By Daniel Perry (McAdams)
ULI Young Leaders met on February 8 for conversation with a panel of young entrepreneurs who shared experiences in starting their own real estate businesses. The panel included Henry Ward (LODEN Properties), Robby Johnston (Raleigh Architecture Co.), Laura Quinn (Quinn Partners), and moderator Imran Aukhil (The Dilweg Companies).
The panel started off by discussing their individual paths to entrepreneurship and some best practices they have learned along the way. One commonality surfaced between all three: the importance of seeking the advice from mentors already in the industry. Robby and his partner contacted the top ten people they admired most in the industry, while Laura often seeks advice from her father who also owns a real estate company. In an everchanging industry, most veteran business leaders are often eager to share advice with less experienced business owners. This provides valuable insight into the mechanics of running a business. The panel encouraged the audience to use resources such as ULI to network with colleagues in different areas of real estate and to learn how those connections can help make your future endeavors successful.
As the discussion shifted, the panel shared some of the obstacles they have overcome while growing their businesses. Examples of how they raised capital to fund their first projects and steps they took to be financially ready to make the shift into entrepreneurship were among them. The importance of partnerships when starting your own business was also discussed as a key to their successes. They each spoke of different methods used in seeking partnerships, to vet the relationships to determine if they were the right fit for the business, and how these partnerships have carried their businesses through adverse situations.
During closing remarks, the panel expressed how there is no perfect time to make the leap into starting your own business. You will never know all the risks. Unexpected events will always occur, but you must be able to pivot, stay resilient, and be creative at times to solve issues that come up. Even through the highs and lows of each day, the panel expressed finding fulfillment in their lives by becoming entrepreneurs.