'Positive Doing' and a Mentor Help Chicago Condos Online Find Success
After 32 years as a magazine editor, Ric Cox had investments in nine Chicago-area condominiums. Not ready for retirement, Cox had an idea for ChicagoCondosOnline.com, a web site that would provide a wealth of data on the area’s condominiums. After contacting SCORE, Cox was able to get the advice and resources he needed to make his ideal web site a reality.
Acting fast helped Ric land Midwest Real Estate Data, the regional multiple listing service, as his major client. Volunteer mentor Jerry Hicks offered a valuable critique of Ric’s business plan, leading him to re-examine his strategy.
“The improved business plan won me a $1,000 award from the City of Chicago and strategic advice from MBA candidates at the University of Chicago,” Ric says.
ChicagoCondosOnline.com has become a valuable resource to Chicago’s real estate community. More than 40,000 agents and loan originators access the site regularly for information on more than 13,000 condominium buildings in Chicago. The business has also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Waxman also continues to assist Ric as a member of ChicagoCondosOnline.com’s Board of Advisors.
Ric found the answers he was looking for, and much more, at Chicago SCORE’s downtown office. There, he was matched with volunteer mentor Elaine Waxman, the former owner of a real estate firm who had also held senior sales and management positions with one of the giants of the Chicago real-estate market.
“What a connection!” Ric says. “Elaine’s first recommendation was to complete the web site. It was a big risk, but SCORE connected me with a web developer who saved me tens of thousands of dollars in development costs.”
The fact that Ric has been successful is hardly surprising. He spent more than a decade working with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who advocated the “power of positive thinking.” But when it came to building a successful business, Ric found that SCORE offered the “power of positive doing.”
“I’ve had a dozen sessions with mentors, not counting phone calls and e-mails,” Ric says. “We focused on strategic planning and marketing. It was all free! Who knows what this mentoring would cost on the open market.”