When he couldn't find a solution to his property portfolio management problem, Marc Trup created his own, Arthur Property. He speaks to BQ about leading his business and the importance of keeping in touch with your customer.
What is it the company does?
Arthur Online is a cloud-based platform that enables property managers to respond instantly and solve problems fast from anywhere in the world, be it with tenants, contractors, property owners or letting agents. Since launching in 2015, it has helped thousands of property managers like myself run their portfolios in the cheapest, most efficient way possible by using the full potential of new technology and cloud computing.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As part of a small team, everyone gets involved with everything, and I’m no exception. Not only do I make the strategic, high-level decisions, I also get stuck in with customer support. It’s amazing what you can learn from dealing directly with clients, and it keeps the customer support team entertained!
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start; how did you move on?
After selling my business to BUPA in 1998, I started investing in rental properties in London. Over the next 15 years, I grew my portfolio to over 85 properties. While successful, self-managing my portfolio became increasingly difficult. With technological advances and greater connectivity, I assumed there was software available that would allow me to manage my business from my smartphone while sipping espresso at the local coffee shop (and trying to stop my dog, Harvey from running amok!)
Following a long search, I found that nothing quite cut the mustard. So being an entrepreneur, I started Arthur Online to make not only my life easier, but also that of other property managers.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Keeping in touch with the needs of the clients. It’s easy to get lost in strategy, or fundraising - things that are vital to success - but if your product is not solving the day-to-day problems of your clients, your business will fail.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Deciding which projects to take on. Our team is ambitious and everyone has a great idea, but resources are finite, so picking the right strategy is vital.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
By playing with the dogs of course!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I didn’t have any particular job in mind, I just knew that I wanted to be free to do my own thing and follow my passions, wherever they may take me. I lost sight of that in my early career, but slowly I managed to craft a lifestyle that agreed with my true self.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Unwashed dishes, door slamming.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Our vision is to become a household name for property management, just like Zoopla and RightMove are for buying/selling property. We’ve got a long way to go before getting there; five years of hard work should do it!
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Get out of the office and talk to your clients. All your smartest people may come up with what seem like good ideas, but it’s all conjecture unless you ask the people that are actually going to buy it. You may spend a lot of time and money chasing rainbows if you don’t do your homework (no matter how tedious it may seem it’s always worth it).
Enjoy the ride!
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
People love giving advice. But here’s the thing: People don’t give advice based on who you are, but on who they are. If someone had a great experience starting a business, they’re likely to encourage you to do the same. However, if someone had a horrible experience with the same thing, they’re likely to, perhaps not discourage you, but at least point out things that can go wrong.
Here’s what I’ve found to be useful: Take advice only from those who have made the same journey (or a similar one) that you want to undertake.
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