I can’t prove it, but I suspect that in 1985 I was the only MBA, Fortune 500 trained, CEO in Duck, North Carolina. Back then Duck was still a sleepy, small seaside town. But things were about to change.
A lawsuit against a developer was decided in favor of the plaintiffs. No longer would the only road north to Corolla be restricted to property owners. In October of 1984 the guard gate came down and a 20 year long real estate boom was about to begin. http://www.corollaguide.com/history/
And I was smack dab in the middle of it all, ready with my MBA, my corporate experience and a partner with a CPA.
We were young, we were dirt poor, and we had nothing to lose… a lethal combination that proved difficult for any competition to face.
We started our resort real estate business using the same principles, structures and systems of any big multi-national. We had business plans, strategic plans, financial statements and ratios. We had metrics, budgets, marketing plans and targeted sales goals. We had the support of a great banker who believed in us and a secure line of credit.
We were really good at COUNTING! We had the financial side of the business nailed!
We also had the CARING side of business in place.
We hired only the best and brightest. We trained, we recognized, we retained and we motivated. We had inclusive incentive plans, our operations and decisions were transparent. Our mid -week rum Punch parties and conch shell blowing contests brought hundreds of beach lovers (new customers!) through our doors. Our Christmas parties were legendary.
We cared because we were in love; in love with our fun and engaged employees, in love with our early clients who were willing to take a risk with a young and unproven start-up. We were in love with the opportunities and possibilities, in love with the hard work and challenges. And we were in love with the beach and the ocean, its cool waters providing immediate relief from a long day filled with stress and worry.
Not only were we really good at COUNTING, we were exceptionally good at CARING.
This combination of Counting & Caring propelled our business to the top of the heap of the burgeoning real estate market on The Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were successful on all fronts. We grew and prospered and we shared our good fortune with our staff, our customers and our community.
And 12 years into the business, we attracted the attention of three Venture Capitalists.
To be continued in my next blog that addresses what happens when: