Maintain good relationships with everyone, you never know where they will lead you.
John is the president of Right at Home Realty Inc. An accomplished leader, he has repeatedly distinguished himself in three areas; mergers and acquisitions, innovative operational solutions, and building high-performance teams. He consistently delivers above average returns for stakeholders.
John’s background includes an award winning commercial real estate sales career, management of corporate offices for one of Canada’s iconic real estate brands as well as ownership of a major residential real estate franchise.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I became involved with real estate after I graduated with an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology and really had no clue about what to do next. It was a mentor of mine who suggested that I should get involved in commercial real estate. I made my start in the world of office leasing and then spent the first part of my 34-year career in commercial real estate.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
So, a typical day is made up of reviewing ongoing projects that are in progress with my team which is made up of my VP of legal, marketing, and operations. We have a lot on the go at the moment — a major technology project, an acquisition and a complete launch of a new marketing department and associated initiatives. To make my day more productive I try and prioritize the 2 or 3 things that absolutely have to get done that day and focus on that hoping to move us closer to the finish line on each major project.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s very much a process of just being tuned in to what’s going on in the industry. I stay involved with both organized real estate, and I try to read and research a lot to keep in touch with new innovative tools, programs, software as well as leading realtors and people in all facets of the industry so that I can come up with what works best for our particular firm. Once I or one of my teams have some sort of idea of the outcome we are looking for, we then and try and hash it out in a brainstorming session to see if it’s something that we can make work for our firm. We are always driving for efficiency, best practices and positive results for our shareholders and other stakeholders too.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend that excites me going forward is a combination of a couple things. One is the increased growth in what we call ‘real estate teams’ in the industry, so what that is doing is taking the focus off what we call ‘legacy brands’ – well-known brand names are losing their luster. And that excites me because an independent brand like ours tends only to gain and benefit from that. The second one is the fact that there are so many more options for the customer, online purchasing options, iBuyer, and so, what this is doing is really pushing us to do more from a tech and productivity side.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Keep asking why. In other words, why we’re doing this, where is it taking us, what is it going to do for us… if you keep asking the question “why” often enough, you’ll eventually arrive at the answer.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be a hell of a lot more patient, stay at the course.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
“Sometimes, you have to say no.” Just say no, often people don’t agree until they realize that’s actually what the solution is.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Almost as a daily habit I revisit where I’m going personally, how I want to improve, and stay in tune with my overall objective, and that’s something that I recommend everybody else do particularly with the focus on having a positive mental attitude. That’s a challenge everyday but it’s really something I try to do over and over and over.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The main strategy has been to maintain excellent relationships with people I knew from the day I got into this business, over 30 years ago. This helps because I’ve been able to call on people I haven’t had any business involvement with but the relationship becomes relevant all of a sudden and then you can, in a pinch, reach out and end up as a result of a long-standing relationship, working on something together that’s very positive and fruitful.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It was a very early business partnership that didn’t work out and I overcame it by buying another business that the bank had asked me to sell. It was a bad business, it wasn’t being well run and so in the end, I ended up buying it and turning it around and just pouring my time and effort into that business. It taught me about being resilient in the face of defeat and negativity.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A real estate office in a car. Working in real estate means I frequently work from my car and using my car’s wifi but it would be great if instead of having the glovebox, there would actually be a full office with a mini printer and all the tools and equipment in it that I need, sort of real estate box on the go.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
On a massage. And why? Stress relief.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I would say one is Trello and I use it as my white (idea) board or where all my sticky notes are for every single project or task that I and/or my team are working on so it really helps to keep an ongoing list of things that we need to accomplish.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Think and Grow Rich. And the reason I recommend that is there are a whole host of life lessons beyond just about making money that are really, really valuable.
What is your favorite quote?
“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” from the movie Gladiator and “Get busy living or get busy dying.” from my favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption
- Maintain good relationships with everyone, you never know where they will lead you
- Stay organized to stay productive
- Collaborate with your team and embrace new ideas
- PMA = Positive Mental Attitude