Success starts at the grassroots level
For Greg MacDougall, showing support at the local level is imperative.
“Keeping things at a grassroots level is important to me,” he says.
MacDougall is one of the owners of Provincial Realty, Prince Edward Island’s largest independent brokerage firm. He’s also director of real estate for Murphy Health Care, another locally-owned business in Atlantic Canada.
While he’s always had a passion for real estate, his current focus is on redefining how real estate transactions happen on the Island.
“So, do we need big national, big-box brokerages or can we do it at a grassroots level? The industry has come a long way to accomplish that, so it’s more or less changing how it’s done locally and keeping it local. We want to see more Islanders staying on P.E.I. and employ more Islanders.”
The business was founded in 2016. They have two offices and are eyeing a third.
“To keep more money on the Island, we employ Islanders, do all of our signage and printing here on the Island, and contribute to an economic spin-off.”
Office manager for Provincial Realty, Sharon Laybolt, says keeping things local is something MacDougall excels at.
“Greg is brilliant at ‘negotiations and closing the deal.’ Working hard on behalf of his clients is very important to him. Whether you are selling or purchasing in the $100,000 range or the $1-million range, you get the same time and energy from him.”
Laybolt is one of the staffers MacDougall works closely with.
“The thing I have learned the most from Greg is patience. Working with him can be trying at times because he always has so many things on the go. But he always — sometimes to my surprise — manages to get all of his responsibilities completed on time … with my help of course! He is learning time management; I am learning patience. Greg has a vision: In order to be successful, you need to be part of a great team. I have also learned to work better as part of that team.”
In their two years, MacDougall says he’s faced challenges.
“Probably convincing people that we can do it locally, here on the Island, just as well as the national firms has been a big challenge. But there’s also been some rewards, like building our team.”
Laybolt credits this to MacDougall’s ability to be both fun and professional.
“Though Greg is very professional, he has a silly, fun side. He is able to bounce that energy onto whoever is in the room. It certainly changes the dynamics of a normally high-stress career path and allows everyone to relax. This, in turn, allows for better growth in the business. He loves to see his realtors succeed.”
She adds that his ability to recognize opportunity and his expertise in sales also contribute to the success.
“I personally admire how intelligent he is — or at least how well he fakes it,” Laybolt deadpanned. “I admire how he can — and willingly — take on additional responsibilities to ensure everything runs smoothly. Greg thrives in a warm, friendly environment. I also admire how he can professionally take control and lead a team. Though everyone thinks he is a great boss, he admits I am the real boss.”
MacDougall says his past experiences have led him to where he is today.
“When I started in the healthcare business, I was 14. I was on the front line, delivering medications, doing anything I could. I was front end, entry-level and now I’m an owner in a business. It’s probably been one of No. 1 influences on where I am.”
In 2019, MacDougall is looking to the future and expanding the business.
He expects his passion for keeping things local will help.
“It also comes from the culture in Atlantic Canada. In this region, you can be in a different province, but the atmosphere is the same — people supporting their communities, building a customer base and supporting local.”
In 2019, MacDougall wants to work on becoming better at time management.
“Balancing my time is important. My wife and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives a couple of months ago. So finding balance in family, business and personal life is something I want to work on.”
He also hopes 2019 marks completion of the book he’s reading, Scaling Up: How Very Few Companies Make It and Why the Rest Don’t.
One thing he knows for certain: Islanders support Islanders.
“And remember, anything is achievable if you put your mind to it. Creating change in a structured industry is possible. Have your contacts in place, get out there, set goals – realistic ones – and focus on achieving them.”