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A Perfect Fit

This jack-of-all-trades became a master of one: real estate.

Robert Blanton is a man who knows what he wants. That may be difficult to believe from looking at his resume--he's owned everything from a gym to retail video stores. But Blanton's business experience helped him head in a new direction with a RE/MAX franchise.

Blanton, 52, was drawn to real estate, because, he says, "I was looking for something more labor-intensive than inventory-intensive." More than three years spent learning about the franchise as an agent convinced Blanton it was a right fit. He liked its concept of 100 percent commission kept by the agent, unlike agencies that keep a percentage. In April 2002, Blanton opened RE/MAX Connection in Ellisville, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

As a new franchisee, "I look at recruiting and retention as the top priority," Blanton says. In his previous businesses, he perfected his recruiting skills. With high standards, he has turned away prospective employees that didn't seem "high caliber," which has helped him earn the respect of his agents.

Blanton's adherence to his high standards and his honed recruiting experience have paid off. After less than a year, he has 27 agents on the books and is pursuing more, exceeding the third-year goal RE/MAX set for his franchise. He's already expanded his office and expects to more than double its original size soon.

So, just what does Blanton want? To be No. 1, of course. His goal is to fill his office with more than 100 agents, because, he says, "no [other RE/MAX franchisee] in St. Louis has done that." It's obvious Blanton won't be settling for second best.

-April Y. Pennington contributed to this article.
Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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This article was originally published in the February 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A Perfect Fit.

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