Develop a strategic plan and work the plan.
Brenda Lavender is an independent real estate agent in Van Nuys, California. She was born into a large family as the youngest of nine children. Growing up, she had many interests and hobbies, including softball, choir, dance, and even debate club.
Brenda took general education courses at the University of Southern California, West Los Angeles College, and Pasadena City College. Brenda Lavender became interested in the real estate industry during her studies, as she worked at a property management office. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix, Brenda pursued a long-term career in real estate.
Brenda Lavender worked for multiple real estate companies over 30 years. Some of these companies include Davis Partners, R&B Commercial Management, Equity Office Properties, William Wilson and Associates, and Spieker Office Properties. One highly notable role was as a real estate and property manager for the City of Beverly Hills, of which Brenda was the first to hold this position. During her term, she managed the development of four buildings from construction all the way up to completion. After a decade in this role, Brenda Lavender returned to working in the private real estate industry. She worked with Douglas Emmitt Management Group and Black Equities Group. Ultimately, Brenda Lavender decided that going solo with her own real estate company was the best choice for her.
Where did the idea for Premier Real Estate Solutions come from?
The idea to create Premier Real Estate Solutions (PRES) came out of a desire to be a small business owner in the real estate industry that I have worked in and enjoyed for the last 25 years. I wanted to create a small business that could meet the needs of the everyday investor who may or may not be equipped to manage their own real estate investments — the individual who is building a real estate empire one single family home, or multifamily property at a time. Premier Real Estate Solutions was born out of a desire to help friends and fellow investors transition their new real estate purchases while they make strategic decisions regarding the purchase. Does the property need to be improved? PRES can help you with that. Is it a purchase and hold? PRES can assist you with leasing the property and positioning it for the long haul. PRES is strategically placed to assist with all of your real estate needs.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As a real estate investor, my typical day starts with a strong cup of coffee while researching investment opportunities for my team and community of investors. Through our proprietary IOS system, I identify potential investments and complete due diligence on individual properties to determine interest. If a property meets the team’s criteria, further investigation, including property tours, title searches, and evaluations are completed in order to make an offer on the property.
My day also includes making a lot of calls to gather information regarding specific areas of interest as well as researching the areas online.
Every day includes a team conference call with my investment community members for status updates and to strategize.
I end every day by reviewing what has been completed and what is a priority for the next day, then I outline a plan for the next day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My ideas are normally brought to life through hard work. As a member of an investment community, I spend time regularly strategizing about ways to expand my small business, but also about ways to be more creative and productive. I normally start with an idea and I will think about it and prepare a loose plan of what I want to do. I then discuss it with my team and take their input to refine the idea and develop an implementation plan.
I normally create a timeline for the implementation of the plan and note milestones and next steps and create methods by which to assess the success of the idea. My team is critical in keeping me on track and providing motivation.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend that excites me is having a small business. In today’s financial environment, having a small business and being an entrepreneur has never been better. There are tremendous tax benefits to operating your own business and it can allow you the finances, time, and freedom to spend time doing other things that you love.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The one habit I have that makes me more productive as an entrepreneur is that I am both an early morning person and a night owl. I normally get up by 5 a.m. daily and get to work on the computer researching and preparing proposals. I am able to get ahead of the day and complete much of my computer work by 10 a.m. Once the computer work is done, I’m available for phone calls and site visits. I can normally wrap up by day by 3 or 4 p.m. and take a break to be with family and friends until 10 or 11 p.m. when the night owl kicks in and I use the late-night hours to write and be creative.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice that I would give my younger self is to slow down. In my younger days, I was so determined to be successful in my career and that was the most important thing to me. I spent many long days and late nights trying to prove myself and promote up the corporate ladder. It was great for business, but it didn’t allow the same amount of time for personal growth, which was also a measure of success. I would remind the younger Brenda Lavender that my life is not defined by my job or career, but by connections and human experiences. I would advise myself to stop and smell the roses, to take time to celebrate all of the little successes, and to utilize my determination and hard work on personal projects and charity work. I would tell myself to spend more time with my parents because they weren’t going to be here as long as I thought they would.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The one thing that almost nobody agrees with me on is that I am a very simple person. I like simple things and it doesn’t take much for me to be happy and content.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, the one thing that I do over and over and recommend that everyone else do is develop a strategic plan and work the plan. I am a stickler for having a strategic plan for my business and goals and I believe in working the plan every day, every week, every month. In working the plan, you will need to make adjustments here and there, but you never stop working the plan.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being a part of an investment community that I regularly meet with has been very strategic for me. I am a part of a group of likeminded people that work collectively and collaboratively. This has allowed me to participate in projects that I would not have been able to if I worked alone. I have discovered projects that I have referred to other members of the team based on their expertise or ability to move on a project that I could not take advantage of and team members have done the same for me. Using our team strategy has allowed all of us to expand our small business and cross utilize our companies for projects that would be too large for us individually as small business owners.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early on, before I got involved in my investment community, I took on projects that I was not equipped to handle and it cost me financially and personally. Financially, I had to complete the project at a loss to maintain a good working relationship with the client. It also cost me personally because I depended on individuals that were not as dedicated and reputable as me and I was left to complete the project on my own. I was able to overcome the loss by partnering with better resources and by preparing better agreements for joint ventures or partnerships.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My idea for a business is real estate investment. If you look at the wealthiest people in the world, they all have substantial real estate holdings. Real estate is one investment that generally appreciates over time and can be used as collateral for funding for other opportunities or as a retirement plan. The key to real estate investment is education. You have to be educated in real estate investment and ownership. There are so many opportunities for the average person to own real estate, many just are not aware of their options
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent recently was on real estate education. I spent $1,000 on an essential real estate investment course through Renatus for 10 wonderful courses that provided education and resources to a new world of opportunity. Through these courses, I’ve learned priceless information regarding establishing and operating my small business. I’ve gained numerous resources for business funding, credit improvement and management, investment strategies, marketing, and operation.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The IOS system through Renatus is a software tool and a subscription service that allows me to research and find investment options, evaluate potential projects, and generate business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book that I would recommend that everyone read is “The Tax & Legal Playbook Game-Changing Solutions for Your Small-Business Questions” by Mark J. Kohler, CPA, Tax Attorney. One of the most effective ways to improve your financial position without getting a raise or increasing your business is to reduce your tax liability. This book provides great insight, strategies, and proven methods to do just that. As an entrepreneur, reducing our tax liability is a huge for your business and personal finances. The book provides strategies on how to set up your business entities in ways that it can grow as your business grows and shows you how to take advantage of tax benefits that the wealthy have been taking advantage of for years.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is a journey, not a destination” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
• The real estate industry offers numerous opportunities for employment and entrepreneurs
• Small business ownership is a way to create your perfect job
• There are great tax benefits associated with small businesses
• Small business ownership can help you create a legacy for your family
• Whether you’re a small business owner or an employee of a large corporation, you have to create balance between work and family.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.