Understanding the Mindset of Growing a Large STR Company

In this Boostly podcast episode, Liam discusses with Mahwussh, CEO of One Perfect Group, her journey from an IBM salesperson to leading a thriving short-term rental (STR) business in Dubai. Her company, which also includes real estate and interior design verticals, capitalizes on Dubai's tourism appeal. Starting with a single unit, Mahwussh has expanded to managing hundreds, attributing success to strategic investment and a focus on aesthetics.

Over eight years, her bootstrapped company navigated challenges, including the pandemic, by prioritizing profitable growth and leveraging Dubai's hospitality market. Mahwussh emphasizes the entrepreneurial mindset necessary for such expansion, advocating for resilience, ambition, and continuous improvement.

Learn more about Mahwussh's journey on her LinkedIn profile here.

Subscribe & Listen Below


Or... Watch the Video Replay

Play Video

Key Takeaways

Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Liam: Okay. Welcome back to the Boostly podcast, the podcast that gives you the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence. So you can go out there and get yourselves direct bookends today on the mini-series of Behind the Host. I'm excited because we've got a host who looks after hundreds of units in a booming part of the world.

[00:00:19] Uh, a place in which you need to be paying attention because there's just so much going on. There's so much opportunity. And just by listening to this, you're going to get an understanding of the mindset of what it takes to grow a large STR company, but also, uh, an idea of what opportunities there are in this part of the world.

[00:00:36] So let me, uh, introduce to you. We've got Mahwussh of, uh, One Perfect Group. She's the CEO, and she's going to be talking today about her business so you can learn from her experience. So welcome along. Thank you for joining me.

[00:00:50] Mahwussh: Thank you so much, Liam. Happy to be here.

One Perfect Group, the elevator group

[00:00:52] Liam: So I know I've given you a bit of introduction there, but can you give me the elevator pitch of what is One Perfect Group?

[00:00:59] What does it consist of?

[00:01:02] Mahwussh: So One Perfect Group has three verticals. Our main, uh, leading brand is our Short-term rental company, which has been in the market for the past 8 years by the name One Perfect State. As you mentioned, we are managing 100 units across Dubai, uh, in the prime and secondary areas and alongside one perfect state.

[00:01:23] We have a real estate company because, um. You see, in short-term rental, when you are the property managers, you're sort of entering the sales cycle rather late. And I'd like to be, you know, at the brink where the investors are taking that decision, where exactly to buy and why. So. Hence, I have one perfect real estate and most of these units that we get to manage for one perfect state are unfurnished I always had a flair for aesthetics and interiors so that has gotten into one perfect space which is our interior and renovation company.

Why Dubai?

[00:02:03] Liam: Talk us through why Dubai? Why is that the area that you're, um, Specializing in and who tends to stay in the properties

[00:02:12] Mahwussh: to be honest, Dubai, because I've been here for the past 15 years. Dubai has always been home for the longest time. And of course, Dubai being the touristy place that it is, the focus is on hospitality.

[00:02:25] And to be honest, my entrance into this space was quite coincidental. Before this, I was a 9 to 5 salesperson for IBM. I was 9 And, uh, you know, seeing the sort of energy that I had, like never-ending, you know, always going from one job to the next, I knew that I was meant to be an entrepreneur and, uh, so it coincidentally happened that I met the investor at the right time where.

[00:02:53] They were just about to put their unit on short-term rental and, um, I did it, I did up the place for them aesthetically. I furnished it. And by the time I was finishing, I had a guest to stay there for a couple of weeks. So literally starting from one unit to hundreds of units, uh, and just because, you know, the way is.

[00:03:18] Completely, uh, service and, uh, tourist-centric space. So it just gives me that sort of a headstart and leverage to grow into that sort of space.

[00:03:29] Liam: How long since you had your first unit to where you are now? How, how long is that journey taken?

[00:03:36] Mahwussh: About eight years. And, uh, so, you know, the Dubai market model is completely on management, right?

[00:03:43] There are different variants to short-term rental where people. venture into rental arbitrage or master lease. And now, you know, there's built to rent. Uh, but to start with the most, um, flexible model is the management model where you sort of split the revenue between yourself, uh, and the landlord.

[00:04:01] And that's the sort of model, uh, we follow in, in Dubai. So yeah, for the past eight years. Uh, since, you know, we started, um, I was doing it as a freelancer, um, starting 2014, 2015, 2016, we formally, uh, you know, uh, created the company One Perfect Stay. And since then, you know, it's been, uh, just going ahead.

[00:04:27] I mean, uh, you know, the pandemic was there a few years ago and not just that, uh, you know, like they say, two steps forward and probably one step back. And also because, you know, I, I never had an external fund, uh, to back on, you know, it's a completely bootstrapped company. So the growth has been gradual, but steady.

[00:04:51] That's, uh, what I can say.

[00:04:53] Liam: I mean, I think it's impressive. I mean, eight, eight years is no time at all when it comes to when we think of businesses in general. And I always think of that quote, which people underestimate what they can do. They overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what they can do in 10 years and 10 years.

[00:05:11] looking at the last eight years. I mean, that's that's amazing to have those three aspects of each of the businesses helping towards that goal of growing collectively the group of companies, which is amazing.

[00:05:23] Mahwussh: I just like to add. Yes, with one perfect stay. And you know, in these eight years, so it's just it was just not the short-term rental segment.

[00:05:31] We also Escalated the other two verticals that I just, uh, introduced to you. So the idea was, you know, you have to be, I mean, being property managers, there's, um, and, and, you know, for any business for you to create and, and for you to grow the, the bottom line has to be positive. I mean, there are no two ways about it.

[00:05:51] I do understand, you know, where the companies are coming from. Uh, with external funding focus, you know, going from seed funding to round ABC. And I feel that you know, that takes your focus away from the core business and, you know, me being the Lone Ranger in this, I had to be first of all, really, really sincere to what I was doing.

[00:06:15] So my entire focus was on scaling the business and getting the verticals up that were going to be more profitable, more cashflow rich. So that was my sort of strategy.

What kind of mindset do you need?

[00:06:28] Liam: What do you need to have as a mindset? So there'll be people listening to this. Many of the people listening to this will either have just the one or perhaps a management company managing, you know, let's say 20, 30, 50, 50 units.

[00:06:42] What kind of mindset changes, looking back, did you go through? Or what kind of, um, I guess, abilities and, um, competencies does somebody need to possess to grow a company like you have in the, in the way that you have? Uh,

[00:06:58] Mahwussh: um, Liam, if you see the way I look at it, I think there are two kinds of people, one who are inherently, uh, entrepreneurship minded, and they think like an entrepreneur, I don't know whether it's in your genes.

[00:07:12] Or, you know, it's in your blood and the other lot is, you know, who are meant to be, uh, in a corporate or, or, or a nine to five setup, let's say there are just no two ways about it. And even, you know, when people are coming to join my team and I'm interviewing them, that's the only thing I see. The mindset, it doesn't matter where you are in your life at that particular moment, but it's just about, you know, where you want to go.

[00:07:40] And I think if you talk about me, I think it was always about, you know, what's next, what's next. Uh, I would never just say that, okay, this is it. Even, I mean, today when we're recording this podcast, um, I have my plan laid out based on, you know, how the market is changing, but yeah, one, one thing, um, That sets the tone is you've got to be, uh, you've got to be ready for the next step.

[00:08:08] And, uh, I think not having no as an answer, like these are the cliched, uh, probably, uh, phrases, but, uh, I've lived by them. Keep going. Uh, you know, doesn't matter. Even if you're taking two steps forward and one back, if you're clear in your mind, what does growth mean for you? Uh, if you don't give up, give up, you will eventually get there.

[00:08:34] Like if I look at my, my, my goals five years back, you know, they were naive, they were innocent compared to what, uh, I'm aspiring to do now. I mean, not just aspiring, but you know, um, having the plan laid out in front of me. So, uh, yeah, I'd say, uh, just keep growing and, you know, keep improving. Don't stay, uh, at a place, for too long.

[00:09:01] Having a blast gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast Bruce Lee is like Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard and the tea is loose-leaf Making up those rhymes don't write it. Just do it loosely