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She's always been an ambitious architectThere is no greater embodiment of entrepreneurship than what may be found in a brokerage owner, with consistent success possible only through possessing a remarkable combination of personal initiative and perseverance. For the faint of heart it isn’t, especially in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly competitive landscape.

My deep respect for the brokerage owner was instilled at an early age, as my father was one for 60 years in the Orlando market. The cyclical nature of the business combined with his natural proclivity for risk in the development business meant the entire family was on the roller coaster of real estate, witnessing years of prosperity followed by countless trials and tribulations.

In addition to my childhood years doing landscaping, office cleaning and whatever else was on his list to earn my keep, I spent 14 years by my father’s side running the business. It was the ultimate proving ground. And through it all, he always looked after those entrusting their careers to his company to the very best of his ability. No doubt the act of putting others first is common among entrepreneurial brokers in this business.

The first half of my career was, therefore, unaffiliated at a time when franchising was becoming prolific—partly due to my father’s pride and independent streak, though years later it became clear that misperceptions about the concept of franchising played a role.

Among these misperceptions was the belief in the inevitable loss of independence. Perhaps it was fueled by an early major franchisor visit to our office during which five dark suits told my dad and me exactly what to do, and how to do it. What entrepreneur would ever want that?

But my perception changed over time. As a Coldwell Banker practitioner in the field since 1998, and certainly in the last five years working with Coldwell Banker owners across the country as brand president, I came to know and respect how every firm in the network is totally unique, yet connected. Each is a reflection of its owner, an entrepreneur, with the brand serving as a conduit to growth, financial performance and future relevancy. The immediate consumer trust by affiliation is invaluable. As a broker-owner, you can spend years and millions building a brand, or you can focus on building your business.

A core belief of mine is there is no one strategy for running a great brokerage company. They come in all forms and business models, unaffiliated and affiliated, with the only common elements being exceptional leadership and the ability to build a culture.

I would never be so bold as to state that I know, rather than the broker/owner, what is best for a company. Yet I am sure of one thing: We have begun a new housing cycle, and with each one, the landscape changes, competition becomes fiercer and the demands of agents for a more compelling value proposition become greater. It requires broker/owners to create a new vision for the future, and today, the most promising visions are based on new relationships and strategic partnerships.

Coldwell Banker is a 108-year-old real estate brand, but our team doesn’t spend much time looking in the rearview mirror. We are individuals who are passionate about quality growth and our work with broker/owners to expand their opportunities and competitiveness. Our mission is to fundamentally change the two most important daily events in real estate for any company: the recruiting and listing presentations.

2015 will be a year in which the fundamental drivers of real estate return, leading to enhanced opportunities for those with the foresight to evolve and chart a different course. At Coldwell Banker, we are committed to our place as an industry innovator with the launch of compelling new platforms in the areas of technology, leadership and agent development, and capturing business. We stand ready not only to facilitate our brokers’ growth, but provide access to the capital to make it a reality.

I look forward to sharing our work in upcoming issues of Real Estate magazine, though welcome the privilege of a personal conversation between two real estate entrepreneurs.

Budge Huskey is president and CEO, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

For more information, visit