Melissa Miller is the owner of Premier Florida Home, a concierge real estate group serving Southern Florida. Her company offers consultative services to residential clients, including popular athletes and entertainers. She said, “We don’t just jump in the car and drive clients around looking at properties. We go a step above and offer concierge services like full tours of different areas, including private schools, the best eateries and shops, and other local activities.”
Though she struggled at first, Miller believes her focus on customer service has enabled her business to thrive.
Why did you start your business?
I started out in real estate about 16 years ago. I always wanted to do real estate, but never knew what avenue to take to make that happen. I did a number of different things out of college, I worked as a service rep with Delta Airlines and I worked in the music industry. When I had my son, I decided I needed to have a more stable job. Somebody told me, “With your personality, you’d probably do well as a real estate agent.” I jumped in as a mortgage broker. It was really challenging because I had a regular nine-to-five job and a son. I knew I wouldn’t be able to achieve the goals I wanted to without making a move. So, I literally had to jump off the cliff of getting a regular paycheck and dive in to being an entrepreneur. I eventually went from being a mortgage broker to doing real estate full time.
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How did you finance the business when you were first starting out?
I borrowed from everybody. I had a determination that regardless of how much I had to struggle, I would make something of my business. I had to work really hard to get capital.
Did you make any mistakes when you were first starting out?
My biggest mistake was knowing that I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of business coming in and not making my first hire. I put that off for the longest time because I didn’t want to be responsible for employees – that was one of my biggest fears. Don’t wait to hire someone to help you. You have to let go of certain tasks and know that you can train someone to take those tasks so you can grow your business.
What’s the smartest thing you did when you were first starting out?
I really just played by my own rulebook. There’s a saying that the harder you work, the luckier you get. I just worked really hard every day to meet people and make sure they knew the services I offered. Also, I always kept in mind that client satisfaction is what’s really going to drive my business.
Running the Business
How do you manage cash flow in the business?
I have my accountant that works on my finances and I also have a director of operations that makes sure the cash flow is there. I was able to get a line of credit in case of emergencies, like if I need to get my payroll covered or if I need additional money for marketing. I also have partners that I was able to align myself with that help with capital for marketing and advertising.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the company?
I have to think about how much business I have coming in and make sure I have enough manpower. We have a software system that keeps track of clients and leads we have coming in to make sure we are responding to them quick enough. It lets us know when we need a new agent to handle the flow of leads we have coming in. It’s a challenge to keep on top of that and ensure we have coverage.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the company?
The most rewarding thing is the client’s response after we finish a transaction. That’s more important to me than even the income we get after working with our clients, because we depend on referrals. We want to make sure we give them value for their commission, so we try to go above and beyond with the service.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
There is so much opportunity to find capital online these days. There is not a need to struggle as much as I did in the beginning. Get capital to brand yourself, start advertising and marketing. That alone can jumpstart your business. Just business cards is not going to cut it!
What’s next for The Melissa Miller Group?
We’ve been really taking the concierge concept to the next level. We’re looking at maybe growing the business even more and taking on new agents. We have some exciting new services coming on the horizon soon.
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