1. What made you decide to go into business?
I grew up poor; no a/c in Miami or car poor, utilities, water and electric turned off poor, evicted poor. I actually lived with my mother, brother, and sister in a car for a week and did NOT like it. I saw business as the way out, the best way to create prosperity in my life so as to have the resources to ensure that poverty would never manifest itself in my life again.
2. What was the hardest part about your start up process in property management?
Finding/training good people.
3. Did you start with business loans?
I started with owner financing. I had no capital, it was all bootstrap. The first couple of dozen single-family homes were all low/no down deals, the stuff you see on late night TV info commercials.
4. What is the most challenging part from an owner standpoint?
Risk Analysis! Trying to see all the shoals, rocks and reefs, and storms ahead!
– We face a rising interest rate environment thus Refi’s will no longer allow us to pull capital out without sharp increases in debt payments with potentially rising cap rates as well.
– Historically, this is one of the longest economic expansions ever albeit a slow one. Is there a recession/slowdown around the corner?
– Will inflation come back?
5. What is your biggest regret?
Not having my son earlier in life.
6. What is the best piece of advice you were ever given with regard to business?
I’m sure I’ve been given some great advice which fell on deaf ears. My father was the major role model in my life; he was the kindest, gentlest, most altruistic, patient man I’ve ever met. I can only remember him raising his voice once (quite the feat for the single dad raising 3 rambunctious, head strong kids). I do remember feeling great remorse having been the source of the provocation! However, I do not remember him ever giving me unsolicited advice; his life was his sermon. Gainesville is not a business town, I had no mentors building the business, books were the closest.
“The difference between an entrepreneur and a professional business manager,
is one of attitude.
The entrepreneur, especially when starting out,
knows that he is operating on the threshold of success or failure.
A single mistake can ruin him.
He can’t afford that single mistake.
He has to reach a certain market,
make a stipulated amount of sales and
earn enough money to carry him forward.
While others leave the office at five o’clock,
he stays behind and works to solve those problems that beset his business.
He takes his problems home with him.
He lives his business twenty-four hours a day.”
– “Managing”, Harold S. Geneen, 1910-1997
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier