Entry by Jennifer Allan

The Future of ACRE - But First, Some Recent History

  11 Comments

Okay, since William asked so nicely for a sneak-peek at what we're going to talk about on January 19th (http://sellwithsoul.com/acre-meeting) at our first live teleseminar "meeting" of 2012, let me fill you in on what's going on here behind the scenes.

But first, in the interest of transparency, I'd like to share a little background on how we came to be here, with ME talking about the future of ACRE as opposed to Mollie talking about it...

(Mollie, you're certainly welcome to chime in here and clarify anything I don't get quite right or explain fully, but below is my interpretation of what transpired that got us where we are today).

As 2011 headed into the fourth quarter, it was becoming quite clear to Mollie that something had to change within ACRE. There were two problematic underlying issues that were leading to a third, potentially ACRE-ending problem, and needed to be addressed in order for ACRE to continue into 2012 and beyond.

The first issue was that ACRE was not profitable. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's the truth. Everyone involved in keeping ACRE afloat was doing so voluntarily and in most cases, contributing their own funds (in Mollie's case, significantly so) to keep the doors open. Especially once the ACRE course became free (which I believe had to happen in order to spread the word more effectively), there simply was NO money coming in the door.

The second issue was that, even with the increased membership, the consulting movement was being met with resistance on all sides and wasn't gaining the momentum it needed to become a viable business model. The industry just wasn't GETTING it, and with the more difficult economy, didn't seem to have any motivation to take a close look at the potential of consulting... and dismissed it as an "interesting idea, but one that will never work."

These two issues led to the third - the one that had the potential to close the doors at ACRE - and that was, frankly, burnout. Hey, it's one thing to do something you're passionate about even if it's not paying the bills IF you seem to be making a difference OR to be making a good profit even if you aren't passionate about what you're doing, but to have neither... well, I'm sure you can relate to what Mollie was feeling in October of 2011.

That's when Mollie called me, possibly in tears (I couldn't tell, but she seemed a little sniffly) and told me what she was feeling. I, being the female-type that I am, listened sympathetically and tried to think of something brilliant to say to make it all better.

Nothing brilliant occurred to me, but that's just as well because then Mollie dropped the bomb that she was going to shut ACRE down if she couldn't find the "right person" to take it over for her.

Okay, so I'm still clueless as to where she's going with this, but still being sympathetic and supportive... when she told me that the "right person" in her mind was ME.

HUH?

While Mollie and I had, thru the years, discussed some sort of SWS/ACRE joint venture, we both realized that it would probably never happen due to the fact that we both have strong personalities, opinions and agendas. As compatible and complementary as our programs were, it just didn't seem practical to try to combine them without creating too much unnecessary personal drama and angst for both of us.

Yada yada yada... a few weeks went by and after much soul-searching of my own, I accepted Mollie's offer to take over ACRE. She gave me full rein to do as I like with the program and assured me that whatever I do, she knows it will be done with the best interests of ACRE in mind. And she has continued to give me this assurance in the months since the "takeover," for which I am truly grateful.

Okay, so why am I telling you all this?

I'm telling you because I am going to propose significant changes here at ACRE, up to and including a full re-branding of the program, and am doing so with Mollie's full blessing (although she doesn't even know what I'm up to 100% yet!).

I've taken the approach that this is an incredible opportunity to start from scratch, knowing what I know now both about the marketing of the consulting concept (which I'll talk about more here soon) AND the type of real estate professional I want to attract to our program... (and also using the lessons I learned in creating and promoting SWS which IS profitable after an extremely rough beginning!).

So, that's maybe more than you wanted to know about how we got to where we are today, but I thought it was important to share some of the gory details so that you understand why we're going in the direction we're headed.

Questions? Just ask! And I'll be back soon with more...

11 Comments

Jennifer has capsulized the situation perfectly. I don't look at the changeover as "giving up" but rather handing the baton over. I'm very proud of what we accomplished with bringing ACRE into existence and how much we've developed over the last 5 years but it was time for a new direction and new blood.

I am a bit burnt out and I don't want my burn out to affect the growth and development of consulting. I am convinced that what we've built will be the future of real estate and I'm so grateful to Jennifer and excited for what the future holds for all of us!

Thanks, Mollie - whew! I was hoping I got it (mostly) right!

Wow! What a story Jennifer and Mollie.

I know this is going to sound way pre-mature right now, but I think ACRE can become a NON-PROFIT Organization, and still be able to make money, to make it very successful.

How? The Green Bay Packers has ALWAYS been a NON-PROFIT Organization from the beginning, and do I NEED to explain to anybody here, how very successful they have always been, and ARE, RIGHT NOW!

Before you write me off as being a "nuts" about my idea, I suggest we all take a look at what is involved, including selling "shares" to all the ACRE members (at a reasonable price, of course) in order to bring in the "funds" that ACRE so badly needs to keep it going, and see it grow (like the Packers)!!!

Sounds good to me - tell me MORE. I know next to nothing about economics and corporate structure (or non-structure); but I do know that I like to be paid for my work (hmmmmm... seems that topic comes up around here from time to time!).

The reason I even mentioned the profitability factor is not to "warn" anyone that your bill is in the mail (it's not), but rather to assure you that when I agreed to take over as queen bee here it wasn't because I saw a gold mine and jumped on it. A huge part of my analysis of what we need to do going forward is based on ACRE paying for itself and more, which tends to mean that we're doing something right!

I'm a firm believer in the Go-Giver Law of Stratospheric Success #1 - the Law of Value - that states: "Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment." Therefore, I intend to make the ACRE program one where the cost of being a member is far outweighed by the benefits enjoyed by being a member!

Jennifer,

Both "for profit and non-profit" Corporations need money to "fund" their Operating Income. Operating Income is the money that is needed to pay all the daily expenses of the company. Another example of a "Non-Profit" Organization is Credit Unions. They are "non-profit" but yet all their employees have to be paid, especially their "directors", "managers" and "tellers". We fit in one of those, ha, ha!

Seriously though, I would start talking to some attorneys and CPAs who specialize in putting together corporations. They can tell you "step by step" how to do it, and much "funding" you need, to start.

Jennifer, Yeah! Thank you for putting it to such clear words.  Looking on from  a mere new member's position, the writing was on the wall. And it was clear that Mollie in all her genius needed to unfold the next stage of ACRE development.  It also seemed pretty clear that you would be a fabulous choice to join with Mollie in moving us forward into what might work best for us. Thank you! to BOTH OF YOU for creating, unfolding, and furthering ACRE's smart,  and very bright future for members and practioners of our industry.  I am very much looking forward to Jan 19 web meeting and all else that will follow.

Thank YOU, Paula!!!!! Now that the holidays are over... we really must connect soon here on the BEACH!

Jennifer,

As a pioneer in the fee-for-service industry, since 2003, I understand better than most that it's simply not about the industry not GETTING it, they do!  It's that this industry has always rejected change. While the industry dismisses consulting as an "interesting idea, but one that will never work," that same dismissal is code for the defense of the their apple cart modus operandi, aka, the commission structure. The motivation you speak of comes from folks like us that are not afraid to look outside the box for answers. 

I thank Mollie for her insight and encouragement along the way, and the simple reinforcement she has provided to me in the philosophies of consulting. I also extend my congratulations and thanks to you for keeping the torch lit. May it grow brighter in 2012 and beyond.

Wow - Randy... this is kinda eerie... I'm working on the new & improved ACRE/TCP course and many of the words you used in your post are words I just typed in a lesson about WHY NOT Consult? (that is, why consulting might not be right for you). Including the word "apple cart!"

Randy, thanks so much for your kind words. So often we go through life, not always knowing that we've impacted someone. It's nice to hear that I provided some reinforcement.

I admire pioneers. Thanks Randy!

This page contains a single entry by Jennifer Allan published on January 2, 2012 11:39 AM.

Business Approach vs. Business Model was the previous entry in this blog.

The Future of ACRE - REBranding is the next entry in this blog.

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