Alliance Group CEO Michael Bonello, speaks about the company’s vision and biggest strength: its people.
What was the vision for Alliance in the early days and how has this evolved?
As well defined in our brand name, our vision has always been to create an alliance of like-minded professionals working together in synergy, to conclude real estate deals that are equitable to all stakeholders. In the early days we were just as driven as we are today. What has changed is mainly that we are now much better equipped to deliver on this vision in every transaction we facilitate.
What are the biggest accomplishments you’ve experienced since founding the company?
The company was originally founded in 2006 but we rebranded to Alliance in July 2020. Since then, I would say our biggest achievement has been making Alliance the independent real estate brand it is today. The decision to move a very successful business with more than 150 people from an international franchise framework into an independent new brand was not easy as there were many mixed emotions. The fact that we retained more than 98% of our people proved our team’s approval of the move, and winning five prestigious industry awards within just a few months was further confirmation that we are doing things well.
The launch of the new Alliance brand generated so much market interest that within the first 18 months, five operational real estate companies decided to rebrand their premises and engage their existing teams in the Alliance franchise network. This is unprecedented in the local market and is a clear industry endorsement of our work. Moreover, when earlier this year we re-launched our Letting division, within the
first five months we already engaged no less than 42 letting advisors, with even more substantial growth forecast for the coming months. I must add that all this went on regardless of the global pandemic of 2019 to 2021. That makes these accomplishments even more rewarding for us all.
As CEO , who has been your biggest inspiration that motivates you to achieve your goals?
I admire business leaders and find some motivational speakers inspirational and motivating, but my biggest influence has to be the people I have around me. All Alliance sales and letting advisors working across the branches, my partners, and the management team, are my biggest inspiration and my motivation to work harder every day. One of my biggest rewards is helping people turn their lives around. Meeting people I worked with on launching new venture ideas years ago, and seeing them now leading very successful lives, fills me with personal satisfaction.
What, in your opinion, are the biggest strengths of your team?
As I mentioned previously, our people are our biggest strength. As you can imagine, within the whole of Alliance we have many different teams working individually and with other teams both internally and externally; it always boils down to people working well with other people. Successful teams are those which integrate well together and work with one another as a team, filling in the gaps of each other to come out much stronger as a whole. I consider myself very fortunate that over the past 20 years, I have managed to attract and retain some of the best people in all areas of the business, and this is not just because I am CEO, but also because these great people themselves inspire others like them to also join Alliance. This results in sustained organic growth that benefits the entire team. I would also like to thank my partners and management team who play a big part in this.
How important is employee wellbeing in your company culture and what do you do to promote this?
We promote employee wellbeing with our mantra “work hard, play hard”, and give a great deal of importance to the on-boarding process of new recruits to make sure we are engaging the right people. We then continue training, mentoring, and supporting our people throughout their entire careers. Even if someone joins us with experience from freelance work or from another agency, we still carry out the same integration processes tailored to the individual, to ensure consistency of service. On a day-to-day basis, whether it’s the branch manager, office admin or colleagues, there is always constant contact, so everyone is on the same page and going in the same direction. We promote teamwork religiously and, apart from the group corporate events which are organised two to three times a year, each office is encouraged to close for at least one day in every quarter to organise their team-building events.
At Alliance, part of our training schedule includes Dynamite Sessions where our people gain active learning opportunities on topics such as customer care, sales techniques, photography and marketing, self motivation, and financial planning for advisors. This is done because we feel that self-improvement is one of the most important components in promoting individual wellbeing.
What are your key objectives for the company over the next five years?
We are committed to making Alliance the go-to brand for the best real estate deals and jobs, and one of our key objectives is to sustain our organic growth with more mergers and acquisitions. Whilst we are working to create the best onboarding experience and support for our new franchisees, we are also expanding into new verticals with a strong property management offering.
Meanwhile, we are continually exploring all-new technology routes to build relationships with our clients. At the same time, we looking at improving efficiencies to reduce our carbon footprint and promote a greener mindset throughout the organisation. Our CSR objectives are also becoming more definite as we are reducing some sponsorships of commercial activities in favour of supporting of worthy causes. One of our main aims when we set up the new Alliance brand was to put our clients firmly at the forefront of all our activities, and this is what is driving us forward to achieve these goals.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I would only tell myself: “Go for it, Mike!”
Looking back on your career so far, is there something that you would have done differently?
That’s a hard question to answer as I don’t regret much of what I’ve done. I realise that I may have dedicated too much of my time to my work instead of myself and my family, and I suppose I may have
procrastinated more than I should have on certain matters. I could answer “doing things better and sooner” as this may have led to better outcomes, but you can’t really tell, can you?
What’s your favourite activity to do for fun?
Relaxing with my family and friends is an activity that I insist on making time for in my weekly schedule. My calendar is always packed with back-to-back work meetings and it’s just a question of being organised and insistent with the value of your time to be able to cope with all the