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Apr, 17 2011

Risk-Taker, Polo Player & Realty Trendsetter

A staunch believer in the philosophy of work hard and play harder and a passionate polo player who believes in taking risks.

A staunch believer in the philosophy of work hard and play harder and a passionate polo player who believes in taking risks. That's Christian Völkers, CEO & Founder, Engel & Völkers. In a candid chat with Tushi Deb, he shares his vision about his brand.

Please tell us something about yourself.

I have always been an entrepreneur and have lived by the philosophy: work hard, play harder. More than 3,600 employees work under the Engel & Völkers brand worldwide. My top priority is to nurture this network and exchange the experiences within it. I travel a great deal and I’m interested in people who have brought about real change.

Please give us a sense of 'Yachting franchise'? How successful is it?

The Yachting business division covers a comprehensive range of service provisions, including the sale, purchase and charter of luxury yachts as well as management of construction and refitting projects and professional consultation in all aspects of Yacht Management. Our operations are focused on the main part of brokerage of yachts, characterised either by their above-average size (25 metres or more) or their exclusivity.

What has been the raison d'être for the brand's steady growth?

Our franchise system proved itself even during the financial crisis. Our brand stands for professionalism and proficiency, we are focused on acting by and maintaining our core values of competence, exclusivity and passion.

Were you a runaway success or did you face challenges during inception?

Of course, we encountered some hurdles along the way. In 1986, my partner and friend Dirk Engel passed away. I was suddenly a sole partner, left alone to decide over the future of our relatively young company. Within three months, it was clear to me that I wanted to proceed with operations and so I began to realise an expansion concept. The first milestone was the launch of operations beyond Hamburg. Our first opening was in Munich, while our first shop abroad was on the island of Majorca.

Which have been the fastest growing markets for your brand?

Germany is amongst those markets to have expanded the fastest. Since 2004, Engel & Völkers has been expanding in the US, where the company currently has more than 30 residential property shops in operation. The brand is represented with shops located in Argentina, Chile and Peru. Engel & Völkers is also a well-known brand throughout South Africa and can be found in Dubai, Qatar and Ras Al Khaimah.

How much has franchising contributed to your growth and expansion across the years?

The franchise partner system has enabled us to expand on an international scale. We have always considered very carefully just when and how we wish to expand. Our course of expansion is always based on strategy rather than mere chance.

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