Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bill Himmelstein, founder, and CEO of Tenant Advisory Group, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What’s your business, and who are your customers?
We are a commercial real estate brokerage firm focusing on representing the transactional needs of businesses with 50-500 employees in office, industrial and medical spaces. We support our clients in buying, selling, relocations, expansions, and contractions. Our clients are professional services firms, technology-based businesses, financial services, manufacturers, warehousers, logistics, and private practice physicians.
Tell us about yourself
The reason I chose the real estate sector was that I was excited about the industry and the clients I would be interacting with. What I came to learn is that the real estate firms in my industry did not share similar values with me. In fact, all the values I was taught while working at the larger firms were those of self-interest and personal gain. I was always taught to put my client’s best interest first, especially when you are acting as their fiduciary. I bring a mentality of trying to grow a bigger pie rather than taking a bigger slice for myself. The opportunity to start my own company was an opportunity to do business in alignment with my values and belief system.
What motivates me every day is knowing that I am having a significant impact on many people’s lives. It is not just the owners of the businesses that I am supporting, but all of their employees and their families as well. When I save my client 25% on their real estate expense, they are able to reinvest 25% back into their business and their people. When I refer a large piece of business to someone, that company is growing its top-line revenue while also solving a problem for its new client.
Both organizations will be better off for me, having put them together. The response I get from people in my network is incredibly motivating by hearing how grateful they are for the work that we do, not just for their commercial real estate needs but also for supporting the growth of their businesses. I am honored and humbled every day by the warm and sincere comments I get from my clients and prospects.
What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Well, there are many accolades that have come along with my career, like Crains Chicago Business selecting me as Chicago’s most influential commercial real estate broker in 2017, the Illinois real estate journal selecting me as a broker superstar in 2020, or the Illinois real estate journal selecting Tenant Advisory Group as a top brokerage firm in 2022, and the dozens and dozens of podcasts and articles we have been featured in, the thing I am most proud of throughout my career has been being able to build and support such an incredible team of coworkers.
I am so proud of the high-quality A players that Diana and I have assembled, and the work they do to support our clients is second to none. As you can see from our nearly 120 client testimonials on our website or the 55 all five-star reviews on Google that we have from our clients, shows just how dedicated of a team we have to ensure our clients have the best experience possible in working with TAG and walk away with the best possible deal terms for their real estate transaction.
What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner was also my most rewarding thing as a business owner mentioned above. The people side of the business, in my opinion, is one of the hardest challenges to continually achieve the best results possible. While I have an incredible team at the moment, there have been challenging times in the past dealing with team members that do not see or share the same vision I have for Tenant Advisory Group.
Also, working with people that do not share similar values and don’t take a similar approach to put the client’s best interest first, setting proper expectations, and then meeting or exceeding them, and always being responsive, has been a big challenge to put those people in my rearview mirror and continue to focus forward on finding the A players and best possible team members.
As a business owner, if you hire someone that is not meeting expectations, I tend to take the blame for that hire, but then I spend too much time trying to coach them up to the standards that TAG and our clients have come to expect. The old adage of hire slow and fire fast took me a long time to learn, but I think we are most certainly in a great spot with the current team that we have.
What are the top tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top three tips I would like to give someone looking to start, run and grow a business today would be:
- Be patient.
- Be flexible.
- Give to those who can support you and help you back.
Number one is a testament to the fact that things will not go the way you planned. There will be many challenges, many roadblocks, and many curveballs thrown your way. Just be patient and persistent, and continue to overcome every obstacle that comes your way, as eventually, your hard work and diligence should lead to success.
For number two, in being flexible, many things will change along the way. You will have to deal with many people, including employees, clients, and vendors. Not everybody will meet your expectations at all times. You need to be flexible to help coach those people up and be a great communicator to help get them to your level of expectations.
Number three has to do with relationship development and aligning yourself with those who can be the greatest resources and advocates for you. The best way to gain supporters is to start by supporting them first. Find those people and do what you can to help them grow their businesses and achieve their goals. They will do the same for you.
Be sure to read the article on the gosolo.subkit.com website – Your Foundation for Real Estate Success – Bill Himmelstein (subkit.com).