He was running out of time. Our client’s warehouse was in a rustbelt town, he needed to sell it and no one was rushing to buy it. The weeds were growing through the cracks in the parking lot and he couldn’t cover the mortgage payment with his cash flow for much longer. This client was a perfect candidate for the 21 Reasons exercise.
In our Startup Founders group, we would task a participant to write down 21 Reasons in regards to anything they were struggling with. This came from our leader, John Morris, who is brilliant about startups, raising money and other esoteric businessy things. It probably came from someone or somewhere else, like most great ideas, but after many Google searches I couldn’t find anything. So, I’m giving John the full credit.
Write a list of 21 Reasons why someone would want to do whatever it is that you want them to do.
One of The Project Consultant clients needed to sell a warehouse, and sell it quickly. It had been on the market for almost two years. He was willing to lease it as well, but he had already tried that to no avail. His broker brought in interested companies now and then, but not many and no one bit.
My partner, Dennis, is pretty well connected in the real estate business; his dad was the top commercial real estate company in Connecticut before they sold it to Grubb & Ellis. And I was a partner in my own real estate investment company in Southern California for many years.
Despite our knowledge and contacts in the real estate business, the first thing we did was ask our client to list twenty one reasons why someone would want to buy his building. And we promised him that if he did, his building would sell.
The First Six
You might ask the value in doing this exercise. Fair question. As John Morris explained, the first six reasons are usually easy. They are the obvious things. The building is 100,000 sq. ft. which gives you room to grow. There is a rail spur behind the loading dock. Speaking of loading docks, we have ten of them. We just replaced the roof five years ago. The parking lot can hold a hundred cars.
The Next Ten
The next ten reasons are a little more difficult. You have to think about the less obvious things, like we’re including industrial shelves with the building. There are ten offices, too. The view from the main office looks out onto the river. There is a great security system built-in. It’s only five miles to the nearest interstate freeway and so on.
The Last Five
Then you get to the last five. You’re going through this process and you come to the last five reasons and you have to dig deep. Deep. There’s a fantastic deli within walking distance. Or, the offices are painted in a soothing shade of blue. I don’t know. It’s your building. What do you like about it? You can live on a farm on rolling hills nearby where the fog settles among the treetops every night. Your husband can buy a horse. The local town has an October Fest that can’t be beat.
The Psychology Behind This
By listing all these things, you will shift your mindset. That makes a difference in whatever you’re trying to achieve. Not to get all woo-woo about it, but it’s kind of like manifesting. You attract a buyer to you because you are putting out into the universe thoughts and messaging about this amazing building that anyone should want to buy as long as they have a need for a warehouse. It also gives you more confidence when someone comes to look at it. You think, this is a fantastic building. I just listed twenty reasons why it’s a fantastic building. I’ll let you buy it if you’re lucky.
Then, because my partner and I have real estate contacts, we convinced him to fire his agent. Dennis referred him to an international commercial broker he knew. The new agent had an enormous database of buyers from all around the world. That’s helpful because they might have known a company in Europe that wanted to open a satellite warehouse in the United States. And perhaps they never would have considered this particular area. In short, it increased the population of potential buyers.
The building was sold in a month. It was purchased by a company that looked at it the year prior. That’s fine. Competition had become more intense with the new broker. And I’m sure that company was aware of it. There was now pressure for them to buy. They didn’t need that much space, but they took a chance and had a belief that their business would grow, and therefore, they would grow into the space.
But in my opinion, it was the list.
To be sure, the list did help them write a more thorough and attractive listing. But it was the power of our client believing in the value of his building.
Some other lists we’ve worked on:
21 Reasons why someone would want to buy your medical practice.
21 Reasons why you should hire an assistant.
21 Reasons why you should buy out your minority partner.
21 Reasons why someone would want to license your brand.
21 Reasons why you should manufacture overseas.
21 Reasons why someone would invest in your startup.
21 Reasons why my nephew’s crush would want to go to the dance with him.
Try it yourself. Consider a vexing problem you have. Write your list of 21 Reasons. Remember, it must be twenty one.
Cynthia Wylie started her career in investment banking and left to start her first company. She has started/run/sold six companies. Through her last company, The Project Consultant, she has worked with many clients who were starting their own companies and/or launching projects in industries such as agriculture, publishing, toys, and apparel. She has extensive experience in consumer products manufacturing and importing as well as real estate investment. Her areas of strength include operations and finance, in particular, cash flow management and raising money.
As a founding member of the L.A.–based entrepreneurial group, The Startup Founders, and a participant in Startup Chile, she has evaluated and assisted hundreds of startups locally and globally. She has a B.S. in agriculture from the Pennsylvania State University and a M.A. in economics from Georgetown University which she attended on a full fellowship. While a student, Ms. Wylie taught undergraduate courses in statistics and economics. She has also written five children’s books for an imprint of Penguin Random House and is a regular contributor about business and economics for the publication, Data Driven Investor.
Favorite quote: The truth is in the numbers.
Originally published at https://www.datadriveninvestor.com on March 2, 2023.