Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.
Ans: The concept for Venture One Realty originated as I became active in the re-hab flipping business 10 years ago. As my houses were being marketed it occurred to me that most every buyer who contacted me had found the property on-line thru various listing sources. MLS, Zillow, Homesnap and Realtor.com. While that was extremely efficient it made me think more and more about the money I was spending on Real Estate Commissions, especially at closing when those 6% commission fees in some cases added up to costing me 30% of my profit. The same dilemma was also confronting the average homeowner who, over the last 10 years or so, has seen lower appreciation on their homes with much smaller equity build-up. Why give all that commission money to a Realtor when you get the same results for 1%? The key was to be able to offer the same full service that conventional Realtors offered but at only a 1% Listing Fee, which we have been doing successfully for a while.
While this business model is very different from what has been traditionally done in the Real Estate business, I believe it is the future of the residential real estate industry. The efficiency of the internet has enabled information flow and better productivity which translates to being able to offer superior service without the traditional high cost.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself
Ans: I grew up in South Windsor Ct and attended the local schools, played both soccer and lacrosse and was I guess what you would call an average student. I attended Southern New Hampshire University where I played Division 2 Lacrosse on an athletic scholarship and graduated in 2007 with a degree in Business Administration and a Minor in History. After college I got my Real Estate license and got some great experience working in my Uncle’s Brokerage. My sister and I started an investment company and we were able to invest in commercial real estate, mostly small retail plazas and ran our own Boutique lending business, lending private money to Real Estate Investors for Re-Hab projects as well as doing our own Flip deals. Eventually I purchased and later sold a HomeVestors Franchise, the “ we buy ugly houses” company and started marketing our own re-hab homes. I am now a licensed Real Estate Broker and my wife is a collegiate field hockey coach, we have one child and we live in Central Connecticut.
Q 3. How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: I became interested in real estate when I was still in high school. My father had built and developed a condo project in Hartford and he had ended up renting one of them, it got trashed by a tenant and when I went with him to take a look, I talked him into letting me get it fixed up and off I went. He was really busy and he agreed to pay me a minimum amount by the hour, fund all the costs, but told me that when it was resold, he would split the profits with me. I really needed a summer job so off I went. I hired my buddy’s to demo, found and supervised all the contractors and by the end of the summer, we sold it and he handed me a check for $6700 for my share of the profits.
Obviously the money was fantastic but what I really liked about the whole thing was that I could see the immediate tangible results from my own efforts and the freedom to work my own schedules and make the decisions. Some were good, some bad but more were good than bad. I learned a lot that summer. After graduating from college I got some great experience working for my Uncle’s real estate brokerage and began to pursue additional opportunities in the Re-Hab flipping market. I also began to research and formulate a new business model that ultimately became Venture One Realty.
Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: Do your research but don’t get bogged down in trying to create the perfect new idea. Most business successes are derived from improving an existing idea. I would also advise to absorb and learn as much as you can about your craft from as many different perspectives as possible. The third thing would be to not judge your success or failure too quickly. Most entrepreneurs have failed in a business before they succeed in the next one. The next one might be a similar business but maybe with a different market focus or have some other angle to it.
Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Organization and procedures in place so that you can delegate the routine repetitive tasks which then gives you the time to work on growing your business externally and not get bogged down with the internal tasks. I think it is also really important to be able to identify with your customer so that you can make adjustments within your business as the customer’s needs shift. In my business that might mean things like the local economy in a certain area as well as rising or falling property values and changing demographics.
Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: My hours vary a lot. I would say maybe 8-12 hours per day, sometimes more if I am trying to keep my schedule open for the weekend. But the best part is that I get to set my own schedule so that I can block out time for family activities that are really important to me. The other thought on my time is that I do spend a considerable amount of it in the car, going to appointments but my drive home time I have started to use a good part of it to decompress, switch gears, clear my head maybe listen to an audio tutorial on some new business tool or idea.
Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Never giving up, and continuously trying to improve and get better. Always asking that question, how can this work better, what can I do better? I believe some of this was what I learned in my athletic career, the hard work that was necessary to win, all the practice and most of all the teamwork that is necessary for success.
Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: We do all the conventional types, mail, social, but by far the best is networking and forming personal relationships. No matter how many new tech tools get invented to help our productivity, you still have to be able to communicate effectively face to face to gain the trust of your potential new client.
Q 9. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: In the beginning it was family, friends, and some of my own money that I had earned from selling real estate and completing some successful real estate flips. Venture One Realty is now a very successful company that generates excellent cash flow which allows me to re-invest in marketing, training, technology, and all the other things necessary to continue to grow the business.
Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Be consistent in your process and trust it. It’s there so that when it seems that everything is going haywire you can rely on the process to see you through the craziness that some days bring. Treat people fairly and honestly with the respect that they deserve.
Q 11. Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: I would like to be able to offer my team a fulfilling work experience as well as to do everything possible to help with their financial success and quality of life. My vision would be to continue to grow my business in an orderly fashion to a point that it is sustainable, provides my family with a good standard of living and gives me the time to enjoy life.
Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: I really admire the APPLE Corporation. This is a company that persevered through some really tough times but adjusted, believed in their own technology and now has had some huge winners in the marketplace.
Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: Extremely important. Someone once told me to always try and hire someone who is smarter than yourself and then get out of the way and let them do their job. Besides a great work force I also have focused on assembling what I like to call my “go to team”. These are people who I consider my confidants – my real estate attorney, various contractors, mortgage brokers, my Insurance broker, advertising specialists, all of whom know my business, understand my needs and can react quickly when something has to be addressed.
Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: Usually about 6-9 months, by then we generally have enough data to make a thoughtful decision and further strategize what might be going wrong or what adjustments to make.
Q 15. What motivates you?
Ans: That I have the ability and freedom to choose the best way to provide for my family at the same time have fun doing it.
Q 16. What are your ideals?
Ans: Hard work, honesty, trying to be fair and upfront with people.
Q 17.How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: What I try and do is to ask questions and listen. I think that if you can examine something from a lot of different perspectives it’s easier to get creative with an alternate idea or thought. I try and keep up on the competition, the market shifts and usually test out an idea with someone who understands my business – just bounce it off them, hear what comes back and keep on refining the new idea. It’s great to come up with a totally new idea and it’s also very difficult. In my business I am generally trying to improve upon an idea or concept or figure out how to do something better. An example would be maybe a better way to identify and cultivate my potential new clients – people who need to sell their house quickly, save money, or have limited equity and really need my expertise and professional service.
Q 18.How do you define success?
Ans: Being able to continue to enjoy what I am doing, provide adequately for my family and have the control of my own destiny through my business.
Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: While we certainly do use all the new tech tools it still ultimately comes down to being able to sit down across the table from someone and talk face to face. You need to be a good listener and gain their trust so you can help them solve their problem. Patience and empathy are also very important traits. I always try to remember that although I have met with hundreds of people who are looking to either buy or sell a home, more than likely the potential client has never done this before, they now have this one major decision that they need to focus on which might be me helping to sell their house, me offering advice on repairs or even arranging for the repairs if the situation warrants. If you always try get to a “win-win proposition” and treat everyone with respect whether they decide to do business with you or not, you will get referrals and good testimonials which is enormously helpful in growing your customer base.
Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: Having the ability to make my own schedule, the freedom to guide the business with different strategies. The other thing I really enjoy is that although the business’s goals and focus don’t really change, it seems that every day there is a new challenge or a new mini adventure of some kind which always keeps things interesting.
Q 21.What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: Watching a plan that I have spent a lot of time on finally come together. We recently decided to offer Home Owners advice and access to funding if they needed some repairs completed to make their home more marketable. It took a lot of planning, but it’s been quite successful. It is very satisfying to see all the moving pieces working correctly and efficiently. Also when we help someone sell their house, sure we are making a profit, but it is extremely gratifying to know that I have helped someone get thru an important and sometimes emotional event in their lives.
Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: I honestly believe it is about risk. Everyone has different tolerances on what they are comfortable risking. Most entrepreneurs understand the risk factor when they are investing their own money and it is on them to make the business work. The key to it I believe is that most successful entrepreneurs can figure out the correct balance between the risk and the reward.
Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: We are very straight forward in our business about communicating when it comes to how we want things done and how we expect our clients to be treated. Everyone understands how the customer comes first and when there is a problem- it’s all hands on deck. We are casual in our attire and while we all work hard, we also try to have fun and it’s always family first.
Q 24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Ans: Roller Coaster
Q 25. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: I would have started to work on growth strategies a bit sooner. Early on I got a bit bogged down with operational details. While important they can be tasks better taken care of by staff that we have trained specifically for those tasks.
Q 26. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: It just seemed natural at the time. South Windsor is the town I grew up in. Many people know me in the community from the schools I attended and I was very active after college in the community by coaching several youth lacrosse teams. It is centrally located and easy for my employees to travel to.
Q 27. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: Wow this is a tough one since I am a history buff. Probably Abraham Lincoln. The decisions that he made while president of the USA are just incredible. I think I would like to sit down have a beer with him just get to know the guy and understand more of how he thought things out and when did he realize that he was such a great leader.
Q 28. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: My parents, they both grew up in the Hartford area, large families, of working class parents. They were both very successful in their relative fields and taught us through example how to treat people correctly and a great work ethic. They both still live nearby and are really enjoying their grandchildren.
It’s funny, but when I look at it, there are really two what I would call “ family businesses”, teaching and Real Estate.
My grandmother Philomena taught English at a grammar school in Hartford where she met my Grandfather John who was a science teacher. All three of my grandmother’s sisters were teachers as were my mother who also taught in Hartford, my aunt and now my sister and at least 8 or 9 cousins. My grandfather, the Science teacher got his Real Estate License to try and make some extra money during the summers. When he retired from teaching in 1977 he and my uncle John purchased a Century 21 franchise in Hartford. My uncle still runs it although under a different franchise organization. It is one of the larger retail brokerages in the area. When I first got my real estate license I actually worked there for a couple of years, learned a lot. My dad started a Holographic Security Business that was very successful and after he sold it to a public company he got involved in Real Estate Investing and Development and was a great help to me when I was starting my own business and is always there for advice. He still likes to jump in now and then, it keeps him busy and we have fun.
Q 29. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: Major mistakes can be prevented by having a systematic approach to decision making. I try to stay with a predetermined process that fits in with my strategic plan.
Q 30. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: I like to paint miniatures figures; it is very relaxing. Get together with my friends with their family’s for cookouts, just to hang out, or play video games. I Love to watch sports, am a huge New York Giants fan! My wife and I enjoy to travel to new places and spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer. Sports have always been a huge part of my life and now I have been trying to improve my golf game.
Q 31. What makes you happy?
Ans: My family and friends. We are a very
Company : Venture One Realty LLC
Contact : Michael Zubretsky
Address : 225 Oakland Road, Suite 202
City : South Windsor
State : CT
Zip : 06074
Phone : 860-644-7898
Email : email@example.com