Back in the 1800s, people came from around the globe, eagerly seeking riches in Bendigo – the Victorian city that was literally built on gold. Mining entrepreneur George Lansell was one of those people. He made his fortune in the gold rush, and his passion for supporting local charities and building great homes stands in Bendigo as a reminder of the town’s scintillating past.
“We chose the name Lansell to invoke that sense of region and country pride. We want people to understand where we’re coming from,” shares Lansell Homes CEO Jeff Smith. “We’re a country builder that builds for country people.”
Quite unsurprisingly, this humble, community-centric ethos permeates the entire organisation. This family-owned business has been a fixture in the landscape, in different iterations, for roughly four decades.
To Jeff, giving back to the community where they live, work and play is simply second nature. “We look for areas where we can contribute, where we can use our position and capabilities to help someone else,” he says.
“We have donated tens of thousands of dollars to local sporting clubs, museums and community groups. It’s something we’ve always done through the different businesses we’ve had. Giving back feels natural to us, we belong in this amazing local country community, and we have a relationship with the people here. It’s a fabulous place, we want Bendigo to continue being successful, and we’re just a part of that journey.”
Lansell Homes is also evolving to meet new client expectations, and Jeff ensures that the word ‘trust’ is synonymous with Lansell Homes.
“We make sure we give our clients an experience worthy of their investment with us. We make them feel appreciated. We always encourage them to ask questions, because we want them knowing, not wondering.”
As well as going above and beyond in every client interaction by truly listening, delivering, and exceeding expectations, Jeff and his team are streamlining the entire customer journey.
“I make working with us as frictionless as possible, so that building a new home with us is a pleasure,” he shares.
“I don’t want it to be a difficult process for the client. So the key areas for Lansell are around simplification and automation of the business.” Not only will this help with Lansell’s customer satisfaction, but it will also help them prepare for the future.
“We are growing. We have quite a lot of work in the pipeline,” Jeff says. “But we can’t grow if we don’t simplify at the business level. We’re always looking for a better way to get the same result. Staying stagnant is not an option. I always say, ‘If it’s not broke, fix it.’ You have to continue to develop and evolve your people and processes, otherwise you’ll be overtaken. I can’t compete against people if I have the same strategy as them.”
Lansell isn’t just a builder, it’s a land developer too. “We’ve built thousands of homes in Bendigo, and about half have been in our own estates. We’ve built dozens of estates, and we make sure that each one is distinctive and has its own sense of community. We ensure that our clients feel at home from the day they move in, with a sense of community and belonging.”
While Lansell Homes avoids “building clones” when it comes to its houses, it does work to ensure that each community has a sense of togetherness – making it easy to spot a Lansell homesite on a drive around Bendigo.
The folks at Lansell Homes take extreme pride in their work, and it shows in the final product – a beautiful turnkey home, including landscaping.
I make working with us as frictionless as possible, so that building a new home with us is a pleasure.
“With Lansell, it immediately feels like home,” Jeff shares. “When you drive down the street, it looks finished. It’s a completed community. And, we strive as much as we can to have some public space in the design that people can go and enjoy, whether it’s a garden area, a park or a great walking area. We always try to include that sense of community.”
This social fabric is important to Lansell Homes and is woven into all of its relationships, especially with its valued suppliers.
“We have suppliers and subcontractors that have been working with our family for so long that the businesses have been passed onto the next generations,” he shares.
“We have a really longstanding relationship with Deniliquin Cabinet Makers. They are integral to the quality of our product and are just a great business to deal with. We believe in win–win partnerships. You have to have that sense of loyalty to the people around you – and we do.”
Worth more than gold to Lansell Homes, however, is its employees. Jeff is in awe of the remarkable talent the company’s board has been able to recruit. “I have a magical team of truly talented and trustworthy people,” Jeff enthuses.
According to Jeff, failure is always an option. As any successful business knows, failure is the foundation of innovation. So, at Lansell Homes, employees are encouraged to look for new and better ways to achieve. And, if their ideas don’t work out, Jeff encourages his team to learn from their mistakes and grow, or as he says, “fail forward”.
“They truly care. The way I see it is, I work for them. If I’m not providing value to my team, how can I possibly provide value to my clients? My main job is to make my team’s job easy.”
The situation with COVID-19, and related business restrictions, has been challenging for Lansell Homes. However, Jeff is proud of the way his team has been handling the disruption.
“We have had to move all of our office team to work from home to meet social distancing guidelines (and allow them to homeschool their children), and this has meant that we’ve updated and changed a number of systems to streamline our processes. It has been a challenge, however, the team has met this head on and made sure we remain productive. The retooling of our systems was already in our business plan, so we just brought this forward and, as a result, we’ll come out other side of this stronger than we were before.”
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