This week’s Teacher Entrepreneur profile is Vince Beasley of Northern Lakes Realty http://www.nlrealtyllc.com/home.html. I met Vince when I started working at East Noble School Corporation. Vince is a bright guy and very personable. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a lake property in the Syracuse, Indiana area.
CS: What is the name of your business and where is it located?
VB: Northern Lakes Realty LLC, Syracuse, IN
CS: How long have you been an educator, and what positions have you held?
VB: I have been in education for 13 years and I have taught elementary school, been a high school guidance counselor and have been an administrator for the last 8 or 9 years. I was also an assistant basketball coach and head basketball coach as well during that time.
CS: Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
VB: I had always thought about starting some form of business. Each business idea I had required substantial capital to start. When I started thinking about options I had, real estate seemed like a great fit because I had some real estate experience during grad school. Real estate also seemed like a great fit because I have lived in this town most of my life and it is one of the strongest lake property markets in the state of Indiana. I have experience in real estate and a lot of knowledge and contacts in the community so it just seemed like a great fit.
CS: Why did you choose your particular industry?
VB: I felt like I always really enjoyed real estate and have been intrigued by it. When I look at my past experiences, I had the opportunity to work with a top 5 broker in Ft. Wayne during grad school. That gave me the opportunity to learn the intricacies of the business from one of the best agents in the region. When I accepted my position at Wawasee High School that position was only 3 miles from my house, so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time commuting back and forth to work. I knew that I would have time to help some friends and family look for lake properties and as I have done that I have had requests from others to help them as well.
CS: Tell me a little bit about your business?
VB: I would say we are a boutique type real estate brokerage. We specialize in lake properties. We have Lake Syracuse and lake Wawasee, in our back yard but we also have proximity to Warsaw, North Webster and other lake markets. We also have the opportunity to work with first time buyers and help them through the process of buying their first home. Right now we have 2 agents and our goal is to have no more than 5 agents. We want to be able to provide great service to our clients, so we don’t want to get too big. We currently have 5 or 6 listings and are growing but we are more interested in providing great service to our clients than just accumulating a lot of listings.
CS: What is the best business advice you have ever been given?
VB: From an entrepreneurs standpoint I was very conservative for a lot of years. I got some great advice from one of my friends that has been very successful in business for a lot of years. He said at some point you just have to go out there and do it. You can have all kinds of great ideas but if you never take the step and start the business all you have is a dream.
CS: What is the greatest challenge of being a Teacher Entrepreneur?
VB: I think balancing the day to day operations of your business with your job in education. Time managements is extremely important. You can be very busy with a full time job, business, family etc. You must manage your time well if you want to be successful.
CS: What advice would you give to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
VB: I feel like I had a great mentor when I was at East Noble. Try to find a mentor. Networking is also critical. You can make so many great connections and you never know where one of those connections may lead. Ask as many questions as you need to ask of your mentor. There were times I felt like I was probably wearing my mentor out, but it is important to know everything you possibly can before taking the leap and starting your business.
CS: What books or resources would you recommend to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
VB: That’s a good question. I have studied and read a lot of Warren Buffett’s information. Not so much the investments side, but more about what he does when he looks at businesses. He looks at the balance sheet but he also looks at the organization and the structure. He wants to know who is running the business. You are only as good as the people carrying the torch for your business. If I am the one carrying the torch for my business I want to know everything I can to run my business. Warren Buffet is a very modest and humble person. I think that is important.
CS: What is your vision for your business?
VB: Our vision is to grow, but to grow steadily and to do it by word of mouth. We are in a small community. There are 3,500 people that live in Syracuse year round but in the summer that number can grow to 20,000. Our goal is to be here for our customers, to serve them well, do what is right and grow the business strategically. The real estate market changes regularly, so you have to stay current. I think we are in a good position to grow and to have the opportunity to expand the business over the next few years.
CS: How will you know when you have achieved your vision?
VB: I would know we have achieved our vision when I can go to a local restaurant and the people in the restaurant know that we have a real estate business and we serve the people in our local community. That would be one step. The second step would be having repeat customers. When people feel confident enough to come back to us when they are looking to buy again that will tell me that we have achieved our vision. That will be a good sign, and that will let us know that we are providing the kind of customer service that will make us successful.
CS: What would you do differently if you were to start another business?
VB: That’s another good question. It is interesting because I may be considering doing that. I would say that I would have started it earlier. One thing that I would look at doing a little differently is pay to have some of the behind the scenes work done. I would probably have my attorney do a little more. I may have taken on too much. It worked out fine because I was able to learn what needed to be done, but I think next time I may pay to have someone do a little more of that work for me.
CS: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your business?
VB: At this point, the last thing I would leave your readers with is, that I would love to have the opportunity to serve them if they are looking for a lake property, a lake rental or are a first time home buyer in the Syracuse area.
I want to thank Vince for taking the time to speak with me. You can imagine how busy he is as a high school administrator, entrepreneur and family man. Check out his website at http://www.nlrealtyllc.com/home.html