Not alone, but together – with KENSINGTON!
Interview with Heike Severin, KENSINGTON Franchisee for the Zurich Unterland / Switzerland
Real estate company KENSINGTON Finest Properties International is also celebrating personal success stories in Switzerland as part of its expansion.
Heike Severin is a prime example of this. After more than 20 years as a management consultant and subsequent employment as a real estate expert, the Delmenhorst native decided to make her dream come true by setting up her own business in the real estate sector in Switzerland. Self-proclaimed “Swiss by choice”, Heike took her chance, secured the KENSINGTON licence for the Zurich Unterland, and opened her first office in Eglisau in January 2018. Since then, the 53-year-old has been surfing the wave of success.
The Lifestyle Magazine On LOCATION (powered by KENSINGTON) met the ambitious entrepreneur for an interview to find out more about the secret behind her success story…
Tell us a little about your previous career before becoming a KENSINGTON franchisee.
Before I started working as a real estate agent in 2015, I happily spent more than 25 years in the sales field as a corporate and financial consultant, primarily in the service and finance sector. I have always loved dealing with people and, above all, finding solutions for different people and their demands. Through my training as an insurance specialist, sales manager and financial specialist, I have also acquired the corresponding know-how.
What was your motivation to give up your well-paid position as Sales Manager in another real estate company and start your own business?
That is a good question. You know, money is reassuring and important, but it can’t be the only reason not to make changes. In my last job, I didn’t have the opportunity to build my own client base and work across borders. Even my region, which has been my home for more than 10 years, could not be developed further. It was also difficult to bring in and implement my own ideas.
What part did KENSINGTON play in the decision itself?
A very large part, not only KENSINGTON itself, but the people behind it, like our CEO Mehrdad Bonakdar and others who I hold in high esteem…
Why did you choose KENSINGTON?
KENSINGTON impressed me in many areas. KENSINGTON has been internationally active for over 20 years, with Swiss headquarters – the country where I have been living for 25 years. There is no standstill in this company. Here, HUMANITY is written in capital letters. The consistently trusting, enriching and honest discussions with Mr. Bonakdar, the company philosophy, as well as the outstanding development of the KENSINGTON brand even outside of the real estate sector, led me to the final decision to open my own real estate agency in the Zurich Unterland.
Were there other options for you, e.g. other brands?
Since we are speaking honestly here, yes, there was another option. A partial employment with a fixed salary, plus commission. But in this position, as in my previous company, my room for manoeuvre would have been very limited. In addition, no international activity, no development opportunity and being just one person among many!
In your opinion, what exactly are the advantages of a franchise company?
Here I see the following advantages:
· Faster access to the market and an increase in brand awareness
· Easier entry due to existing operation
· Well-known and strong brand
· Image of a large company through joint advertising, purchasing and cost advantages
· Support in marketing measures
· NOT ONE but a TEAM
And what makes KENSINGTON special here?
KENSINGTON is not rigid, but very flexible and innovative; there is no standstill and there is opportunity for further development of the company as well as the INDIVIDUAL!
How did you feel about the start at KENSINGTON?
I found the start at KENSINGTON very positive and settled in very quickly. I appreciate this way of working very much, I can stand on my own two feet and it is infinitely reassuring to have a strong brand and wonderful people at my side.
In the meantime, you have moved to a much larger office and built up a team. What motivates a broker to work for a KENSINGTON franchisee?
My employees are motivated above all by the fact that I offer them the opportunity to work independently and on their own responsibility. They get the wonderful opportunity to build something up in a “UNENCLOSED AREA” and I support them in this. Those who decide to become self-employed do not like to be restricted and are constantly confronted with limits. Every person is individual and unique. At Kensington, a licensee can develop further, both personally and in terms of knowledge (guaranteed by our training academy). I also give you the opportunity within the area to open your own office so that YOU could also have your own business.
With the „Zürich Unterland“ you have a quite large license area. Will you open another office next to the one in Eglisau?
That is, of course, the goal: I plan to open another office in the Bülach district in 2020/21.
What do you think a person should bring to work as a franchisee?
I would like to deal here only with the personal aspect and not with the financial aspect. A person who feels that things are getting too tight around them should definitely step out of their
supposedly secure working relationship and take the plunge into self-employment. It is very important to believe in yourself and to think positively, in addition to taking joy in this wonderful activity! The sun will not always shine (with the exception of in the heart!), but whoever meets other people with joy and confidence will also get it in return and win their trust. I am happy to discuss this important aspect in the next conversation. I can only say of myself that I am very happy and grateful to take this step as a franchisee for KENSINGTON and have not regretted it for a second!