Five Minutes With Firas al-Msaddi
Firas al Msaddi is the CEO of one of the most successful real estate firms in the UAE, known as FAM Properties. Starting out as a store assistant, to operating his own company, Firas has the drive and skills to achieve his goals, together with extensive knowledge and experience which he imparts to his team of over 100 agents. Founded in 2009 in the aftermath of the global economic crisis, FAM is proof that with passion and ambition, anything is achievable.
Firas al Msaddi knows how to make dreams come true. Born in Homs, the fourth largest city in Syria, he moved to Dubai at the age of 21. After more than a year of selling clothing at Armani, and almost fifty interviews, he decided to pursue a career in real estate. The company that hired him decided to close their business just five months into his job, but Firas didn’t despair. The employees were fired but the rent was paid, and so Firas asked for a chance to make it work. He hired a receptionist and a few agents, built the company website and a strong foundation, and then sold it to an Armenian investor. Firas became the chair of the company and grew the business to a team of 35, but when both partners entered into a legal battle, he decided to move on. In 2009, FAM was born in the Executive Towers, Dubai.
Selling was always a strong point for Firas, who earned the title of number one salesperson his first year with Armani, thanks to his candidness, combined with a cohesive understanding of the product, and appreciation of its value. “If I would buy it, if I’m convinced, then I would sell it”, he says. But Firas doesn’t consider sales a job because, no matter your position, everyone must sell themselves to be successful, he says.
FAM eventually moved to a larger office in the Executive Towers, and Firas purchased 7000 square feet of offices in Bay Square, which serve as the headquarters of the company. Today, the team comprises of more than 200 employees in five branches, including two shops which serve as a foothold to increase visibility. In the process of growing fam, Firas has also branched out to other interests including FAM automedia, FAM Holiday Homes and FAM Living.
FAM properties have recently expanded to Hong Kong and Firas insists that the timing couldn’t be better— his company is riding the very strong wave of appetite and synergy that has developed between the governments of the UAE and China. Firas believes that he has the platform to penetrate Chinese interests for investing in Dubai real estate, even though the Chinese market is challenging due to a difference in culture and ways of doing business. He also started working which he admits is not an easy market to crack, but with persistence, anything can be done.
For Firas, a mindset of determination and focus are the keys to success. Concentrated attention allows him to succeed and leads to great strides. “When people see your commitment and success, it attracts them to seek your advice, which inevitably moves you into a managerial position,” he says. “As you share your knowledge and train others to be successful, you earn seniority.” For Firas, the sky’s the limit.
The FAM team comprises of a wide range of nationalities including European, Asian, Emirati, and others. As a leader, Firas is constantly speaking with his agents to encourage them and ensure that they maintain optimism. In today’s market which can often be disheartening, Firas sees it as his duty to set the tone for his team— a good attitude can be the difference between failure and success, he says. His skill at motivating others stems from his own personal experiences— when something works for him and he is living and breathing it, he considers himself the best person to pass it on. Acknowledging the challenges are a necessary first step- relating to the person and his experience— but providing the tools to move forward are of
FAM Academy trains its agents through two phases— the first is led by trainers in the company, and the second is by Firas, where he shares his wealth of knowledge in real estate and the experiences which led him to where he is today. He also conducts etiquette training, which is focused on how to best introduce the company and oneself for the greatest success.
Firas’ business partner and best friend, Tarek, are inseparable. Like Firas, Tarek started out in retail, but when he heard about Firas’ plans, he was immediately on board and has worked tirelessly ever since. The trust between them has brought the company to where it is today and continues to be an invaluable asset to their growth and success. Tarek is presently responsible for sales and the agents, while Firas’ brother Fateh is involved with technology and online marketing (which has facilitated in corporatizing the business).
A new father of four after the recent birth of his twin girls, Firas is also a family man. A typical day starts with prayer after which he returns to sleep for an hour. He is up again at six, spends some time with his children and prepares them for school. Breakfast for Firas is 6-8 eggs for a heavy dose of protein, after which he drops off his children at school and heads to the office. The workday includes meetings, sourcing new clients, social media activity and visits to the gym (which he considers as important as a business meeting). After work, Firas returns home to spend time with his wife and children.
Firas has never had a suit tailored. (We don't hold this against him of course.) He shops at Zegna and Armani among others, but he likes to consider himself a gentleman who he defines as honest, kind and clean— crediting his parents, specifically his mother— for inspiring him to be the man he is today. Luxury for Firas is about having everything his way. Which is precisely how it seems to be.