“When I started in property, I was primarily looking for something flexible,” reveals Steve Mercieca matter-of-factly, looking back on his first steps into the industry in 2013. “I like to travel a lot, so freedom of movement was important to me. I wanted to work in an industry where I could work and enjoy life at the same time.”
Describing property as one of the most lucrative industries on the island, the CEO recognised a gap in the long term rental sector. With most real estate agents at the time focusing on property sales, the market was ripe for Steve’s concept, but that wasn’t the only draw, he laughs. “I was also quite broke at the time and needed to make money quickly, so it was an obvious choice for me to go into rentals.”
Shortly after however, Steve’s travel plans had to take a back seat when he fell in love with his soulmate Zanna, and while he continued to enjoy the flexibility the job afforded him, the young entrepreneur funneled his energy into ambition, working towards making QuickLets the leading rental agency on the island.
“It became why I got out of bed in the morning, why I would sleep on the office floor… it became my ultimate goal,” he reveals.
And besides ambition, a key ingredient behind its growth was innovation. “We had a few different ideas which we introduced to the market, and these ideas created innovation and disruption, which charted the path towards becoming market leaders,” the CEO says.
This led to the launch of the company’s sales wing, Zanzi Homes, in 2015, followed by several notable milestones, including the launch of the QLZH Foundation in 2018, as well as the opening of QuickLets’ flagship office on Tower Road that same year. In 2019, a special moment for Steve was when his brother joined the company, and finally, in 2020, the company would go on to open an office in Cyprus, extending beyond Malta’s shores.
Still, Steve admits that landmark moments, for him, happen all the time, “when I see my people grow and achieve something important to them. That is very satisfying for me.”
A recent achievement for the QuickLets team also came about a few days ago, Steve reveals, buzzing. “We have just broken our record, and rented 52 properties in one day! I was on our system until 11pm, and the vibe was amazing. I’m getting goosebumps talking about it – we really worked together to push that through,” he smiles.
Throughout the company’s years of growth, much has changed in the industry, he goes on to reveal. “When we first started out, we had the best tech on the island, and today, our competitors have improved their technology, and advances in tech have helped our people to work much harder,” he says. Online training is another game changer, Steve continues, affirming, “before COVID, you would never get a trainer from the UK to train you in Malta as it would cost too much, but today via online training, we are subscribed to Tony Morris International, run by the number one real estate trainer in Europe.”
And with a company as dynamic as his, there’s always a lot going on. Commenting on what’s keeping him busy, Steve reveals, “we’ve just expanded our management team, which has helped us focus more on our people individually and offer a better service to our clients. We’re also focusing on growing our international operation in Cyprus and also looking at expanding into other countries, so I travel regularly.”
Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, the focus, the CEO reveals, “will be to continue to help our people grow, and to push more on offering a great service and growing our Zanzi Homes brand, so as to become market leaders like QuickLets. Finally, apart from continuing to grow internationally, we’d also like to grow our commercial wing, and have recently launched our new commercial brand, QLC.”
In keeping with what he believes to be the qualities of a good business leader, the CEO advises to lead from the front lines, and always be consistent. Above all, however, “you have to believe in yourself and the people you have with you. You need to know when to innovate and how to change the direction of the organisation at the opportune time.”
Among his leadership ‘Dos’ are the importance of keeping up to date within the industry, as well as taking care of your body and mind. As for his ‘Don’ts’, Steve says, “don’t ever become complacent.” Meanwhile, the most important lesson he’s learnt along the journey, he reveals, is to always have purpose behind everything that you do.
Finally, I ask for one piece of advice for aspiring leaders. “Just do it,” he says, without pausing. “Go for it, and make sure you have the right people with you and you are all on the same page.”
The interview forms part of the 50 Business Leaders 2022 project. The new online serialisation on MaltaCEOs.mt will feature 50 distinguished business leaders, CEOs, and emerging business minds to create debate and encourage business leaders to share their journey with our readers.
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