2019 SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies: No. 23 RealOp Investments
INDUSTRY Private equity real estate
If someone were to make a movie about your company, what would be the story you'd want to tell?
We would want to tell a story of perseverance, of a group of three guys from a small town in SC that defied the odds, moving from Main Street to Wall Street. But of course we'll have to wait until the full story is written; we're only through the first few chapters.
What is the one thing that you would want others to know about your company?
The importance we place in embracing the great responsibility we have as a company. Responsibility to our team members, investors, lenders, tenants, strategic partners and their families; to the communities we operate in and to the stewardship of our assets. Our assets leverage capital from over 1,000 investors and house over 500 businesses and 10,000 individuals. We want others to know first and foremost that we do not take this responsibility lightly.
How do you manage fast growth? What advice would you give to a company in growth mode?
Hang on tightly and don't let go! Kidding aside, the first thing is to focus on what is most important and not get lost in the weeds. When you're growing quickly you can't make everything perfect at once. Focus on what's most important first, then fix the other things later. Secondly, take good care of your team. If you're growing fast everyone is working more than 40 hours a week and pushing hard.
What lessons did you learn the hard way? If you could go back five or 10 years, what advice would you tell yourself?
Build a great team, then get out of their way. Sometimes it's difficult for entrepreneurs to hand over the reins to senior leadership (guilty as charged) but you must learn that you can't do everything.
Have you acquired or merged with a company as part of your growth plan? What advice would you give to a company considering the same?
We haven't acquired or merged with another company, but we did hire a large group of team members from a company that was changing direction and closing a line of business. As for my advice, it goes back to people. Make sure your legacy team matches well with the new team members.
Do you have a mentor or life coach? Is being involved in your community important and why?
My business partners and I don't have a life coach. We tend to fill that role by leaning on one another.
Yes, community and philanthropic involvement is very important to us. We're proud of our team members who have logged over 2,000 volunteer hours in the last 12 months. We have a desire to give back whenever we can.