Keller Williams Inspire Realty:
A Successful Dakota Business Lending Borrower
Jul 24, 2018
Jeff Shipley, owner of Keller Williams Inspire Realty, and his wife Maria
Jeff Shipley’s life has always revolved around three simple phrases:
“Live the biggest life possible,” “Enjoy your journey along the way,” and “Never give up.”
It wasn’t until he became involved in Keller Williams Inspire Realty, however, that he discovered a way to truly live this motto in a new and deeper way.
Jeff joined Keller Williams Inspire Realty (previously known as Roer’s Realty) in Fargo in 2008. He started out doing normal day-to-day agent work and, at first, it seemed like any other ordinary real estate position. As he began to become more involved, however, Jeff soon realized that this company is much more than a real estate agency; it’s a company that would come to change his life. “[For Keller Williams], real estate is just a vehicle. Keller Williams Inspire Realty is a company that really pours back into the people…with an abundance mindset. It’s a training, coaching, consulting, and personal development company in the business of selling real estate. Simply calling it a real estate company would be a disservice,” explained Jeff. The core values and the way that Keller Williams Inspire Realty operates with an abundance mindset sets them apart from other real estate agencies, and is what Jeff loves most about the company. With a passion for personal and professional development, value-based company cultures, and giving back to agents and the community, Jeff began to realize that Keller Williams Inspire Realty was the outlet he needed to continue to follow his dreams.
“[Keller Williams Inspire Realty] was ultimately what I was looking for and I just didn’t know it until I found it.”
Jeff and three of his team members at Keller Williams Inspire Realty's ribbon cutting
Because of the core values and unique specialty that this business had, Jeff was eager to accept the invitation from his current boss in 2010 to run the business. Later, in 2015, Jeff purchased the business entirely, changing the name from Roer’s Realty to Keller Williams Inspire Realty to remind himself to inspire people every day to live their biggest life possible. With this new name and leadership position came two specific visions: cultivating a culture that is like a second family, and continuing to expand the business. “I want Keller Williams Inspire Realty to be a place that people feel is a second home and a second family,” dreamed Jeff. “Big picture, business wise: my big dream is to have 700 agents throughout the state of North Dakota.” The only problem was that they didn’t have the space to grow in this way, nor the working capital to make this necessary expansion.
It wasn’t until Jeff entertained various loan program options with his banker at First International Bank & Trust that he came across Dakota Business Lending’s SBA 504 loan program. Because this program only requires a 10% down payment and fixed interest rate, utilizing it would provide Keller Williams Inspire Realty with a way to maintain the cash flow necessary to continue to operate the business throughout the expansion process. This is just what Jeff and his team needed to jump start their expansion and take the next step towards achieving their goals.
“It would have been a lot harder to allow our business to expand within our current building for years to come. The 504 allowed me to get into a building that I could have never gotten into—or would have needed a lot more money to get into—to complete this necessary expansion.”
This “yes” to the SBA 504 loan program was only the start to the journey.
Jeff and the Dakota Business Lending team encountered various challenges throughout the process outside of their own control. Jeff’s motto had inspired everyone involved in the loan process and, despite any challenges and obstacles faced, the team continued to trudge forward and not let anything stop them. “I’ll never forget when [the Dakota Business Lending team] said ‘I read the bottom of your email and it says ‘never give up.’’ They were relentless to make sure that we were doing everything we could to get this [loan] to go through.” And eventually, their hard work paid off. Keller Williams Inspire Realty was able to utilize the loan to expand into a bigger building, hire additional agents, develop a new training center, add additional training coaches, and continue to operate as a company of abundance. The business has more than doubled in size since the move and plan to continue moving forward. “We had a few roadblocks and hoops to jump through, but we just kept going and found a way. If we’ve grown this much in such a short amount of time, I can only imagine where we could go. I am excited for our future and the growth opportunities are exponential,” Jeff shared with a smile. “We are already the #1 residential real estate company in North Dakota* and we are just getting started!”
Throughout this growth, Jeff and the rest of the Keller Williams Inspire Realty team were nominated by the Fargo/Moorhead/West Fargo Chamber of Commerce for three different awards in the 2018 ChamberChoice Awards: Best Place to Work for Young Professionals, Business of the Year, and Entrepreneur of the Year. The latter two categories, they qualified in the top three. Being nominated and recognized for these awards, Jeff feels, is a strong testament to who the team members and agents are individually, as well as together as a company. “It’s because of them [my team and the agents] as well as the culture and family atmosphere that we’ve built. It’s completely the people of our company and I just get to be a part of it,” Jeff humbly explained.
With that being said, Jeff’s biggest piece of advice to those considering starting or expanding their own business was twofold: to first make sure that, whatever your business you’re in, make sure you’re passionate about it, and then ultimately hire people to fit that passion and culture. And, as you can guess, the last step is to help those people live the fullest life possible. These simple words of advice are what have helped Jeff work for, run, eventually purchase, and double in size Keller Williams Inspire Realty in just a few short years. And while this took hard work and dedication, he’d do it again as he made sure to enjoy the journey along the way.
“Just live a big life—we only get one of them. But remember to enjoy your journey along the way and, no matter what, never give up.”