Why I’ve Left Sperry Van Ness

With a new year comes new opportunities.  As 2014 starts, I have left Sperry Van Ness to pursue a new opportunity.  I want to share with you what I’m going to be up to and how it will affect my blog.

photo from iStock

photo from iStock

Before I do that, I want to share why I’ve left Sperry Van Ness.  Anytime you leave an organization of any kind, it raises questions.

  1. Was he fired?  No – I wasn’t.
  2. Did he see behind the curtain and hate what he saw?  Negative.
  3. Did he not like the people he was working with?  That is absolutely not the case.
  4. Did an opportunity fall into his lap that he couldn’t ignore?  Bingo.

I started my commercial real estate career the day after I got out of the Marine Corps in 2004.  I was literally fumbling around my dad’s office the following day.  In 2008, we franchised our business with Sperry Van Ness.  After nearly 5 years of proudly flying the SVN flag, I took the corporate position I just left as VP of Organizational Development.

That means that over half my grown-up career years have been with SVN.  I’ve generally strayed away from writing about SVN.  It seemed disingenuous since they wrote my paycheck.  As that is no longer the case, I want to share a few things about SVN.

The People

I remember when we franchised.  I was told that companies franchise for the tools and stay for the people.  I thought that if they were half right about the quality of the franchisees and advisors, I’d be satisfied.  They were right.

I could name dozens of business owners and top performers within SVN that were happy to help me, expand my thinking, teach me how they did business, and even mentor a kid from Western KY.  I will forever be grateful that I was associated with these fine people and can call them friends.

The Platform

I’m a techie – but just in the sense that I love to use technology.  I have no idea how any of it works.  I am much like the guy that can tell time but is in no way a watch-maker.

SVN has the finest technology platform that exists in commercial real estate today.  Admittedly, my experience is myopic so let me share with you why I know this is true.  A portion of my job has been to seek out and recruit preferred vendor relationships with the many outstanding CRE technology companies.  The comment I heard most often was that CRE is in the stone-ages technologically speaking and we wish the other nationals were more like SVN.

Our Their technology platform is cutting edge, cloud based, and brand agnostic.  It is designed with the purpose of making our the SVN advisors more productive and efficient – but ultimately more profitable.

The Model

SVN is a franchise model.  As such, all of our the independently owned and operated offices are led by entrepreneurs.  We generally compete with big nationals that are corporate stores full of employees.  There is a huge difference.  It is entrepreneurial spirit versus resources.

If you’ve seen The Patriot starring Mel Gibson, you will remember him leading a small group of militia.  Their job was to inflict as much pain on the British redcoats as possible.  The redcoats had overwhelming numbers and resources. They would line up in their perfect lines and fire away.  They also made great targets.

Gibson’s troop would use guerrilla tactics to outwit and outmaneuver his opponent.  This reminds me of the entrepreneurial spirit of SVN.

So What’s Next

I have bought into a start-up technology company in the food safety industry called Hollison Technologies.  I’m providing a link to the website, but please don’t go there.  It is dated and vague and one of my first orders of business.

Hollison has a patented process of collecting the air around particulate food (think pieces of food like dog food or breakfast cereal) to test for contaminants.  That may not sound very exciting or earth shattering, but consider what it will replace.

The method of testing now is random grab sampling.  It is literally taking a sample at random and testing it.  If the sample is contaminated, that batch doesn’t ship.  If the sample is clean, the batch ships.

The problem is you make a leap of faith that a clean sample means a clean batch.  You only have visibility into the actual sample, and you are hoping the rest of the batch is also clean.  In food safety, hope is a terrible strategy.

Our process continually samples and gives the food manufacturer visibility into 100% of the product.  We think we can literally improve the quality of food world-wide.  How exciting?!

This Blog

You won’t see much change.  My role with Hollison is not that different from my corporate role with SVN, though I will have more of a role in sales.

What I’m most excited about is all the growth and learning that will come with this new opportunity – and I’ll be sharing it all with you here!

Question: What will be different for you in 2014? New career? New focus? New commitment to excellence? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Benjamin Bach

    Congrats on the new journey Bo! Looking forward to following your success in this new venture as well!

    • Bo Barron, CCIM

      Many thanks Benjamin, and happy new year to you!

    • Thanks Benjamin!

  • Kevin Maggiacomo

    Bo, you will be missed. Looking forward to reading more of your leadership insights and thoughts as you apply your skill set to grow yet another organization…

    • Bo Barron, CCIM

      Thanks Kevin. It was an honor to learn under your leadership.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Kevin. It was an honor to learn under your leadership.

  • Lowell Peabody

    Best of luck Bo! Looking forward to hearing new stories and advice for sales and technology!

  • Gerald

    Best of luck on your new endeavors. What’s easier to sell than something that you believe in , helps people and can change the world. I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit. Thank you for your past articles, I have been using them to help reorganize my business plan for 2014.

    • That’s great, Gerald. My hope is to continue to provide content you can use.

  • Wilson Covington

    Congrats Bo, I know it can be a terrifying leap of faith when you change from the direction that you’ve always known. But as you know, rewards don’t come without risk. Good Luck.

  • Stasiu Geleszinski

    Best of luck on your new venture Bo!.

    • Thanks Stash. I’ve loved watching your star rise from the Corporate side. I will continue to do so! Sell with Stash!

  • ClientLook

    Bo, we really appreciate your contributions to furthering technology proliferation in CRE. I’ll be interested to hear about your success. Your captivating ClientLook presentations were legendary! You’re a tough act to follow. Keep in touch. – Michael Griffin

    • That’s so nice of you to say, Michael. I’d love to stay in touch!

  • CREOutsider

    Best of luck with this new venture, Bo. Looking forward to never getting food poisoning again! And glad you’re keeping the blog going. I often refer agents to the cold calling series so good to know it and future insights will still be available.

    • Chris – that is the goal – no more food poisoning or food recalls! Thanks for the referrals and kind words. I will keep the content coming!

  • Andrew Bermudez

    What a great way to start off the new year. The new venture sounds exciting! Keep me in the loop as to your progress, brother!

  • Jim Tucker

    Congratulations Bo. The longer we live, the more we come to understand that it is not “our” plan that will guides our lives. You are undoubtedly making this decision after some significant prayer and meditation. I am confident you are making the right decision in every way. Blessings.

    • Thanks Jim – you are correct. There was lots of prayer and conversations with my wife and mentors.

  • Congrats Bo, We will miss you on the SVN platform but be sure you stay in touch neighbor! You will do great in your new venture, as you do in everything you do.

    • Thanks Steve. Once I know more about the time requirements of my new venture, I hope to have some bandwidth to still engage with SVN. Regardless, we will stay in touch!

  • John Nelson

    Congrats Bo, I have no doubt you will have an amazing future with your new endeavor. I am excited that you are still going to be keeping the blog. You have been a huge blessing to me and my real estate career, and wish you all the luck.

    • Moose – I am glad you’ve found the blog helpful. I will keep the content rolling. I will be sending out a reader’s survey in the coming weeks – be sure you let me know through it what you’d like to see on the blog in the future. My best!

  • Bo,
    Thanks for all of your help with theBrokerList and for all of the blogging you have done on the tBL blog! I still plan to catch up with you for lunch at the BBQ place when I am in your neighborhood. I just spent most of Nov. & Dec. in Murray, KY, but was not able to break away to come and see you! I do plan to do that and hopefully this summer! Again, best of luck to you and I can tell you now that you will be missed! Congratulations on your new venture and let us know whenever we can help you out! The tBL door will always be open to you!

    • That would be great Linda. You can meet the family! I’m not completely out of CRE. I am still an owner and buyer, and I still coach CRE brokers through the Massimo Group. CRE will always be in my blood!

  • @JohnOrrCCIM

    Congratulations! I’m in the same technology envy boat. During my 2007 – 2010 sabbatical from CRE I started RemoteM2M (yea, my website is dated too) but its just not CRE so I couldn’t stay away. You’ve inspired me to begin my blogging in ’14 so for that many thanks! See you soon!

    • That’s great John! I look forward to seeing the design of your site and following your content. I expect that it will be outstanding. Thanks for the kind words!

  • Neil Johnson

    Bo – I wish you the best with your new enterprise. Blessings to you & your family. We’ll see you around the around internet.

    • Thanks Neil – I’m not dropping off the map. Long live the #crejavaclub!

  • keith lefkof

    Congratulations Bo!! Best of luck with your exciting and fruitful new endeavor.

  • John Dawson

    Bo, Thank you for sharing such great thoughts via your blog over the past 18 months. I am happy to hear you will continue to share your insights on your blog. What an exciting sector your have chosen. Your new venture seems to have a global reach. What an thrill you will have over the coming years.

    • John – I do believe that is the case, and thanks for the kind words.

  • Wesley Cox

    Bo, Congratulations on this new opportunity and the courage to step out in faith. I know you’ll excel at this new position like you did at SVN. Thank you for all the advice, training, and willingness to help others during your stay at SVN. I look forward to seeing your new content on the blog! Happy New Year buddy!

    • Happy New Year to you my friend. I look forward to seeing how you and Henry will continue to blow the doors off in the coming years. Somehow, I’m going to have to get back to Salisbury soon.

  • You’ve always got a friend in Tucson, no matter what industry captures your time and talents. Proud of you for taking risks and pursuing opportunity. Be well – I know we will be in touch!

    • We will definitely stay in touch. Hopefully a future client will take me to your great state!

  • Susie Algard

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing some history, very interesting! Best wishes for the future and your next steps. You always have friends in Seattle!

  • waltarnold

    Congratulations on your new venture. Thanks for the impact you made on me and others in Sperry Van Ness. I wish you the best in your new endeavor.

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