I grew up the son of a carpenter in New England and my mom worked in the medical field and ran a cleaning business on the side. Getting up in the early morning to eat some chow at the local greasy spoon was the start of a grueling day of manual labor. Not a day went by that I didn’t regret having to put in my time with the family business. However, in looking back at how much I hated the hard work, I can appreciate the lessons my parents taught me about survival and making something our of nothing.
Needless to say I’ve built a career honing my craft as a communications aficionado through the development of countless presentations and marketing campaigns for world-class architects & developers. This training in corporate branding has afforded me the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field. Whether or not I grow to be a real estate developer myself remains to be seen however I’d like to share with you my top 5 qualities from the most successful developers I know.
Money: Sure we can all use it however if that is your main focus then it won’t be long before you’re faced with a situation that can spiral out of control. Time and again we read about people who’ve tarnished their image by cutting corners or making deals that ultimately compromise their integrity. If you are the brand to your company, then recognize the long term effects of your decisions and the impact it may have on the lives around you. Remember never to sell out because of money because like the saying goes “Life is a journey and not a destination.”
Relationships: Knowledge is power so relationship building is an absolute must, and they take time to develop. A developer must form relationships with financiers, realtors, attorneys, city officials, general contractors, architects, structural engineers, local labor unions and others. My dad taught me that I’m less than 8-people away from the decision maker. Meaning, I know someone that knows someone that can get me an appointment to pitch my ideas to the decision maker.
Risk Tolerance: I have a meme on my desktop that says “Do something everyday that scares you.” It’s a reminder for me to step out of my comfort zone. Some individuals find it difficult to take risks because that would mean taking a walk on the unknown side. Ask yourself how well do you think you can sleep at night knowing that the results of your sweat equity and entire net worth (or more) was riding on the success or failure of a project. Prudent developers invest in building the right team to help make calculated and measured risks. Nevertheless, being an entrepreneur in any field is a risky business that some are just not cut out for.
Problem Solving: Acquiring the discipline of being unafraid to make mistakes is a virtue in itself. Some say that you aren’t working hard enough if you aren’t making mistakes. Developing a successful project takes tremendous skill to navigate through all the speed bumps and roadblocks along the way. Developers know how to solve problems, and they seem to understand that there is usually more than one solution to a problem. Creative site planning, finding solutions to zoning issues, dealing with complicated land owners and finding ways to complete a project on time and under budget. These are all examples of the problem-solving skills a developer must have.
Creativity: What is the purpose of this new project? When completed, how much of an impact will it have on the community at large? Every development project starts with an idea, either for a particular use on a site or a vision for what a community might need to increase the property values in a given area. Developers learn to trust and rely on creative individuals who can help paint the picture by looking ahead at what demand might exist in the future. Successful developers push the envelope with functional and sustaining designs, new building materials and innovative construction methods. This collaborative source of creativity is the formula that breathes life into a forgotten part of town, including skyscrapers, town centers and all the places we now call work and home.
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Sahim Zaid is the founder of Zaid Designs, Inc., a web development & marketing communications firm in South Florida. Located in Pompano Beach Florida, Zaid Designs, Inc. provides Internet Marketing, Advertising, Web Development and Presentation Services for World-class Architects, Luxury Home Builders, Realtors, Mega Yacht Owners, Non-profits and Start-up Corporations. Learn more about our client success at: zaid-designs.com/whats-new/
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