Stefan Swanepoel – CEO of the Swanepoel T3 Group


Bringing an idea to life is a procedure that constantly needs nurturing, and two of the most meaningful tools to achieve that are focus and endurance. Don’t ever allow your ideas to be interrupted or become irrelevant.

Stefan Swanepoel is the chairman and CEO of the Swanepoel T3 Group. Swanepoel is a New York Times bestselling author; a business, leadership, and motivational speaker; and a real estate trends strategist. Recently, the T3 Group introduced T3 Sixty, a management consulting arm that provides a 360-degree approach to the real estate business. T3 Sixty offers extensive research, trend watching, strategic analysis, and business innovation.

Where did the vision for the Swanepoel T3 Group come from?

At 15 percent, housing is the largest single contributor to the GDP of the United States. Despite its size, in more than half a century, the residential real estate brokerage industry has gone fundamentally unaffected by major consumer and technology trends. Now, on the precipice of industry-wide transformation, consolidation, and technology innovation, a different industry is being created.

During these exhilarating times, brokers, agents, and management need quality information and reliable advice — the Swanepoel T3 Group is that trusted resource.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

A typical day? I don’t recall or remember many typical days since our company was formed 18 years ago. With 32 books and reports published, more than 125 trends researched, and more than 1,100 presentations given to more than 1 million Realtors, every week is more interesting than the previous, and every day is more rewarding than we could have ever hoped for.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Bringing an idea to life is a procedure that constantly needs nurturing, and two of the most meaningful tools to achieve that are focus and endurance. Don’t ever allow your ideas to be interrupted or become irrelevant.

What excites you the most about trends?

No one can predict the future, but we all know that change generates shifts every day. It is the very kernel of life — change is not a target or an end point, but a process. And tracking trends and experiencing the change they bring is both captivating and humbling. I revel in it today as much as I did when I wrote my first book on trends and change 25 years ago.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?

Taking care of tomorrow today.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would take a lot more chances. I would have been a little bolder and a little less cautious. Unexpected advice when you are starting to build a business at a substantial level of seriousness and resolve is most certainly required to succeed. But, with hindsight, one comes to appreciate that a healthy dose of risk-taking and playfulness is as important. Finding a good balance is difficult.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep the fairness barometer and ethical compass running at all times.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Have your words always mean exactly what they sound like when you say them.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

With the emergence of the Internet of Things, location beacons, smart devices, and more, the possibilities are endless. Think of an innovative way to take care of your aging parents; start a service business, crowdfund it, social media the heck out of it, and consult your way to financial independence while making a meaningful contribution to society.
Obviously, it’s not really that straightforward, but healthcare is booming, and it offers a diverse array of options. Quality service will always be in high demand, and almost anyone can play a valuable role in this field.

Tell us something about you that very few people know.

Tranquility often evades those of us who live 24/7 lives. Knowing where your charging station is is helpful — Hawaii is mine.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Any app that is quick and intuitive to use or satisfies a specific need is high on my list. Be it Amazon, an airline app, Uber, OpenTable, electronic banking, Netflix, Messenger, or Maps — if it saves me time and makes life easier, I will “love” it!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

I am not sure this is a read for everyone, but it is the book that I enjoyed above all others: “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. It made me stop and rethink many of the standards, beliefs, and principles we were taught growing up. The book challenges conventional wisdom, and I like that.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Anyone who has lived a life with purpose. It could be a father, a pastor, a neighbor, or an author. It doesn’t really matter. When someone has drive and follows through with commitment, that’s when he makes a difference. People who have influenced me include Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, and Steve Jobs.