30-A Final Reflection

Out of this whole semester, I can easily say that the most memorable part of this class was the interviews. Having to interview so many people was difficult but worth it because it helped me grow my people skills, as well as meet many new people.

I am most proud of myself for performing certain interviews. I contacted people I didn’t think would be interested in speaking with me and was pleasantly surprised at the results.

Before I started this class, I already had an entrepreneurial mindset. This class helped my strengthen and further refine that mindset. The different ideas and concepts presented will be useful in my future endeavors.

My recommendation for future students who are beginning their path down this road would be to take it head on. To shoot for the skies when trying to get interviews. Go for people who you might be nervous to interview, you’ll be glad you did.

29-A Venture Concept 2

The opportunity for my venture is real estate in the city of Dothan, Alabama. Currently, there is a severe lack of available retail and restaurant space available for use by new and expanding business. Because of Dothan’s economic growth over the last decade, this opportunity is quite large because a large number of business are looking to establish themselves in the market. The window of opportunity will be open until another major retail development is created. Currently there is not any in development, but that will not be true forever.

The product in my concept is real estate. It will be a new development geared to these new businesses looking to establish themselves. A large number of these businesses are upscale and that is why they are not taking lease the little available locations left in Dothan. It just isn’t up to their standards. Another major factor of my concept is customer care. We will take good care of our buildings and will respond quickly to comments from tenants.

My business will not require many ongoing employees. Likely their will only be a property manager and maintenance staff. Most of the hard work for my concept will be in the planning stage. This is where we plan the development and get tenants during construction. This initial phase will require more staff to get the ball rolling, however once established, there will be less need for staff.

My secret sauce will be our location and our tenant care. Location is vitally important to these businesses, so our location is vitally important to getting tenants. Additionally, every knows landlords have a bad reputation. I will not allow my company to get that reputation. We will perform regular preventative maintenance as well as respond promptly to requests.

What’s next? After this development is fully occupied and successful for a few years, I would consider adding additional space. Perhaps building another full development here in Dothan or elsewhere.

For me, I want the business to be operating on its own. It is not complicated to maintain so I have confidence we will be able to achieve a balance where I am needed minimally. I will want to start other ventures and businesses. I don’t know what those will be, but I love starting and growing businesses.

I have made some changes from my first business concept. I have put more emphasis on tenant relationships. Additionally, the location of the development is vital because the tenants pick their locations based off of that.

28A exit strategy

My exit strategy is to hold on the the business long term. I will eventually sell it to a manager or leave it to my children ( should I have any).

I intend to hold on to the business as long as I please. I worked hard building it and I will enjoy reaping the benefits. My exit strategy has not affected any decisions yet because I will not be retiring for another 40 years.

26A Celebrating Failure

This semester I failed at appropriately estimating a rehab budget. As a result of my mistake the profit of the venture was half of what was expected. To the tune of 50 Thousand Dollars bad mistake.

Obviously, my investors were extremely unhappy. However, this project still resulted in great results. We crafted new procedures for the team to avoid this mistake again.

While this was a setback, I know that me and my team will learn from out mistakes and do everything in our power to not let them happen again.

20A – Growing Your Social Capital

  1. My first individual is Mike Schmitz. He is successful businessmen and current chairman of the Dothan City School Board. Before serving as the school board chairman, he served as mayor for 8 years. As an integral part of Dothan, he is my market expert. He is a family friend, so I decided to reach out to him and ask him to lunch to discuss this assignment.
  2. My second individual is Sandy Schmitz. In her career, she has been a licensed real estate agent, general contractor and a business owner. She currently is developing properties in the Dothan area. She is my domain expert. I asked to interview her about my concept.
  3. My third individual is Anita Dawkins, she is a active real estate agent in the Dothan market who helps businesses find new locations. She is my supplier. I have worked with her before and know she is very active in this area. I emailed her about my concept.

This differed from other assignments because is required me to get in contact with people who are “big names” in my area and out of my social circle.

19A – Idea Napkin 2

My business pitch is a new development in Dothan, AL.

I am a young real estate investor who is active in the lower Alabama area. I am a licensed real estate agent in Florida. I have gained a large number of friends in acquaintances in Dothan, Al which will help me be successful in this venture.

I am offering a new commercial development to retail stores and restaurants looking to relocate or open new locations in my market. The development will be a modern, energy efficient place to expand. My customers will be businessmen and businesswomen who are looking to expand operations. The customers want a modern place to put their business because there are almost no locations available that do not have a scary vibe to them.

The biggest thing that sets me apart is my connections, my family owns several large businesses in town and is very involved in the community and local government. This has allowed me to become well connected.

My skills combined with the current need for commercial real estate creates the perfect situation for investment.  

18A – Create a Customer Avatar

My prototypical customer will likely be individuals ranging in age from their thirties up into their sixties. This is because this is the age range where people usually have businesses. While there are others who are younger and some who are older, for the most part, the range is those towards the middle of their life. I do not have a typical gender because everyone has businesses who need a location. I would imagine my typical customer is a go-getting person because they have a business. I imagine they have kids, like to golf, watch shark tank, and love self-help books.

I feel that I have a similar mindset to these individuals. I am not yet in the same age range; however, I am not too far off.

15A Figuring Out Buyer Behavior

1st interview: The first interviewee stated that they did not have many alternatives in the current real estate market in Dothan, Al. They use a realtor when they look for new locations. After they start renting at a new location, they are most impressed by prompt maintenance for their location. In the past they have been treated poorly by slow repairs.

2nd interview: My second interviewee is looking to find a location for her real estate brokerage. Because of the nature of her business she has more options than a retail store or restaurant. She can set up an office in an existing home if she can’t find a suitable location.  Because she is a broker herself, she does not have to enlist the aid of an agent. She stated that if she does rent, she hopes for a responsive owner who respond in a reasonable amount of time to questions and comments.

3rd interview: My third interviewee is looking into starting a medical clothing store. She is looking personally around and not enlisting the help of an agent. Because she is starting a retail store, she has to have a suitable location and cannot afford to build a location, so she has to rent. She has never rented commercially before, so she is just hoping for a nice owner or manager.