Margolis holds a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member), CPM (Certified Property Manager), CMP (Certified Mortgage and Debt Planner), GRI (Graduate of the Real Estate Institute) and an IBI (Graduate of The Investment Banking Institute of New York). Margolis held a Class B General Building Contactor and is currently certified through Construction Owners Association of America in Construction Management and the ULI (Urban Land Institute) in Real Estate Development. He is a Licensed CA Real Estate Broker, federally and state licensed NMLS, and consults regularly for firms that require his multifaceted experience.
Margolis earned a BSM in Economics from Pepperdine. Margolis resides in West Los Angeles and New York City. He is an avid traveler whose hobbies include architecture, design and wines.
How did you get to where you are today?
It started back when I was a kid. I was raised in a lower middle class socio-economic environment that placed a lot of financial pressure on my family. Asking my parents for even the most requisite items was usually answered with a NO. Being young and always wanting ‘things,’ I had little choice but to get out and work. I soon learned that there was so many ways to earn income. During these times, I cut lawns, delivered newspapers, house sat, collected coke bottles for cash redemption, and so on. But the magic was in hiring little ME’s – so at 10 years old – I discovered employees. This allowed me to multiply the amount of work and earn even more money.
Fast forward to when I was 16 years old and working at a small but growing high performance automotive retailer. The company had nine stores and I started out at their Van Nuys location mounting tires. I liked the job and upper management apparently was impressed because at 22 years old, I was flying in the corporate jet running around the country speaking at their now 110 stores as their sales manager and director of finance. What I learned from this period of my life was instrumental in my journey; motivate your employees, be disciplined, sacrifice today for a future tomorrow, and lead by example. Avoid at all cost the adage ‘do as I say, not as I do.” Those you lead will read through B.S. and hypocrisy and will become unproductive.
What was your toughest obstacle and how did you overcome it?
Exhaustion because I was running a business full time and going to school full time. But, it was so worth it. I loved business school and it changed me as a person and met some of my dearest friends. I learned dedication, writing skills, how to learn and, of course, sacrifice – like zero social life. However, school taught me very little about how tough it can be out there. I discovered that to be successful the words ‘eight hour day’ do not exist. Another area that wasn’t discussed in school was how ‘weekends’ or ‘vacations’ played out. I always worked - even on holiday. Yeah, some would say that’s sad but it tends to be normal with highly motivated business people.
What’s the key to staying focused & motivated?
That’s easy. I love what I do. I come to the office happy. I enjoy my clients. I like to smooze. It’s fun and it’s my sport so to speak.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Why sell a million BB’s when you can sell one battleship?" Put your energies towards the greatest return with the same efforts.
What actionable advice do you have for someone who is looking to start a new venture?
Be realistic. If you hate working long hours for low wages, love your weekends, and aren’t in it for the long haul, don’t do it. Income Performa’s are useless as they are pie in the sky without a strong historic pattern. Determine what the expenses are and then find a way to cut them by 50%. Principal’s should reduce their lifestyles, live on low salaries and practice deferred gratification. If you have partners, each must bring something substantial to the table and you should ‘feel’ that they work harder than you do and try to keep up with them. This helps to alleviate the resentment factor that is typical in start-ups. Your team must consist of highly competent consultants, attorneys, CPA’s and at some juncture a capital source. Most of these folks are, at best, mediocre and sometimes useless and costly. Spend a lot of time here and make a good choice and spend the money. Best case, your advisors should be highly experienced in not only operating a successful business but, more importantly, in your field. A generalist is your worst enemy. Remember the adage “those that can do and those that cannot, teach”. And finally, at some point, usually sooner than later, you’ll need capital. Keep those business expenses low and show the investors that you will sacrifice your world for the company to grow.
What's next for you?
Cent Banc is still aggressive in the real estate acquisition and financing business. Our team is growing but not too quickly as I follow my own advice and always watch expenses.
I love solving business challenges, helping people and companies do well. Our newest venture, Pro Referred, is a group of highly successful business pro’s that have that same love. Most of our partners are CEO’s and Presidents of very large privately and publicly held firms that are available on a consultation basis for firms solely within their specific industry. Many of our members take a Board position within these firms. On a personal note, a book is on the horizon and looking at some leisurely travel.
How do we get more women leaders?
When it comes to leadership roles, I feel that the paradigm shift has already begun. From my experiences, women are smarter and more intuitive than men. They are also more adaptive and creative. Additionally, women are fiercely loyal, reliable, excellent negotiators, and articulate conversationalist. Women really enjoy working and with their inherent intellectual and personality gifts, I see momentum in big leadership positions. Why? Two reasons; I believe that men are realizing that women are incredibly powerful yet elegant and get things done. And secondly, there is a vast amount of evidence that women in executive and CEO positions positively affect the bottom line. Now, how can more women jump in? It’s a bit of a physiological twist but here’s my thoughts; promote a VERY positive connotation to leadership and women. This would incentivize women to jump in and can be accomplished through persuasive advertising campaigns, university conversations, and media discussions whereby creating leadership aspirations.