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Turning Your Business Into a Movement

Last week, I interviewed Bruce Poon Tip, founder of travel company G Adventures and author of the new book Looptail: How One Company Changed the World By Reinventing Business (Business Plus, 2013).

Tip’s book is a deeply personal story of his long journey from fired McDonald’s employee to the founder of one of the most innovative travel companies of all time. The book is a New York Times best seller and is being lauded by CEOs and business thinkers across the board. And yet, the glowing forward to the book is written by none other than the Dalai Lama. I’m not sure many books can claim both those distinctions at once.

The interview itself was so interesting and wide-ranging that I thought I would give Book Scan readers a special sneak preview of the full article, which will appear in our Last Word section at REALTOR® Magazine online. So here are two questions from the interview that have a little more to do with the new book, though it’s clear the driving force behind Tip’s success is pretty uniformly inspiring across the board. And stay tuned for the full interview on REALTOR® Mag online very soon.

What advice do you have for real estate professionals who want to tell their company’s story with authenticity?

That’s a big part of leadership, and another part of my book. I’m trying not to shamelessly promote my book [laughs], but as you know, in the book I talk about how the best leaders of our time are always the best storytellers. For me, I’m laughing because I’ve spoken at all these literary festivals, but I’ve never fancied myself a writer by any stretch. But here I am, talking to you about a book I wrote. I’ve always said I’m a good storyteller, but that doesn’t mean you can write a good book.

But as an entrepreneur you have to be able to create a story. If you are creating a movement with your business and you really believe that you can transcend what you do, and you look at business as creating a movement, and people believing what you do and coming on your side to buy your product because you stand for more than just real estate, you have to be able to build the story. You have to be able to convince people to join your movement. And business and sustainability and all the things we talk about in the book are all about looking at your business very differently. We all have at our fingertips very different tools today with which to engage customers.

How is what your company does similar to the business world inhabited by real estate professionals?

Real estate is an interesting business, because it’s like travel in that there are lots of people who run their own businesses. And they think, “How can I create something bigger than just me and a few people in my shop, or me as a lone real estate agent? How do I create that purpose in what I do?”

And that’s the best part about Looptail. There’s nothing more common than the travel tour. What I was able to do was to transcend that. There are literally millions of travel companies around the world that run tours. So the question for me is how are you able to transcend that and what can you do as a small business owner to create that purpose? And everyone can do it because the opportunities have never been greater. These are the kinds of people who can create differentiation in a business model that’s in such a crowded space. I’m just a real believer that the potential is there.

Meg White

Meg White is the multimedia web producer for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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