The commercial real estate industry has always been a people first business. But in today’s highly digitized world, businesses have become too transactional, said Marcus Lemonis, television personality and host of CNBC’s popular reality show The Profit.
Lemonis, who owns several businesses including Camping World and Gander Outdoors, was the keynote speaker at ICSC RECon 2019 this week.
“Understanding how people function is the most fundamental aspect to becoming a successful business,” said Lemonis. “In the business world, we must be people first,” adding that there is a fine line between providing a service for which we get paid and taking responsibility for running our businesses properly.
“The true pioneers in business, not the flash in the pans, embody a spirit of humility and a keen understanding that to fully execute their responsibilities toward those around them, they must run their businesses properly,” he said.
Lemonis further noted that the real estate industry is fundamental to the US economy. “You either own or represent assets that are the lion’s share of this country’s wealth,” he said.
Real estate business leaders, owners, and landlords in the commercial real estate sector know that they are quickly being outpaced by innovation. Today’s leaders are faced with a fundamental reality of living in a highly digitized world: if you don’t adapt based on what your customers’ needs and wants, you are likely to face extinction.
When you look at companies rising to the top in the industry today, they are using technology as the great enabler to create a level of personalization which did not exist before.
Iconic brands like Guess, industrial real estate leader Prologis (which is now the world’s largest owner of warehouses), and co-working giant WeWork have all achieved tremendous success by using technology to enable and understand every aspect of their customers and their needs, and solving for those pain points.
Whether it’s using artificial intelligence to better understand your customer’s buying habits, working to eliminate customer pain points in the e-commerce supply chain to provide faster delivery of products, or creating a sense of community among millions of entrepreneurs looking for workspace, a highly customer-centric approach has been the key to unlocking success.
The resistance to adopt innovation often comes with a mentality that somehow technology will make us less personal, yet we have seen time after time that those who have been successful understand that at a massive scale, people matter most.
Being in business is about much more than making money, said Lemonis, adding that the business leaders of the world have a responsibility for the advancement and well-being of those with whom we do business and the community at large — which is exactly what technology enables successful companies to do today.