Sue, you moved to Port Macquarie in 2011 and soon after purchased Coast Front Realty. Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to Port Macquarie?
Our family relocated from Sydney’s Northern Beaches to be closer to my parents, who lived in Sancrox. We saw it as a perfect opportunity to have a “sea change”, as my husband, Paul, and I both had roles that were able to be transferred. My background had been predominantly working in the tourism and hospitality field for companies such as Forte and Le Meridien Hotels, New Caledonia Tourism, until I joined McGrath Estate Agents on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We then purchased our own boutique real estate agency.
Both your business’ brand, Coast Front Realty, as well as your own personal brand, are very strong in Port Macquarie. Why do you think it’s important to achieve maximum brand visibility in a regional area?
I have always believed authenticity is key when building your personal and business branding. Visibility is important, so that people know you exist and understand who you are and what you stand for. I’ve always strived to be consistent in my marketing activity, with messaging and branding that reflects the real me. By investing in brand building and marketing activity, I’ve been able to connect with our local community, build strong ties and long lasting relationships.
How is the real estate service that Coast Front Realty offers different from other real estates?
Our key difference is that we focus on relationships and people, not just the real estate transaction. We value the very important role we have been given to represent our client in the sale of their family home or investment property. We understand it is not always the speed of the sale, but the end result of achieving a premium outcome for people, so they can move to the next place they will call home.
As a small boutique agency, we are able to provide caring advice for our clients’ different needs and aspirations. The relationships we make are lasting ones, and our clients become part of our Coast Front Realty family.
You are a very involved member of the Hastings community and are actively involved with many community groups and initiatives. Can you tell us a little bit about your participation with the various organisations that you are a member of and why you believe it’s important to play such a strong part within the local community?
I am a strong advocate for giving back to our local community with causes that are close to my heart – particularly youth initiatives. I am a Founding Board Member for Luminosity Youth Summit and Youth and PR Director for Rotary Sunrise. I have been personally involved and sponsored many local community groups and events in our region, including Hastings Business Women’s Network, Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise, Luminosity Youth Summit and Tastings on Hastings. I love that in a regional community there is a close-knit team of like-minded people who want to make a difference and ensure a sense of community. It is the sense of community that I value, as our family feels connected to this beautiful region we are so fortunate to call home.
One of the charities you have been involved with recently is the “If We All Had Wings” charity. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?
My close friend, Skye Petho, was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and this was a real shock at the time due to her age. We wanted to create an art-based not-for-profit organisation known as “If We All Had Wings” to create awareness and most importantly, raise funds for local families facing financial hardships whilst undergoing their cancer treatment.
We have held two very successful fundraising events, the most recent being a special dinner held at Bills Fishhouse & Bar. This event raised over $8,500 on the evening, thanks mostly to the generosity of our local businesses, artists, families and friends who gave and supported this cause so generously.
What is the most rewarding part about running your business?
I love that when you own your business, you can be extremely flexible, innovative and creative and react to the ever-changing real estate market. As an independently owned boutique real estate agency, I am not held back by pre-conceived ideas or rules that can sometimes happen in large organisations. I love seeing an opportunity, creating an idea, rolling it out, and then watching it becoming an industry-leading example.
We recently launched a 3D virtual floorplan tour which immerses prospective buyers into viewing a home online. This has received extremely positive feedback – particularly from out-of-area buyers who are time-poor and may not be able to be present at open homes.
Of course, the most rewarding part about running my own business is the positive customer feedback and appreciation that we receive from our valued clients. Their feedback lets us know that by working hard and gaining premium results, we are definitely making a difference in the real estate arena.
What do you personally think is the single most important factor in running a successful regional business?
Creating strong client relationships are key to a successful business. I also think that creating a positive and energetic work environment, as well as contributing back into our local community are important.
And finally, if you could invite three business people to lunch, who would they be and why would you invite them?
I would love the opportunity to have lunch with Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson and Michelle Obama. These three leaders challenge the status quo, give back to their community, and this is something I definitely aspire to do!
Thanks for your time, Sue.