Three Lessons Learned While Earning an Inc 5000 Ranking

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lake Homes Realty

Our brokerage's agents and staff were excited to be recently ranked at #927 on the 2017 Inc 5000.

This is Inc Magazine's annual list of the fastest growing companies in the country.

To make this list, companies must prove signficant revenue growth over a three year period.

There were several different types of real estate companies on the list, each with different business models and some in the development and property managemetn areas of real estate. Not that many were brokerages.

However, kudos to all of them, and a thank you to our team for making our progress and growth possible!

Many Lessons Learned

In growing our real estate brokerage quickly (licensed and operating in 14 states already), we learned many lessons. And are still learning more every day. 

However, here are three lessons I think could benefit anyone who wants to grow their business (or even just their personal book of business):


Real Growth Takes Sustained Hard Work

To many people outside of our industry, real estate looks like a short-cut to success.

You can become licensed and conduct business with a much smaller time and financial investment than most professional careers. And the potentail upside is potentially very significant.

However, I have never seen anyone with their own long-term success obtain it through short-cuts.

My colleagues and mentors who I consider "very successful" also all work. They work hard. They enjoy the work and the accomplishments they earn. And they do this work over many years.

When talking with new agents or budding entrepreneurs, we often discuss the work involved for success. They all say the right things but over time I find few have the discipline or fortitude to just crush it day after day after day. Much less year after year. 

But if you can do the right things and then outwork others, long-term success is far more likely.


Long-Term Growth Takes Reinvention

My COO Doris Phillips once said, "What works for one doesn't work for two. What works for two, doesn't work for three."

She is so right. The approach used in the beginning will often cease to support continued healthy growth. It may even plant the seeds of eventual collapse.

For example, a new real estate agent with plenty of time may be glad to do the extra service and show a buyer twenty or thirty homes in a week. Through this super customer-focused interaction, they may really grow their business through referrals about their great attention to clients.

However, once that agent has twenty or thirty active buyers, this type of service doesn't work. It is an impossiblity of time to offer this same type of service by yourself.

This agent must adapt, be it working with other agents or developing new time management (and client management) skills.

This reinvention is hard, as it requires us to see our limits and prepare new ways to overcome them. 

Coaches, mentors, and even candid peers are a great way to both see ourselves better and to learn new skills to reinvent ourselves for ongoing success. 


Growth Requires Failure

When growing any business (or just ourselves), there are many lesson to learn. The only way to learn many of these lessons is through your effort to try things beyond your current skill and expertise.

Just as taking a class can give you new skills and knowledge, so can the act of "doing." Try new things, test strategies, and meet with others beyond your circle of friend and colleagues.

You didn't learn to walk instantly. You fell down. Probably a lot.

In time though, you developed the skills, physically and mentally. You learned to avoid walking in to things, likely through some painful experiences. 

Lake Homes Realty didn't start out with the plan to be a multi-state real estate brokerage. Our website, was initially going to be a lead generation website, something along the lines of a niche Zillow. 

However, the original business model turned out to have some flaws we deemed too serious to continue on that path. Sure, digital companies are all the rage in Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

However, that does not ensure every .COM will be a hit. It also does not hide the fact there are other great opportunities in pivoting to a different business model with different options.

For us, that was taking the tough lesson and using it. We studied and planned for fifteen months and chose to build a hybrid business that still uniquely leveraged the power of the web while providing the real agent-to-customer experience consumers still want and need. And now we are on the Inc. 5000 in the first year we are eligible.

Business and personal growth are much the same. The failures contain lessons. Some you'll learn without effort. However, IF you focus on the full breadth of lessons from your failures, these will become your some of your greatest lessons... and opportunties!


Lessons Are Everywhere, Everyday!

There are so many more lessons, both in business in personal, but I hope these three are helpful to you. I'm sure you have some great tips and lessons-learned to share, and I'd love to hear them. 

Have a great day and think BIG (another lesson for another day!).




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Glenn S. Phillips is the CEO of Lake Homes Realty, the multi-state, full-service, lake-focused real estate brokerage powered by

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