Three steps to success

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2010, 12:00am

Timing is everything for Goodwin Gaw. In his business of real estate investments, knowing when to buy a property is critical to making a fortune or losing millions. 'Everything has a cycle, and what comes up will have to go down,' says Gaw, the founder of Gaw Capital, which oversees private equity funds of more than US$1 billion. 'If you enter at the right time, and buy at the down cycle then you can ride it when it goes back up.'

By understanding the inherent cycle of real estate markets, the Hong Kong-born founder says this has helped him time the markets. 'When you are investing around the world you can see how certain markets are performing, then you can have the perspective to compare and get a better picture. And time [your investments] right,' says Gaw, who graduated with a masters degree in construction engineering and management from Stanford University.

With Gaw's lucrative track record of buying properties from forced sellers, when the market is in distress, he says it take three steps to be successful: first, you have to be lucky to have an opportunity; second, you have to be smart enough to spot the opportunity and act on it at the right time; and lastly, you have to believe in yourself and be persistent with your goal, seeing it through to the end.

In Gaw's view time is everyone's most precious asset. 'If you use your time wisely, you will find more time, and then turn time into experiences that [lead] to fond memories,' he says. 'If you waste time doing things you don't enjoy, then instead of turning time into an asset, it becomes a waste.

'For me, I try to understand what I like the most, so I spend 75 per cent of my time doing things I enjoy, then [essentially] I'm not working. And, if you use it in the right way, it will build you to be a more substantial, influential and happier person.'

Since starting his company with his brother Kenneth Gaw in 2005, Goodwin Gaw has gained more control over the present and his future. 'When you start, everything is about how to maximise what is present, or else you won't have a future,' he explains. 'But now that our business is stable and I have a great team, I don't have to worry about today. It has created time for me to think about the future.'