The tax inversion debate has some saying that profits and corporate responsibility are on opposite ends of the spectrum. But our guest for this edition of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show disagrees.
Sure, we all know people who take short cuts and try to take more out of every deal than they deserve. Movies, TV and news documentaries like American Greed are loaded with stories of all the bad guys. It’s enough to make you think all investors and entrepreneurs are selfish, short-sighted, people using pigs.
But our real world experience is quite different. In fact, we’ve found most successful people we’ve met are generous, caring and socially responsible. They’re also too busy minding their business to seek out attention for themselves.
Fortunately, we’re always out and about looking for interesting people to interview and for this episode we connected with someone we couldn’t wait to share with you.
On location in lovely Las Vegas, Nevada:
- Your principled host, Robert Helms
- His socially insignificant co-host, Russell Gray
- Hotelier, social entrepreneur and philanthropist, Harris Rosen
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not when The Real Estate Guys™ are involved. That’s because we always travel with our mobile microphones, and at this year’s Freedom Fest conference, we found ourselves in Sin City having an enlightening conversation with none other than Harris Rosen.
If you don’t recognize the name, don’t feel badly. Harris Rosen isn’t flamboyant or outspoken like a Donald Trump…and he’s not a household name like Marriott, Hilton or Disney.
But if you’ve ever stayed in non-branded hotel in Orlando, Florida, there’s a good chance you’ve been a guest of Harris Rosen. In fact, Harris owns more hotel rooms in Orlando than ANY other company…except Disney. And as you probably know, Disney has a pretty significant footprint in the Orlando market.
We find Harris Rosen interesting on many levels.
First, as a real estate investor (after all, a hotel is basically a beautiful apartment building that rents out on a nightly basis), Harris is extremely successful. When you own thousands of doors, you’re doing well.
Did we mention that all those thousands of hotel rooms he owns are completely debt free? That’s pretty good for a guy who started out with next to nothing and actually lived in one of his hotel rooms for over 16 years!
Which brings up another things we love about Harris…
He’s a case study in self-confidence, hard work, faith, diligence and resiliency.
Harris was actually fired by one of those household name hotel chains because, in their estimation, he had no future in the hotel business. But not to be dissuaded, Harris scraped together $20,000 and purchased a run down hotel.
Now, he was the proud owner of two empty assets: a hotel and a bank account. But self-confidence isn’t a matter of bravado or swag. It’s more about pushing forward believing that if there’s a way to make it, you’ll find it.
So rather than seeing obstacles and making excuses, Harris saw possibilities and got to work. And somehow, some way, he managed to fill up his little hotel, eke out some profits, and build a culture and team that would become his hallmark.
Because Harris lived and worked with his employees for so many years, he doesn’t look at employees as assets. He looks at them as family.
And as the patriarch of any family would, Harris keeps the best interest of his “family” at the top of his priority list. So while some CEO’s may be tempted to simply cut important benefits to grow or protect margins, Harris wouldn’t accept the easy way out.
Instead, he focused his entrepreneurial genius on finding ways to deliver essential benefits more cost effectively. And no surprise, he succeeded.
A case in point is employee health care.
You may have heard there’s been a lot of change in the way healthcare is structured in the United States. The hope was that changing the structure would drive down costs, increase services, and expand the number of people being served.
And while the jury is still out on whether or not these government driven changes will eventually deliver on the hope promised to millions, Harris Rosen is already doing it for the thousands of “family” members working in his organization.
It all started with investing based on powerful personal principles while honoring the responsibility to deliver a consistently strong bottom line. After all, if the organization can’t remain solvent, no amount of hard work or good intentions will help anyone. Simply spending money isn’t a sustainable solution.
The essential component to social significance is persistent profitability. Because without money from somewhere, nothing can get done and no one can be served.
And just you don’t think Harris is a one-trick pony, wait until you hear about The Tangelo Park Program. Here, Harris essentially adopted a down-trodded neighborhood in Florida and began investing in the people.
He started with day care so parents could work. He provided scholarship program for kids to attend college. Before long crime rates had plummeted, property values had sky rocketed, and his investment was paying huge social dividends.
Harris Rosen seems to have cracked the code. So listen in and consider how principle based investing can help you achieve profits and social significance as you build up your own real estate empire.
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