How Alvin Bucked The Trend As A Broker And Found People To Confide In

Alvin Lee is a business owner involved in various industries, has been with The Alternative Board for almost four years. A tax practitioner, residential finance broker, commercial finance broker and a licensed real estate agent, it’s no surprise he tends to struggle occasionally with management.

Businesses across the globe suffered when COVID-19 hit, industries faced losses, companies were shut down – and similarly, Alvin too faced difficulties while trying to run his own business. 

Being in the industry that he’s in, it’s built on one-on-one interaction with people, speaking to them and getting to know them; all of which was made impossible. 

“In my case, with COVID, I wasn’t able to meet people. We have a highly regulated industry where you must meet people, understand their financial backing and see them in person rather than speak to them over email. That’s been further cemented by the royal commission we’ve had but it had become impractical during that time,” says Alvin.

But all of it was not lost due to covid as many lengthy processes were forced to change with the onset of COVID.  “But we also had lots of advantages – we did away with a lot of lengthy processes like detailed document signing, identification processes and more; a lot of those things have been streamlined and automated,” Alvin explains.  

“We’ve got an adverse situation, so we’ve had to make the best with what we’ve got.”


Sole employee and loneliness 

Alvin serves the dual role of owner and sole employee at his business, however, he does have brokers working under him, and others who help him out.

He says, “I’m the only employee within my company, everyone else that worked with me or for me, is a subcontractor. I have a couple of people helping me with residentials and I tend to do all the commercials myself but I’ve got a credit license so I’ve got about 14 brokers working under my license but they’re totally independent of me. We do meet ever so often to discuss strategy, planning and industry type situations.”

A common feeling felt among most people running their businesses themselves is that of loneliness. Having to make decisions yourself, celebrating your successes alone, not being able to plan or strategise with another partner – it’s an awful feeling to be in that spot. Alvin, on the other hand, begs to differ, for himself at least.

“It hasn’t been lonely for me, it could be and it probably is,” explains Alvin.

“It’s hard for any broker to make a profit unless they’ve got a reasonably sized business where they’re getting a lot of leads from referrals, so lots of brokers are losing money, and that’s after allowing living costs,  so it must be hard for them.”


Experience with TAB

Being both the owner and the sole employee of his business, Alvin says he has experienced issues in various realms of his business, such as finance, marketing, and time management. With the help of TABs business coach Crystal, he’s managed to improve his work and gained clarity within several aspects. 

“I’m a fairly logical person and I’m surprised at how many illogical decisions I’ve made, so the TAB membership has helped straighten me up in that sense,” he says. 

One-on-one sessions with Crystal as well as board meetings with the committee, have helped him focus on marketing and networking more than ever. As he says, “TAB forces you to think outside the box.”

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