The best of the best

Dorian Gonsalves reflects on the importance of celebrating success.

The best of the best

The first quarter of 2023 was exceptionally busy, as the Belvoir Group prepared to release its final results for the year ended December 2022. I was delighted to be able to confirm that the Group had continued to grow, enjoying its 26th year of unbroken profit, and an increased total dividend, despite 2022 following on from the strongest year for the property sector in recent history.

One of the secrets of the Belvoir Group’s success is the entrepreneurial spirit of our franchisees and financial services advisers, who work so hard to make the most of every opportunity presented in all market conditions. This resilience, determination and commitment are all traits that are recognised at the Annual Awards for each of our brands. In March we celebrated the achievements of the best of the best of our Belvoir franchisees and their teams. It was a real pleasure to have the opportunity to make the presentations and spend time with our award winners.

This year the panel of judges unanimously decided to award the top prize of Belvoir Franchise of the Year to Natalie Boardman, of Belvoir Tunbridge Wells. The judges wanted this award to go to a franchise that was owned by someone who truly epitomised and embraced every aspect of the Belvoir brand. The award was not purely dependent on the size of the business, but it did embrace key factors within Belvoir’s business model, including compliance, acquisitions, involvement with helping other franchisees in the network, as well as the quality of marketing etc.

Natalie joined Belvoir six years ago and is very popular amongst her peers. Despite being extremely busy she is always extremely generous with the time she gives to help the Franchise Support Team at Central Office, and this is something that is very much appreciated by any franchisor. Natalie also lends a helping hand to other franchisees whenever possible and supports people in her local community. For example, in 2022 she became involved with the Survivor Thriver café in Tunbridge Wells, which helps victims of domestic abuse. Her business donated money to help get the café started, and Natalie attended the launch event. She was interviewed about the café on Meridian TV and continues to support women with housing issues. In addition, Natalie completed on a large acquisition in 2022, adding about 270 properties to her portfolio. All in all, Natalie is very deserving of the Gold Award, and I am confident that her business will continue to thrive as time goes on.

A total of 30 awards were presented, including the Belvoir Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Andy Campbell of Belvoir Moray. Andy was Belvoir’s very first franchisee, and his franchise is still going strong. Even after 27 years he has lost none of his enthusiasm and commitment, and we are delighted that his son and daughter have now joined him in the business. One of Belvoir’s newest franchisees, Tom Cartwright of Belvoir Exmouth, won the Belvoir Newcomer of the Year Award. Tom opened a new office in Exmouth in 2022 after completing the purchase of @Home Estate and Lettings Agent in the town and rebranding it to Belvoir. Tom has also recently completed on an acquisition, so his business is off to a flying start, and I am really pleased at this well-deserved success.

There were many other wonderful results, with husband-and-wife team, Brian and Loretto Linehan, winning a total of five awards! This entrepreneurial partnership launched Belvoir Southampton as a cold start in 2013 and two years later expanded with a small acquisition. However, in November 2022 they bought Belvoir Basingstoke from the retiring owner, which was the second largest resale in Belvoir’s history. It’s incredible to think, that within ten years of joining Belvoir, Brian and Loretto are now operating two businesses with a combined turnover of over £1.8m.

Awards help to encourage and inspire franchisees and are a great opportunity for everyone to meet up and celebrate each other’s success. Plans are already underway for the Belvoir Annual Awards 2024, and other brands within the Group are looking forward to recognising the achievements of their top-performing franchisees, and their fantastic teams.

Dorian Gonsalves
Dorian Gonsalves