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Flipping Houses not Big Macs

West London based Naman Pathak talks with Kelly Lemon about property development

Naman Pathak could have made life easier for himself. His father is the biggest McDonald’s franchise holder in the UK with 36 restaurants, millions of customers and about 3,000 staff. Naman had the choice to join the family business but decided against it.

“I graduated from the LSE with a degree in Business Mathematics and Statistics and although I had secured a role as a consultant in the city I really wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do in life. My ambition was always to run my own business, especially being from a business background but I was a little lost in terms of what business and how to get started. It was therefore a blessing in disguise when my father made me quit my consultant job as he saw me having too much fun and not putting in the sort of hard graft that has made him so successful.

Naman’s parents are from India and they had high expectations and after he’d left his consulting job he had the opportunity to join his father in the business. I am curious to know why he turned down what many would see as a rather appealing career choice.

“The McDonald’s business model is one of the best I have ever seen. For franchisees there is no need to chase customers as the brand is so strong, cash flow is strong as you are not chasing debtors and the business is generally a ‘black and white’ business. Property development on the other hand is less straightforward. Whether it is with respect to construction methods, party wall issues or build costs, there are so many variables, which is why I felt that this was an area I could add more value into rather than go into my father’s business, which was already being run so efficiently.

“So whilst the challenge of property was greater another huge appeal was how most people take an active interest in it. Whatever job or business one may be in there is a general tendency to save and invest in property over any other asset class. This meant two things to me – one; that property is an asset class that many people pertain to understand and demand will inadvertently always be there, i.e. it is not a market likely to be destroyed by technological advances as the retail market is experiencing. Secondly; people will be more comfortable investing in property related businesses which would enable me to grow my business at a faster rate if I was able to build credibility.”

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