January 2024 newsletter Tips on building a sustainable business

Tips on building a sustainable business


Did you know that 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses are considered small businesses by the federal government? Currently there are about 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S. Even though 80 percent of small businesses consist of only one person, small businesses employ 61.7 million workers – almost half of all U.S. employees.


If you didn’t know these things, you’re not alone. It’s probably because the nation’s largest corporations get most of the attention.


I started my first business in 1993. After being involved in real estate for ten years, I figured I was seasoned enough to start my own company. The financial risk was minimal. I had been on straight commission since 1983 as a Realtor, so basically the concept was the same. If I didn’t produce, I didn’t eat… plain and simple. Believe me, that’s enough motivation to create a diligent work ethic. I needed to eat!


You don’t build a business, you build people, then people build the business.”  –  Zig Ziglar


As of this writing, I am going on my 41st year in the real estate industry. Obviously, I enjoy what I do. I started DEEB Realty out of my basement with just myself. Over the next sixteen years my company grew to include 350 agents.


When I decided that I wanted to spend more of my time doing motivational speaking, I sold DEEB Realty to my general manager. The company kept the name for six years and then changed it to Nebraska Realty.


After selling DEEB Realty, I opened a company called Big Omaha Realty. My goal was to run a one-person business where I would concentrate on servicing my past clients. My plan for having a sustainable business was to take incredibly great care of my clients. Processes and systems are important in building a company, but nothing compares with taking excellent care of your clients.


One of the many characteristics that has made me stand out in my industry is my responsiveness. Not just to my clients, but to everybody involved in doing a real estate transaction. I believe responsiveness is another key ingredient to having a sustainable business. When you are quick to respond to your clients and your suppliers, you’re basically showing them how much you respect them. My ultimate goal in building a business was for the word on the streets to be that Van knows how to take care of his clients and everyone involved in the transaction.



“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch



For many years I have been sharing my knowledge and expertise with real estate agents all over the United States through motivational speaking and real estate coaching, mentoring, and training. With that in mind, several years ago I decided that if I could identify a couple of great leaders in the industry to be on my leadership team, I would build another real estate firm that was bigger than a one-person business.


Thankfully, I found two wonderful people with over a dozen years of real estate experience who wanted to be part of something special, and they came aboard. We re-branded the Big Omaha name to Prime Home Realty. Working together, we laid the groundwork and foundation for our state-of-the-art commission programs and systems, and we were ready to rock in less than 60 days.


In order to have a sustainable business, it is absolutely mandatory to have a top-notch leadership team. Each person on your team should have a different skill set that will benefit everyone. In other words, you need to have the right people in the right seats.


I am confident that Prime Realty will be a huge success. Why am I so confident? Because I know that if we stay with the core characteristics of a sustainable business, we will be successful.


The following are just a few of the core values that Prime Realty will be known for. You can incorporate similar values in your career or business.

  1. Treat everyone we do business with (not just our clients) like they are the only people on earth, and that includes real estate agents with other firms.
  2. Offer commission programs and additional revenue streams for our agents that are unequaled in our industry. If we don’t offer the best programs possible to help them become as successful as they want to be, then they should not be with us.
  3. Be the absolute best version of ourselves and inspire, motivate, and empower everyone in our firm to be the best they can possibly be. We have the attitude that if we have the ability, then we have the responsibility.
  4. Be bold. We will step out of our comfort zone and use every ounce of our God-given talents to make sure our agents have the best resources possible.
  5. Continue to add new training programs and education to give our agents an advantage over other agents in our industry.
  6. To make sure we are available whenever we are needed.


These are some of the basic ingredients of a sustainable business. Many business owners don’t think of these things, which is why the failure rate is high for new businesses.  According to the Small Business Administration, 10 percent of new businesses fail before the end of their first year.


There is no finish line. There are only mile markers.” Michael Ventura


One of the best ways to build a sustainable business is to support other small businesses in your community. We can all learn from each other on a local level as well as a national level. I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed so many years of running a sustainable business. From my point of view, it’s not rocket science – it’s 100 percent common sense.


Drive, desire, determination, and discipline are essential, but it all starts with treating people like they matter. If you would like to set up a coaching session or invite me to speak to your group or association, please reach out to me to set up an initial visit. My direct line is 402-680-8448, and my email address is



What People in the Audience are Saying…

With Van's passion, humor and experience you can be assured of one thing- your audience is going to get fired-up, built-up, and fully charged –up. As an entrepreneur at the top of his game Van is in the unique position of being able to "talk the talk" because he has "walked the walk". Over the years he has been a great inspiration to me and my staff. Van is a speaker with charisma, humility and impact and he's a difference maker in the lives of the people he touches…"

—George Akers // President, First Mortgage Corp.

I wanted to thank you for coming and speaking with our company today. I thought your presentation was awesome! I was really motivated and inspired by your thoughts and ideas. I will use this motivation to grow my business and my personal life.”

—Justin Pauls // Realtor, Tampa, Florida

We are delighted you will be accepting the award for Omaha’s Top 25 fastest growing companies. Congratulations on your outstanding growth and we wish you continued success.”

—Tracey Fortina // Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Thank you for running such a class act company. It is an honor and a pleasure to be associated with someone such as yourself. I know you are probably one of the most respected businessmen in the region.”

—Dustin Talacko // Realtor, Omaha, Nebraska

Congratulations on writing “Selling from the heart” and thank you for sharing a copy with me. Your class has been one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve ever taken. Your enthusiasm and passion for your work are awesome. But the most refreshing part of the class was your delightful sense of humor. Thank you again for being a fantastic teacher.”

—Linda Reismeiler // Student at Randall School of Real Estate, Omaha, Nebraska

Kudos to you, Van, for reaching a major goal. But more than that...For successfully building one of Omaha’s best companies from scratch and making it thrive even in less than ideal market conditions. You have realized the American Dream...And brought it home to many, many others. My best to you!”

—Todd Andrews, Anchor and Producer, KETV Omaha

Having you here again was such a blessing to so many! As I looked at the pictures, I could see just how interested each and every person was in what you had to say!

This has been such a gift to our agents when they need it the most. The fact that you come, you are so genuine and caring, you are so honest, you are not trying to sell anything and your passion to help each and every person believe in themselves and become the best they can be is HUGE! The timing is perfect for us all helping and caring about each other, so, thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for giving of yourself to help all of us!”

—Carolyn Summerton // First Mortgage Company of Idaho

I enjoyed your seminar and its focus. I was on the fence whether or not to attend and decided why not? I could have sat through an all day session if there was one, usually I end up at the seminars that start with a focus and quickly go astray. I found with yours time flew by too fast and it was already time to go but I wasn’t ready to go.”

—Scott Asbill, CDPE // Associate Broker, Realtor