One of the things I think the real estate industry is notoriously bad for is transparency. It’s getting better, but we’re nowhere near as transparent as some other industries, such as tech. In tech, you get companies like San Francisco-based Everpix who fail and then release all of their private documents to the public, including revenue, subscribers, cap table and so on.
Could you imagine a real estate developer failing and then releasing all of its financials? This is what we paid for the land. This is how many units we sold. And this is why we failed. It doesn’t happen (or at least I’ve never seen it).
Sure you might be able to get some of this information with a publicly traded real estate company, but that’s because they have to be more transparent. Everpix was 7 employees working out of a co-working space. They didn’t have to do this. But they did it because they wanted to help the larger startup community. They didn’t want to let a good failure go to waste.
But at the same time, I actually don’t think that transparency is all about being altruistic. Transparency can also drive the bottom line. Every company wants to stand out from the competition and engage with its customers on a deeper level. But in order to do that, I think you need to give your customers something to engage with. You have to put yourself out there.
One way to do that is to be more open and transparent. Be genuine and tell your customers who you are, what you believe in and, perhaps most importantly, why you’re doing the things that you’re doing. I like Simon Sinek’s philosophy that “customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”