Success often comes down to being at the right place at the right time.

There are, however, alternatives to the right place/right time approach. For example:

All were either the right place/wrong time, or wrong time/right place. All were spectacular failures.

But what about being in the wrong place and the wrong time?

Take, for example, starting a real estate brokerage and property management firm in 2009, a year that reflected the very bottom of the housing crisis. That year was also the same year that Bryan Bowles, 35, founded Worth Clark Realty in St. Charles, Missouri.

Despite getting its start in the worst possible moment to start a real estate brokerage and property management firm, Worth Clark Realty was just named #89 on the Inc. 500 list of the nation's fastest-growing companies.

Since Bryan's office is across the street from mine, I wanted to get his insight on how he went from a one-person, one-location company to a three-state presence and the Inc. 500, despite existing in an industry still facing significant challenges.

Here's what he had to share:

1. Invest in your team.

"People will make or break you, especially when you are in a 'people' business, like real estate," says Bowles.

Good habits are much easier to develop when you establish them early. That's true for people, and it's true for companies. The best habit, and the habit that made the most difference for Bowles, is hiring the right people and investing in their growth and success.

Bowles recognizes that sometimes finding the right people comes down to luck, and that's okay.

However, keeping the right people is never about luck--it's the result of an intentional investment in your employees.

2. Shoot thousands of (metaphorical) free throws.

The best free throw shooters become the best by establishing fixed routines.

Is it exciting to shoot thousands of free throws in exactly the same way?

Probably not.

Is it successful to approach free throw shooting that way?

Yes, it is.

And establishing effective routines is also an important component of building a successful business.

"No one really tells you that building a business is a grind," says Bowles. "I don't mean that in a negative way. When you find what works, come back to work the next day and do more of that. Always look for ways to innovate and improve, but a lot of entrepreneurial success comes down to grinding it out, and being willing to do the work that goes unnoticed."

Until, of course, it does get noticed and you end up on the Inc. 500.

3. Learn. All the time.


There is a lot written on what you can learn from failure.

However, while failure is a great teaching tool, it's the least-preferable way to learn. Hopefully, as an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to learn from your small successes and setbacks, as well as from the failures and successes of others.

"Starting this business, in this industry, in 2009 gave us the unique opportunity to learn from a lot of failure, and hopefully figure out a way to do a better job," says Bowles. "I hope our company and our customers can be spared the harsh lessons of 2009, and I believe one of the best ways to do that is to learn a little each day. Know your industry. Know your customer. Question your own preconceived notions about your market, and consistently challenge yourself."

Invest in your team. Build successful routines. Always be learning.

Doing those things is how an entrepreneur turns the wrong place and the wrong time into the right place and the right time.

Published on: Aug 18, 2016