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The Four Word Business Plan to Build Your Real Estate Empire

By Douglas Dowell – Feb 16, 2014 at 10:30AM

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Can we all agree investing is in ways conflict versus your competitors and yourself?

Photo Credit: Paul Bica

"Empires won by conquest have always fallen either by revolt within or by defeat by a rival."
Colonel John Boyd

General Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf exemplified world-class leadership during the first gulf war. However, as I later discovered the brilliant plan executed by those tremendous leaders was, in fact, crafted by a little known retired Air Force Colonel John Boyd.

Col. Boyd was in fact also responsible for the Top Gun schools operated by the Navy and Air force. He was in fact a true maverick.

What does that have to do with real estate? As much as you want it too.

The core tenet of this brilliant maverick is that to win any conflict you must collapse the opponent on themselves. The four steps to Col. Boyd's dynamic strategy system are 1) Observe 2) Orient 3) Decide 4) Act. (OODA). This process contemplates continuously cycling through the steps based on changing information.

Can we all agree investing is in ways conflict versus your competitors and yourself?

Therefore, consider the OODA loop in your business. To give a great example lets assume you are a fix and flip investor.

Step 1: Observe
Over the last few months, you have been noticing great deals starting to decline. The margin has to be sufficient to justify all the effort. If not, perhaps sipping a Mai-Thai on a sandy beach is a better use of time yes?

Step 2: Orient
You also can see because your margins are thinner that by definition your housing market will support spec build single family homes.

Step 3: Decide
This step just requires us to pull the trigger. Do we take advantage of the changed conditions? Keep seeing margins dwindle or head to Cancun?

Step 4: Act
This is the key ingredient of all success. We have to put aside doubt and any resistance and be willing to make errors. That is the only way to truly advance in life. Col. Boyd would surely agree with me that a decision even if a bad one is infinitely better than no decision at all.

"Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road and you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments. Or you can go that way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?"
– Col. John Boyd

This article is Copyright 2014 BiggerPockets, Inc

Douglas Dowell J.D. is a commercial and multifamily investor. His blog will focus on legally raising private money, risk mitigation with due diligence and management science. He is also an avid student of success principles with a focus on modeling success factors.

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