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Inside Business | 3 min read

Coronis: It's In The Blood

Gina McClement

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Gina McClement

Andrew Coronis can’t say for sure that he’s cracked the code for successful business practice. But the Brisbane-based businessman reckons he might be close.

“If you don’t have a profitable business you won’t have happy team members. If you don’t have happy team members, you won’t have happy clients. If you don’t have happy clients, you won’t have a business. It’s simple really,” Coronis says.

It is a mantra that Coronis, currently the managing director of Coronis – a wholly owned end-to-end property business – has followed since his earliest days of employment.

“I come from a family of Greek immigrants, the first of whom came over here at 14-years-old. They didn’t have anything but became successful from working hard. I think there is some DNA in me from that. If there is such a thing as luck, that’s been the lucky bit that I’ve been able to drive myself to get rewarded.”

“I come from a family of Greek immigrants, the first of whom came over here at 14-years-old. They didn’t have anything but became successful from working hard. I think there is some DNA in me from that. If there is such a thing as luck, that’s been the lucky bit that I’ve been able to drive myself to get rewarded.”

“Of course, I was bumming around pulling beers and thought it was a great idea.”

While abroad Coronis was exposed to several speakers who left an impression on the young teenager, prompting him to join his father’s firm upon his return.

Today, he has been at the 40-year-old firm for nearly 3 decades. As managing director, he has led it through significant periods of change and driven its growth as it expanded from a single office in Stafford selling 5-10 houses a month, to a network of 23 offices that sells more than a billion dollars’ worth of properties each year.

Either directly or indirectly the talented 46-year-old oversees several hundred direct employees as they help to manage Queensland’s largest rent roll. At close to 8000 properties, it’s collectively valued at more than $2.7 billion.

In addition to overseeing the strategic direction of each department, Coronis has helped expand the agency’s offering beyond sales and property management to incorporate a financial services, conveyancing, wills and estate planning, project management, international services and, building and pest inspections.

During this time, he has worked hard at dragging the firm into the 21st century and continues to look for new ways in which to use technology to ease the burden on his staff.

“Rockend is an integral part of our business; we couldn’t run what we do without their software. With our multiple locations, we do all our trust accounting from our HQ, we do all the money counting from HQ and the compliance from HQ, but the actual physical property management is done in the offices. When it comes to software, we’re always scouting for things to make it easier for our people.”

And people – whether close family members or professional colleagues – are what has and will continue to ensure Coronis remains at the top of his game.

Brought up in a close family, he is married to wife Anna, and together they have three children, aged 11, 13 and 15. His children have all shown interest in the business and he feels it’s his obligation not to deny them the opportunities he was afforded.

While his father believed in ensuring Coronis recognised the value of hard work, the son says he always knew he was wired a little differently.

“I have so much respect for Dad. He always struggled to make ends meet. When I joined his company, I was young and immature, and I didn’t know any better. In the early ’90s, I started getting more mature and thinking ‘shit’s going to get real in life very quickly’.”

It got real in the form of the financial responsibility for a $40,000 mortgage in his early 20s, forcing him to take his role at the company more seriously.

The younger Coronis’ first move was to appoint the company’s first outside employee, school chum Craig Gillies. By the time 1994 rolled around the trio recognised something drastic needed to happen or the business would remain stagnant.

“I remember it was a pivotal point in my career,” Coronis says. “Craig had big ambitions and goals and so did I. Dad was 56 and looking down the barrel of becoming a pensioner.

“We sat down one day and said, ‘Real estate sucks: there’s no money in it, it’s hard work and long hours, and when you’re not doing well in property it’s very demoralising’.”

So, they gave themselves a two-year deadline to see if they could turn things around. For 24 months they worked seven-days-a-week and went on a quest to develop a system would set Coronis apart from its competitors. Instead, they discovered something even better.

“We found something that delivered the basics of property: talking to a lot of people and asking whether they want to sell their house or rent it out. That’s the key to our business today: talking to enough people to get the results.”

Involved in many high-calibre business groups from which he seeks out industry leaders for advice and guidance,Coronis likes to pass on his own learnings via mentoring programs he has launched to help fuel the ambition of the next generation of Coronis sales and administration teams.

Beneficial to not only the participants but also the business, one such project – which involved a potential leadership group – resulted in the company’s rental arrears plunging from 6% to under 2% without any extra work by the property manager.

Its introduction also resulted in an unexpected benefit: forcing Coronis’ naturally shy managing director to take on a bigger public profile.

“Deep down I am a shy person, and I don’t chase the limelight. I am now the leader, and programs like this force me to be that person that I know I must be.

“I’ve got 320 families to worry about every day and I take that responsibility very seriously. We could stop growing now, but my responsibility is to offer a legacy not only to the next generation but to all the people here and their children, too.”

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