How to Create a Standout Business in a Sea of Real Estate Competitors

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Every day my business partner and I find ourselves on the phone with clients both locally here in Kansas City and all over the country. We get to spend a lot of time with clients who are interested in adding cash flow, growing wealth by paying off cash flow real estate quickly, accelerating their ability to work less, or reaching the point with they or their spouse can quit their day job.

It’s incredible having that opportunity, and we’ve really enjoyed building these relationships and learning what helps make our clients feel comfortable from the moment they hear about us as a company to the point they are comfortable pulling the trigger and partnering with us.

This may seem like a simple idea, but have you asked yourself, “What is differentiating me from my competitors?”


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Understand Who You Are as a Person — and as a Business

One of the things I love to share with our clients is that I’ve been there. I’m not talking about during money making times or “I want to buy houses” times, but in the downturn of the economy. I’ve been through pain and loss. We’ve lost money. We’ve had a hard time. We’ve gone through bankruptcy. It was rough on our family, on our lives, and certainly, on my ego.

But out of those kinds of experiences come our strength, determination, and a clarity that I believe only experiencing loss like that can bring you.

So I knew when I dove back into real estate that I wanted to create a business that was able to deliver something that was awesome — and honest. Things happen. Repairs are needed. Something could be missed in a rehab or on inspection items at the sale of a turnkey house or a flip house.

These things happen. How is that handled? How is that communicated? And then how is a solution executed? These are the real questions.

For me, it’s so important for me to tell my clients that we actually care what kind of products we have out there — what kind of flooring, paint, toilet, and shower manifold. It’s important to me that they know we put in great HVAC equipment and not the cheapest I can find. And we guarantee our work.

You know why we do all these things?

Because yes, we’ve been there dealing with these issues on our own rehabs and on those for clients. We’ve made those mistakes. We’ve already had to deal with or solve those issues before.


Related: How to Document Your Processes for a Business That Runs Like a Well-Oiled Machine (With Examples!)

Find Like-Minded Friends, Partners & Relationships

In the end, it’s really not about the house. It’s not.

It’s about the relationship and how you take care of that relationship — how you start it, how you continue to grow and feed it. And when the time comes to deal with an issue, how do you handle it?

Life is pretty easy when things are great, but what do you do when there is something that happens that’s not fun to talk about? Do you want someone who will throw himself/herself into blaming others or who just ignores it altogether?

Or do you want someone who says, “I am the leader, the proverbial buck stops here, and we will figure out how to fix it”?

I’ve been reading a wonderful book entitled Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

Wow. Talk about some amazing people, stories, leadership, wit, determination, will, and courage. This book has really been a game changer for me in looking at how I run my business and how I act as a partner, a client manager, and a business manager to our employees.

This book has rocked my world.

When one of the authors, Jocko, was leading his men in combat, not only did they have to make split second decisions, but they had to make choices that were literally life and death decisions.

He talks about coming back from missions, the good at the bad, the ones that didn’t go quite right, and instead of blaming anyone else, he said, “It’s my fault.” And, “I’ll fix it.” Or, “I’ll learn how to lead better.” Or, “Next time, I will do THIS instead.”

After all, he led his guys into battle. There were life and death situations, sometimes at every street corner. They didn’t wait for the fight; they were the ones bringing it to the fight. Incredible.

What I loved about the book so much was that he brought it back into the business realm as well. He focused on the leader. There is a line in the book that has really struck a chord with me: “There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”

Within our real estate business, there are lots of opportunity to lead by example or to let leadership happen. When you look at that Navy SEAL example, those guys becoming a part of the “team” was no accident. They dreamed of making it since they were boys. They suffered through training. They were more mentally and physically tough than all the others who had come through that same training and didn’t make it through. And they were willing to be a team player, to be a contributor, and to listen and learn from anyone on the team.

When you put that back into the real estate context, it’s not (usually) a life and death decision. It could be a financially ruining one — or an amazing transformation from something you do or work on for others that all the sudden becomes your own business. Either way, whatever you put into it, whatever you nurture, and whatever you grow is of your own creation, and it is borne from your own leadership.


Related: How to Generate Buzz Surrounding Your Real Estate Business — For Free!

Final Thoughts

I encourage you to take a step back for a second and look at your own business, large, small, medium, massive, or just at its beginning. Imagine what you want it to be. Make it so clear that you can see it, taste it, hear it.

Take that clarity, that drive, bring it to your friends, coaches, family, colleagues, mentors, other supporting businesses — and go build it.

Investors: How do YOU differentiate your business from others in your market?

Leave your thoughts below!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is a dad, husband, worship leader, and real estate investor in the Kansas City market. Foodie. Coffee addict. Crossfit junkie.


  1. Nicole Pettis

    Hi Nathan,

    I always love reading your articles. They definitely resonate with me. And your latest podcast was fantastic. Thank you for keeping it real and helping others realize that you can build it again and make it great!

    Keep up the amazing work!


  2. Mark Vejnar


    This is an encouraging article you’ve posted. We’ve had to make some impossible financial decisions; it’s been painful, and I’m encouraged by the successes of you and your team. It reinforces the impact of ethical behavior on the development of a lasting enterprise.

    Thanks for taking the lead.

  3. Kent Clothier

    Thanks for the post, Nathan. Great reading! I love this topic and think investors need to spend more time figuring out how to differentiate. We think of this in terms of the cash buyers and motivated sellers we work with (which will help us answer how we can specifically help buyers) but it also applies to tenants as well for those investors who rent property. Tenants are clients and we can keep our tenants longer if we can demonstrate our unique ability to help them.

  4. I enjoyed this article. It reminds us that the most important thing is that we are all on the same side, we are human and want to be happy. Sometimes we help others, sometimes they help us…but in the end, keeping it real is important.

  5. Diedrick Nagle

    Wow, truly inspiring…I have to be completely honest in saying that as a new entrepeneur/investor…the more I learn, the more intimidated I get and can’t help but feel that I have close to no value to offer potential partners/mentors…

    Just gotta take that first step though, get up get out and get it!

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