Benjamin Willmore, founder and MD of YoooServ, on how he got started in property. He also shares his cultural recommendations, the most ridiculous fact he knows and his number-one travel experience.
How did you join the property industry?
I worked all sorts of jobs growing up. One day, I was running a hospitality venue and I had a chance meeting with a developer, which sparked my interest. I worked with him for some years and learned a huge amount.
This led me to establishing my first business in development, investment and trading properties before launching my own agency business Yooodle in 2018. After doing this, I saw a gap in the market for flexible, hospitality-led regional workspaces, which is how YoooServ was born in 2019.
What does your job entail?
We have a small team at YoooServ, so I remain very hands-on. I oversee all aspects, from finding sites to fitting them out as well as managing sales and marketing to fill our spaces.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The people. I am a people person through and through, whether it be my team or customers.
And what do you dislike most about it?
That there are still those who are solely motivated by money. Those coming in and looking to make quick cash who fail to understand the needs of their customers. By doing this, they place themselves in a position that becomes unadmirable, not only to customers but for other brands like ours, which are looking to make a difference.
What do you want to change about the property industry?
I’d like to see more opening up of doors to those from different backgrounds – diversity creates innovation and success.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
For some time, I found myself surrounded by people that were comfortable with working to older standards. This led me to become even more passionate about what I was creating and more confident in convincing others to explore new ideas.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Launching and filling our first office building Dakota in Weybridge in under six months with little marketing. It has also been extremely rewarding to see how the companies we provide space for have flourished; it feels like we share their success.
What do you value in people?
I value those who are honest, have something to say and are not afraid to go against the grain. Personality goes a long way and we should not be afraid to show who we are.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Get stuck in and do not be afraid if you have not come down the ‘traditional’ property career path. A lot of my previous roles have helped shape my success today, such as learning about great customer service from the hospitality industry.