in such a small space of time I am keen to know the personalities behind it.

Stefan starts; “For me it all stemmed from a childhood fascination I had with buildings and a dream of running my own business.
I was keen to become an architect but unfortunately I was terrible at art so this was out of the question. I was much better at maths and business and that is where the idea of being a property developer came from. I understood though that it was not something you could go into straight from school and I identified management consulting as the perfect arena for me to develop my business experience and to save some initial capital.”

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