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There is no shortcut

In this month’s True Connections Podcast, Alan Hooks is joined by Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property, a luxury home builder in North London. In this episode, Rutu discusses creating more sustainable homes, welcoming women into the industry, and the principles she stands by as a leader.

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Click on the player below to hear Alan and Rutu’s conversation:

Rutu Buddhdev grew up in an entrepreneurial household. Overhearing her parent’s business discussions from an early age and seeing the success that could come from sheer perseverance and grit was a huge source of inspiration, she explains.

I take my inspiration from looking back into my family and seeing how far they’ve come.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Thanks to this early entrepreneurial itch, Rutu went on to start her business, Amara Property, in 2011. Offering the full life cycle of property development, the business has since grown and now employs over 10 people. Rutu hopes the company will one day be the largest luxury developer in North London. By focusing in on one area, Rutu believes the business creates more successful builds, as none of the sites are more than 45 minutes away from where her team are based.

We have such a strong connection to our homes, to the spaces we live in with our loved ones.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Jack of all trades

Back when she started the business in 2011, Rutu jokes that she was a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. Over the years she learned her passion lies in developing the overall growth strategy of the business. She explains that this comes down to finding the right people to take the business in the right direction. Despite leading the company, Rutu believes in granting employees autonomy when it comes to decisions, allowing each team member to be their own boss.

I think it’s so important to let each team member be their own boss.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Pausing for reflection

When reflecting on some of the toughest challenges she has faced as an entrepreneur, Rutu unsurprisingly mentions the pandemic, of which supply chain shortages were one of many disruptions to business.

A positive side effect of the pandemic, however, was the opportunity to reflect and reevaluate. Viewing most challenges as valuable lessons, Rutu explains that the pandemic allowed Amara Property to reinspect their practices as a business and better align themselves with what clients felt was most important. Amara Property began to design homes with an emphasis on creating space for families to spend time with one another, something even more important to people post-pandemic.

As the pandemic went on people started re-evaluating. Family, home, happiness – these were the things that mattered the most.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Despite ongoing turbulence both politically and economically, Rutu explains that culturally people continue to place importance on property thanks to the strong connection each of us have to our homes.

Welcoming women into the industry

It is hardly surprising that in all her years in the property development industry Rutu has only ever seen one woman on a construction site.

There are very few women in the industry.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Rutu is passionate about encouraging more women to enter this traditionally male-dominated sector. Especially with the skills shortage and increased demand for houses in the UK, Rutu believes the industry is missing a trick by ignoring the female workforce.

Despite larger companies trying to address this imbalance through apprenticeship programmes, Rutu insists more must be done to initiate substantial change so women see more female role models within the sector.

We find that when we have a house we are selling, its always a woman that ends up making the decision.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Interestingly, although outnumbered within the industry, Rutu has noticed that women commonly make the final decision when it comes to home-buying. Rutu believes that being a female founder therefore gives Amara Property a slight advantage when it comes to making their homes desirable to that key clientele.

Homes for good

In order to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, Amara Property implements sustainable practices not only into the building process but also the product itself. This goes all the way from ensuring structures are airtight to installing solar panels, so energy used is collected from a sustainable source.

The real value of the sustainable measures comes into play over the life of a home.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Rutu is keen to fill her supply chain with quality, longer-lasting products to ensure that every Amara development incorporates sustainable measures in one way or another.  

Keeping goals front of mind

Rutu explains that whether completing a site or a sale, Amara are a goal-oriented team. Therefore, keeping goals front of mind and teamwork are key to success. Rutu encourages her team to get to know one another and spend time together outside of the work environment. Not only does this establish a strong company culture, she explains it also fosters deeper understanding and cohesion amongst the team when working on projects.

The reality is, for growth to be achieved, there is no shortcut.

Rutu Buddhdev, Founder and Managing Director of Amara Property

Rutu’s advice for other entrepreneurs is to stick to your principles. She admits that as an entrepreneur your business can be all-consuming. Therefore, it is important that entrepreneurs create businesses in line with the principles they live by. For Rutu these include hard work, integrity, trust, and discipline.

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