Going from small to large in the real estate world. William Liusudarso shares his story.
What’s your story?
I started my career in property in 2011. I was 21. I founded a small real estate development company supported by a group of close friends and families, which is now recognised as PT Easton Urban Kapital. We develop boutique commercial complexes and boutique residential clusters that are committed to creating stylish and attractive good-value properties for our customers. We are protective of the company’s brand image. Quality is paramount and we maintain standards by having the company’s building contract work done in-house, with costings, programming, quality control, design and finish, mostly handled by our internal team.
Our vision for the company is to become like a hedge fund for property development, where we gather funds from investors to work on selective valuable projects that align with our idea of development. We’ve done this on several projects and the result is great. Our investors are very happy with their internal rate of return and the customers are satisfied with the products we’ve built.
What excites you most about your industry?
We cherish the opportunity to contribute to the society by developing beautiful aesthetic buildings that people can enjoy and will last for years. The process of designing each of our projects is fun. We enjoy working with our partnering architects and engineers to design beautiful projects with a well efficient workflow and budget.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Indonesia. I was raised in Palembang, a small city in the southern part of Sumatera, then moved by myself to Jakarta for high school. After I graduated from University in the US, I started my career in private equity and later started my company in Jakarta. I believe this is the city for dreamers, the city that knows no limits, where anyone can make anything happen.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My favorite city for business is Singapore. The government is very pro-business. It’s the easiest place in the world to set up and manage a business. The tax system they offer is also favorable for businesses; low corporate tax, no capital gain and only 7% VAT. I really think, the government set a smart policy to attract new businesses.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Warren Buffett’s words. I am a big fan of his work and philosophy. I believe good reputation and integrity are the strongest assets a businessman can possess. On the other hand, you just need to take one unethical or dishonest decision to ruin the entire good reputation you’ve built.
Who inspires you?
My father took my first name from William Soeryadjaya, an Indonesian businessman whom I have the utmost admiration for. He built his business, Astra International from scratch into one of the most valuable companies in the country. He built his business with integrity, honesty, and hard work.
His integrity truly shines in the hardest times. In 1992, he made a decision to sell his ownership to rescue his eldest son’s bank from crisis. He personally guaranteed all the depositors and they received their money back, with interest, without using any bailout package from the government at the expense of losing Astra.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I attended a seminar recently in which the speaker was a very successful real estate developer and has built several prestigious projects. He advised us when dealing with land acquisition to, “buy it at the highest rate and sell it even higher,” maximising the value-add for the offer. Contrary to my thoughts on buying low and selling high.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would change nothing, since I have learnt many things from my past. It has strengthened me as a person, helped me discover my weaknesses and taught me things that brought me the most joy in my life.
How do you unwind?
I have a few rituals to help clear my mind. My two most favorite things are to play with my daughter and go running with my headphones on. I also regularly read books at night to help me to sleep better.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan. My wife studied in Kyoto for a year so I had the opportunity to visit. I love the kindness and friendliness of Japanese people. I love their food as well. Ramen is my favorite choice of a meal. My favorite spot to hang-out is Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. It’s a great place to go for a picmic, for relaxing and doing other outdoor activities.
Everyone in business should read this book:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Shameless plug for your business:
Check our real estate projects at www.eastonurbankapital.com or follow our instagram!
How can people connect with you?
You can email me at [email protected]
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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