Wayne Frankel | Crain's Connecticut

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Wayne Frankel


EXIT Realty Corp. International, a real estate franchisor, launched 20 years ago in Toronto, Canada. The firm’s business model – The EXIT Formula – is based on single-level residuals similar to the insurance and music industries. Wayne Frankel became a licensed New York real estate broker in 2000 and opened his New York EXIT franchise office in 2007. Frankel became a licensed Connecticut broker and EXIT’s Connecticut regional owner in December 2014.

The Mistake:

I was trying to do too much, getting spread too thin.

I was given an opportunity to become part of a business in California. It was a great opportunity but not conducive to success. I was getting 300 emails and 100 text messages a day in running three real estate businesses in three different states.

Instead of doing everything well, I was just putting out fires. I would be at places but I was never there. When I went on vacation with my family I wasn’t really there. I was always looking at my phone, pressing buttons.

It’s not a question of whether we will succeed in Connecticut, it’s how soon can we get there.

The Lesson:

It’s important to get back to doing what excites you.

I sold my New York office in December so I could focus on Connecticut. It was not an easy decision to make. I had never done that before – taking my attention off one thing so I could focus on something else. I was an independent owner and built it from zero. That was thrilling, but we got to the point that instead of growing we were just maintaining. I had managers. I had administrators. I had secretaries. They’re excellent people and I wanted to work with them. But it got to be too much.

To grow in Connecticut, the business needed my attention. So I sold my New York office and now I’m back to doing what I love, which is building a business. There’s nothing more enjoyable than building a business. Every time you meet someone you’re starting a new relationship. All your time is put toward making the future better. There are lots of little challenges to overcome. It’s beautiful to make something that didn’t exist before.

When you’re on top, everybody is trying to knock you down. It’s different when you’re on the way up. I’m very, very excited about where I’m at. I love it.

I went from franchisee to franchisor because I fully believe in EXIT’s business model. I’m a believer because it worked for me and made me a success. It’s not a question of whether we will succeed in Connecticut, it’s how soon can we get there. We’ve opened three offices in six months – that’s impressive. Our technology is incredible. I’m a big believer in education because that does so much to help us serve the customers better.

I’m much happier now: I used to get 300 emails a day and today I get maybe 50. I am able to be there for my family and others that really need me. It was hard to let go. It was almost like a midlife crisis. But as long as you’re letting go for something better, something that excites you, then you can relax and be happy.

Photo courtesy of Wayne Frankel.

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