Venturing into Real Estate in Boone County

Venturing into Real Estate in Boone County Main Photo

17 May 2022


Realtors play a familiar role in most communities as the primary resource for families and individuals to locate a home as they move into the area. The most successful realtors often have excellent people skills, a commitment to helping others and an energetic work ethic. But possessing the skills to start and promote their own business may be more foreign.

Growth Dimension Economic Development has offered its Venture Program for Entrepreneurial & Business Success as a one-stop shop for business owners, entrepreneurs, and business & organizational leaders to find access and information for business-related resources. In early 2022, the organization tailored the program specifically for realtors. 

Conor Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Rockford Area REALTORS®, said the Kauffman FastTrac® Venture Program helps real estate agents think more like entrepreneurs by presenting a working business model.

“It is very challenging for new realtors stepping into this hyper-competitive market,” said Brown. “We want them to be successful and remain active in the business long-term.”  

Entrepreneurial Fast Track

Growth Dimensions Economic Development partners with the Kauffman Foundation to bring business professionals the Kauffman FastTrac® Program, a world-renowned business and entrepreneurial education program that provides participants with a structured, innovative, and principle-driven approach to starting growing their business. With the assistance and input from the Boone County Chapter of Rockford Area REALTORS®, Growth Dimensions was able to locate and reach potential participants and design a realtor-focused curriculum. Thirteen real estate agents graduated from the course in early March. 

While the typical VENTURE program lasts ten weeks, Growth Dimensions Economic Development’s program was adapted into five weeks to complete training before the peak selling season. It covered five sections and focused on assessing each realtor’s entrepreneurial traits, then transforming them into the strategies necessary to allow their business to grow.  

  • IDEATE - Assess personal traits and priorities.
  • POSITION - Determine customers and design a business model.
  • COMMIT - Focus on brand, distribution and sales strategies.
  • REFINE - Analyze financial results versus expectations.
  • LAUNCH - Strategies to bring attention to a business. 

Attendees met weekly at the Rockford Area REALTORS® Office to gain the information, tips, exercises and tools to take their real estate agent experience to the next level. Guest speakers from Blackhawk Bank, Illinois REALTORS® and Rockford Area REALTORS® presented specific topics for real estate agents at each session. Current, active real estate agents who committed to all five meetings could participate at no cost through sponsorship by locally-owned Blackhawk Bank. Tammy Zurfluh, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Banking, stated Blackhawk Bank recognizes the importance of partnering with community organizations and the impact local realtors have on the housing market’s success. 

“We congratulate the realtors who completed the program, as we believe their participation will help their personal and business brand and help them develop long-standing community relationships and enhance the local housing market,” she said.

REALTOR & Entrepreneur

Danielle Powers, a REALTOR® with Dickerson & Nieman REALTORS®, was introduced to the course through several experienced peers. She saw the course as an opportunity to broaden her sphere of influence and take in as much information as possible on other aspects of real estate beyond buying and selling properties.

“The key learning I took away from this course is recognizing that the ability to adapt and pivot will be essential to growing and sustaining a successful business and being an entrepreneur,” she said. “Being your own business assumes the greatest risk, but your outcome and goals will be as good as you are prepared to make them!”

Brown stated the FastTrac® Program was an excellent opportunity for the community and was thankful for Growth Dimension’s ability to facilitate it. 

“Growth Dimensions Economic Development is a huge community asset in marketing Boone County and Belvidere and by "connecting the dots” for new and existing businesses alike,” he said. “Realtors directly benefit from a healthy, strong business and workforce climate, so our success is tied with Growth Dimensions Economic Development.”

While the overall success of the Kauffman FastTrac® Venture Program for Realtors ensures more training to come in the future, all entrepreneurs can register for the general Venture Program for Entrepreneurial & Business Success now. Anyone interested in learning how to turn their idea into a successful business enterprise can turn to the 2022 Self-Paced Venture FastTrac® Program. Registration for the course is open now!

Growth Dimensions Economic Development is here to help dedicated entrepreneurs get their start. Please contact us today at or (815) 547-4252 to see what we can do to get you started on your journey!