Nandar Gunawan's positive mindset is driving Harcourts Indonesia to a bright future in the country's real estate industry
WILLIAMS MEDIA sat down with Nandar Gunawan, CEO of Harcourts Indonesia, at the Grand Opening of Harcourts Seven Stones in Bali recently to get insights into the mindset of one of Indonesia's most influential property movers and shakers.
You have interests in many businesses, how did you get into the real estate industry?
My family has been involved with financial services and businesses for many years and I seem to have spent my whole life mixing in financial circles. So, it seemed only natural to follow suit and I became Vice President of Citibank Private Banking Indonesia, which is a position I held for around 8-years. There are many crossovers between financial and property businesses, as homes and offices need loans and financial support, but I got into real estate proper by chance. I was introduced to Roy Weston by my uncle 12-years ago. Roy Weston was then bought out by Harcourts 11-years ago, which is the reason we rebranded.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? What's your 'big why?'
I love learning and I love sharing what I learn. I feel as if I'm on a mission to help people be successful and Harcourts provides every opportunity for that to happen. The Harcourts Academy, which every member of the team has access to, is a training programme that helps create this culture of learning and sharing. It makes us do what it is we have to do in order to be successful. It gives us a positive mindset but it's up to us as individuals to determine how far we want to take it. I believe you can't build on a passion when you don't know what you do. You have to know that. Four words sum it up for me: Learn. Understand. Believe. Do.
Where do you see Bali in 20-years?
I don't think Bali can be judged or seen as a stand-alone entity. It's part of Indonesia, albeit a very important part of the country's tourism industry, but we have to look at the country as a whole. I believe we're moving in the right direction. We're more mature and we're embracing technology, which will make all the difference. Our infrastructure is developing and because our economy has passed the USD 1 trillion mark, we're now in G20. Our inflation is low, interest rates are attractive and GDP is growing all because of good management. It's a very optimistic and positive time for the country. And as the economy grows, so too does the property industry.
Naturally, this has an effect on Bali, which we all know has a uniquely distinctive culture. Development is on the right track but we need to be careful to maintain balance between the economy and the culture. It is important Bali is sustainable and local government has to play a more active and insightful role in this.
What business trends are you noticing in Bali?
Technology is one! It's in place and it's available to everyone. And it's only going to get better. This needs to be combined with caring for our planet.
The other is environmental. Our world is changing fast and there's a lot of talk around global warming and recycling that we need to take on board and be conscious of. But to really make it meaningful and have the greatest impact government (national and local) must be involved. There needs to be care and consistency. I spend a lot of time in Singapore and I see their model as one we can learn a lot from. It's a great combination of creating and distributing. It's all about inclusive development.
Do you have any plans to expand Harcourts Indonesia to the Eastern islands?
Yes. There is still huge potential in Bali and the Eastern Islands and with that potential comes great opportunity for us in the business as well as to local communities. We can have the greatest positive impact if we understand that buying property is an emotional journey and people need good guidance. It's an experience and a process and having good people is key to maximizing the best possible experience for all concerned. It's all about people, so if the right people want to be involved in expansion I'm certainly going to want to meet them!
What advice do you have for those looking to set up business in Bali?
Any investment needs to be looked at from both Macro and Micro perspectives. The Macro is the nation as a whole. Is the government stable? (if yes, this means security) and is the economy growing? (if yes, this means purchasing power is high).
Looking at the Micro level, we have to zoom in on Bali. Is it a special place to do business? The answer is yes! It's a world famous destination and any sector; any area of interest has potential because of that. My advice is to select a business that's good for you and learn how to do it better. Be efficient, be professional and learn - every day - learn. Surround yourself with good people and build your passion.
What's been your most memorable experience in the world of real estate?
I am blessed to be surrounded by good people and culture. Both Tina Sander, Harcourts International Manager and Mike Green, Managing Director of Harcourts International have had a great influence on my leadership development. It was a massive wake-up call and from that moment I realized I had to do something. And it was actually up to me to do it! There were so many things I hadn't done, hadn't touched on and hadn't learned. That's why I'm so keen on learning and sharing the things I absorb. It's so important. After this wake-up call, I can confidently say property is my profession but people are my business!