Operating a business without borders
South Australia revolutionised property ownership in 1858 with the introduction of the Torrens Titles System. Fast forward to the 2016 e-commerce era and now the State is entering the digital marketplace by taking property transactions online. For Jess Caire, owner of the Marshall Conveyancing Group, electronic property exchange means greater efficiencies in handling client’s transactions. Here she shares her personal anecdotes about change, resilience and operating a business without borders.
FIFO conveyancing and workplace flexibility
I call myself a ‘FIFO’ – or Fly-In-Fly-Out – conveyancer. Last year my husband’s work relocated him to Brisbane. After eight months of him being away from home for 12 days out of every 14, we made the bold decision to relocate our family to Brisbane. Currently I split my time between Brisbane, where my family lives, and regional South Australia, where I run the business I purchased eight years ago. We are an unconventional family and it helps that we are supportive of each other’s careers.
I want to be a role model for my children, and show them that women can be strong workplace leaders as well as wonderful mums – these things are not mutually exclusive.
Our office is very adept at dealing with change
A very large number of the State’s conveyancers are women and I think it’s a great profession for us. It requires us to draw on our empathy and our organisational and multi-tasking skills, which many women naturally have. Being a business owner and a parent, I am aware that flexible working options are required in a modern age. Flexibility is crucial in creating a harmonious workplace. I returned to work when my kids were really little (eight weeks and six weeks old), and I was fortunate to have a team that understood and supported that. This meant I was able to juggle running a business and family life. Our office is very adept at dealing with change.
E-conveyancing – let’s get started
Airbnb and UBER were scary at first for many people. Now they’re the mainstay for their industries. Our industry will transition to e-conveyancing if we work together as a team. It’s the next logical step. I use technology to my advantage – some days I’m in Adelaide and other days I work remotely in Brisbane. I can log on from pretty much anywhere with our remote office set up. Our team already embrace a digital workplace and we’re active on social media, using it to share our milestones and ideas.
My only frustration with e-conveyancing is that it hasn’t started here yet
I am hopeful that those fearing the change will embrace it and see it as a more efficient way of delivering a professional service. Successfully running a business is about staying focused on your vision and purpose while embracing the ever-changing nature of the environment in which we live. My only frustration with e-conveyancing is that it hasn’t started here yet!
Electronic transactions will NOT disrupt face-to-face client dynamics
With change always comes criticism and resistance – but I’m here to tell people that change is what you make of it, and it is an inevitable part of business (and life). Our clients are shocked that we still deal in bank cheques and line up in queues for settlement. I see the opportunity that e-conveyancing presents – especially for regional conveyancing firms.
An end to attending the Land Titles office, waiting in queues and dealing with bank cheque errors
The time freed up by not attending the Land Titles office, waiting in queues and dealing with bank cheque errors will demonstrate that e-conveyancing is the start of something great.
Of course, embracing e-conveyancing doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build real relationships with our clients. When you run a regional practice in particular, relationships are critical. My clients are varied, ranging from first home buyers to third generation farmers. They want to get to know me and trust that I understand their needs.
Embracing technology AND emotional intelligence
A large part of my business model is understanding my team and their respective strengths. As well as embracing technology, our team has spent a lot of the past two years focusing on emotional intelligence. Being able to play to our strengths and minimise our weaknesses means we see opportunities for innovation and change. Success looks different to everyone and a boutique regional firm can be as successful as a large operation with several shop fronts. I believe there is enough work out there for all of us and our industry needs a range of business models. Embracing these changes may just mean we have to collaborate more, which I see as a positive as it lifts the quality of our profession.