Making the Leap from Corporate Life to Entrepreneurship

I made a decision not to hire anyone except an assistant.

Beth Azor, founder and CEO of Azor Advisory Services, is a familiar face on the commercial real estate speaker circuit; such engagements have become a de facto part of her career trajectory. Not surprisingly, put her first on our list of potential speakers to call for our upcoming Women of Influence conference being held later this month. But Azor is also heavily involved in retail real estate having just sold three of her four shopping centers. We caught up with her to hear more about what she is doing as she preps for our conference.

What I am doing now: I started my company in 2004. The goal was to acquire shopping centers but it turned into a business where I also do a lot of training consulting, which originated from REITs asking me to teach their leasing teams how to prospect and negotiate retail leases.

On the demand for retail training: For the last six to nine to 12 months demand for retail training on leasing has decreased because we have the highest occupancy we have ever seen. But it is starting to pick up again.

Selling our assets: About 70% to 80% of my time is spent looking for acquisitions and stabilizing the existing properties. I owned four shopping centers and sold three in the last 18 months. Two of them we didn't think we would sell but it was 1031 buyers that knocked on our doors and when you get those calls you answer. They have a deadline and that causes them to pay a little more than the market. We were very happy with all three of our sales.

Why I made the leap from corporate to entrepreneurship:  I was a single mom of a four year old and my main issue was raising my son the right way. If I had stayed at the company I was at and continued to be president, I would never have been a good mom. I had 130 employees that needed me to be at their beck and call. They would follow me to the garage asking questions. When I started my own company I said 'no people.'  People demand your time. To this day, all I have is an assistant and a part time  bookkeeper. It was the best decision I ever made.


Source: GlobeSt/ALM