Category Archives: EO

Interview with FW Inc Magazine

Jeremy Brandt interviewed by Fort Worth, Inc. Magazine
Jeremy Brandt interviewed by Fort Worth, Inc. Magazine

The kid who sold you chocolate bars in the neighborhood? Yeah, that kid. He went big with a couple of digital real estate platforms.

Jeremy Brandt was that kid. The one who bought bulk candy at Costco and sold it for profit in the neighborhood. The one who went door to door selling the surplus leather gloves his dad brought home from his job at the machine shop; who got a job at 16 at a computer shop and resold the discarded parts at a flea market.

The computer store job led to freelance work designing computer networks, which led to a consulting gig at the height of the tech bubble. “I had 15 or 20 people reporting when I was 19, which was ridiculous,” Brandt says. Then the bubble burst, and Brandt was out of a job in his early 20s. What next? He put his expertise in technology to work with a friend who was flipping houses. Today, at 37, Brandt owns Fast Home Offer, one of the country’s largest lead generation businesses, and WeBuyHouses.com, a national licensing platform for investors. In his spare time, he helped co-found the Fort Worth chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

“I’ve been a lifelong entrepreneur since I was seven,” Brandt says. “I’ve just had an aptitude for viewing the world that way. Even the bad things look like an opportunity.”

Growing up homeschooled:

Being homeschooled afforded me the ability to do what I wanted and excel at it, not spend a set amount of hours in school. My parents really encouraged that.

His fast start in real estate:

When I got started in this business, the first thing I did was put an ad on the Internet to buy houses. Because nobody else was doing that at the time, everybody that went to the Internet wanting to sell their house quickly contacted me.

Founding Fast Home Offer, 2002:

I started getting home sellers from all over the country contacting us. And I wasn’t going to fly to Miami to look at a property. So I cold-called investors in Miami and L.A., asking them if they were buying houses and if they would give me a fee if I sent them a lead. Now, we do large marketing campaigns all over the country; people who want to sell their house quickly contact us and then we refer them out to our clients, local real estate agents and investors. We work with about 10,000 home sellers a month.

How he gets paid:

Fast Home Offer is a bid-based subscription service. Let’s say you’re a real estate investor in Dallas and you want all the leads we can generate in Dallas and you pay us $100 a lead for home sellers in Dallas County. We’re selling every lead to you. If another investor wants to come in and buy leads, they’ll need to pay over $100 to join the market, bidding the price per lead up. And at any time, you have the opportunity to go over the top of him.

Where the idea came from:

We modeled it after Google’s Adwords system for advertising. The problem it allowed us to solve is that our advertising costs are incredibly variable by market. In Dallas, it might cost one-fourth to generate a lead, for example, what it costs in Los Angeles. We needed a way to match our revenue to our costs.

What his leads sell for:

Nationally, there’s a wide range because it’s a bid-based system. The price could be anywhere from $50 to many hundreds of dollars per lead. The price is lower in North Texas than the coasts.

Buying WeBuyHouses.com four years ago:

I was looking for a brand that I could build a company under that could give reputable  investors a national brand under which to operate.

His pet peeve:

One of the biggest problems in our industry is there are a lot of people coming out of real estate seminars who don’t know what they’re doing. A lot of these seminars teach ‘no-money-down’ investing. While it’s possible to buy a house with no money down, these seminars are churning out legions of people who do not have the money to buy a house.

How WeBuyHouses.com works:

We find people that fit our criteria from an experience standpoint, ability-to-close standpoint, and an ethics standpoint, and then we license our brand and provide marketing, technology, and ongoing education support to them. That generally looks like a license up front that might be $20,000 -to- $50,000 and an ongoing monthly license fee that might be a couple thousand dollars. People operate as WeBuyHouses.com in their local market.

 

Accelerator Program Launch

For the past year I’ve had the pleasure of serving as President of the non-profit Entrepreneurs’ Organization Dallas Chapter, and it has been a pleasure meet and learn from so many amazing and successful entrepreneurs in the Dallas / Fort worth area!

This year, we are launching an exciting new program called Accelerator!

If you are an entrepreneur, do you remember when you first started your company?

I do.

And I remember having to learn everything as I went, from from accounting, sales, and managing people, to strategy and defining my mission/vision & values. I made a lot of mistakes, and at each step, I tried to find mentors to guide me through the process so I could learn from their mistakes and grow my company faster.

My membership in Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) largely serves that function now, and has provided more real-world business education than any MBA could.

This is why we are starting Accelerator. To give early stage entrepreneurs the foundation to quickly grow their companies to over $1 million in annual revenue so they contribute more to the local & global economy, have a greater chance of long-term success, and qualify to join Entrepreneurs’ Organization for continued growth and learning.

Accelerator is part of our EO Mission – To Engage Leading Entrepreneurs to Learn and Grow – and is only for those individuals who are committed to company growth and are willing to dedicate the time, effort and learning required to do so.

This program is by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, and affords participants the unique experience of learning from, and connecting with, the world’s most influential entrepreneurs.

ACCELERATOR FAST FACTS

  • Accelerator is a program of Entrepreneurs’ Organization
  • Applicants must have gross revenue of $250k to $999k in the previous 12 months, and be a founder or majority owner of their company
  • This program is non-profit, and entirely funded by sponsors and Accelerator participants
  • Only 30 applicants are accepted each year, with a focus on those dedicated to company growth
  • This is an annual program with 3 years of curriculum. The expectation is that within 24-36 months a participant will graduate to over $1 million in revenue and exit the program
  • The program consists of:
    — Monthly accountability group meetings made up of 4 participants and an EO mentor
    — Quarterly learning days focused on Strategy, Sales, People and Finance
  • This curriculum is best of breed, and was selected by the U.S. State Department for their “Entrepreneurs for a New Beginning” program

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

There are many ways to get involved and support the Accelerator program!

  1. Mentor – if you’re an EO member, share your entrepreneurial expertise and experience with early stage companies
  2. Nominate – do you know an early stage entrepreneur who wants to grow?  nominate them for membership
  3. Support – give back to the entrepreneurial community by sponsoring Accelerator
  4. Apply – apply to be a participant in the Accelerator Program
  5. Attend – if you are an EO member, attend the Accelerator learning days!
  6. Follow – we’ll be blogging about the process and participants, listen in as we tell the stories of success!

Join me on this exciting journey, and I promise you will be inspired, learn a lot, and grow along with the rest of us!

Jeremy Brandt
CEO, 1-800-CashOffer, FastHomeOffer.com
2010/11 – EO Dallas Chapter President
2011/12 – Accelerator Program Champion

Mayor Leppert says Dallas Entrepreneurship Day is November 19th

Mayor Tom Leppert has officially named November 19th as Entrepreneurship Day in Dallas!

On November 19th, Entrepreneurs’ Organization will be holding an event to celebrate EO24 and Global Entrepreneurship Week – to inspire entrepreneurial activity in Dallas and around the globe.

Our event will bring together prominent Dallas area business leaders and entrepreneurs for a panel discussion on entrepreneurial activity in Dallas, the economy and other topics of interest to business leaders.

Entrepreneurship Day

 

Entrepreneur Lessons from The Container Store co-Founder & CEO Kip Tindell

Recently I invited Kip Tindell, the Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of The Container Store to speak to the Dallas Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

They hosted our event at their corporate headquarters, including a tour of their amazing logistics facility, from which any item that is in one of their stores originates.

A true entrepreneurial story, Kip has grown The Container Store from a single 1,600 sqft location in Dallas to 43 locations throughout the country, that average 25,000 sqft in size.

The big take-away from his talk was over-communicate to your staff, your partners and your vendors.  If you put your employees first – revenue and profits will follow.

The Container Store philosophy is that 1 great employee = 3 good employees, and 1 good employee = 3 bad employees.  So only hire great employees and over-pay them compared to the market.

Kip also says he gives the same power-point presentation on the company’s status to his board of directors and his employees.  Employees feel they know what is going on in the business and won’t be surprised.

Maybe that is why Fortune has named them one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For – 10 years in a row.

Ken Blanchard – The One Minute Entrepreneur

I recently had the opportunity to meet Ken Blanchard and his wife Margie Blanchard, son Scott Blanchard and Scott’s wife Madeleine Homan.

What a talented family They were speaking to a group of entrepreneurs about Ken’s upcoming book – “The One Minute Entrepreneur” that is similar to “The One Minute Manager” in format but focused on helping entrepreneurs think through the skills needed to create a successful company.

I was able to review a manuscript and I believe it will be a great resource for those thinking of starting a company. It covers a lot of the basic skills and “common sense” things that unfortunately aren’t as “common” as they should be. The forward is by Michael Gerber, who has an amazing track record of helping small businesses to
create processes and systems to succeed.

If you ever have the opportunity to hear any of the Blanchards, especially Ken, speak, I highly recommend you do whatever you can to attend. They are all highly sought after speakers who do an excellent job of engaging their audience while
providing a lot of in-depth data and analysis.

And when “The One Minute Entrepreneur” comes out, be sure and pick up a copy!