Journeys Bring Lessons

I recently spent some time with a Principal who has been in the Industry for over 30 years and runs a very successful business.   He talks about the mistakes he made and the lessons these provided. John, who we will call him in this article, has some sound and solid advice but one thing that stood out for me during this discussion was how he recognised that he needed to become the Leader .  

John commenced his real estate business over 27 years ago as an independent agency doing sales and property management.  John says “I guess I didn’t really think about anything past getting the doors open and selling to get some cash in, certainly not how to truly prepare the foundations of my business”.  We had been open for almost 12 months and things were as they say, “ticking along fine, or so I thought”,  “then one day my property manager came into my office and resigned, announcing that she was relocating interstate.   That rocked me,   I remember thinking, I don’t have any idea about that side of the business, I had left it to her,  as I had just assumed she would be there for years”.  The outcome was, I panicked and sold my rent roll, what a mistake, probably the biggest of my career.

John continued to operate his small sales business from the same location, but did not start up property management. Continuing to operate for a further two years without building an asset, was another mistake, he says, but as time passed, he knew he needed to.  John knew of a local lady who was looking to go back into the workforce after having her family, she had previously worked in at another agency and had done a little property management and sales.  John says “I approached her and asked her if she would come and work for me, thankfully for me Julie decided to give it a go and join the team”.

With Julie now on board the rent roll and business overall began to grow and prosper. John and his team outgrew their current office location and he decided it was time to relocate to a new premises,  so with 10 salespeople, 3 property managers and a BDO they moved.  As John puts it “things were good” but I just had a sense that something was not quite right inside the business.  I started talking to a few people who helped me see that I needed to start working on the business and not in the business.  The business needed me to be a better leader and in order to do that I had to change the way I operated inside the business. Julie who had been with me for almost 8 years was the perfect candidate to step up and oversee the daily operations for me.  

Looking back John says “I can see a number of defining moments in the evolution of my business”, starting property management again being the big one, relocating the agency was definitely another”.  Our new location generated drive and energy in the team which in turn created a stronger culture with greater internal stability.  Implementing quarterly strategy sessions, weekly team meetings, a full review of our systems and procedures, better learning and development programs and building a recruitment strategy, led me to where I am today.   Finding the right people is not easy but unless you invest in your people and your business and have an agency that people want to work in, then in my opinion you will always have a revolving front door.

John says I now have a strong property management team with a portfolio of almost 1000 managements, I have the two sides of the business working in harmony together and this brings better value to all my clients and customers”.

In closing I asked John, what is the best advice you could give to anyone starting up their own agency today?,  “Make sure you build solid foundations, with good technology,  systems and procedures, be across the business as much as you can and expect the unexpected, but most of all be a leader to your people”.  “I can’t help but look back and wonder just where I would be today if I had built stronger foundations and had strengthened my business better in those first 12 months.

Good leaders, lead people, make better decisions and create businesses of attraction.

Today versus Tomorrow

Today versus Tomorrow

Did you know that the word Procrastinate comes from the late 16th century and is Latin.  It’s meaning is procrastinat- ‘deferred till the morning’, from the verb procrastinare, from pro- ‘forward’ + crastinus ‘belonging to tomorrow’.  The real meaning for us, is that we find that tomorrow arrives and in fact we now have less time.

If you think about this and look at our lives, it is easy to see how many of us get to the end of each day and wonder where the hours went and why there are still so many things left on our list.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Write yourself a “to do list” but go further than this, apply a time frame to it, for when the job or task will be completed, that way you set yourself boundaries. Knowing that you have an allocated time period to finish helps you maintain focus.
  • If your task is a large one, break it down into smaller sections to work through.  Sometimes a task can look so big that we keep putting it off, thinking “That is a big job I better leave it till I have more time”,  The reality is that “more time” will never arrive.
  • Build in accountability for what you want to achieve, you can do this by asking your friends or colleagues to help keep you on track.  Share your to do list and apply check in points for them to monitor your progress.
  • Remove all distractions.  With technology the way it is and the many communications platforms that are out there, it is easy to get distracted.  Lock yourself away and turn off your notifications that way you won’t be tempted to quickly check that email or text message, or jump onto your social media site.  By removing these distractions the task at hand will be completed before you know it.
  • Reward yourself on your achievements.  We all know that feeling, the sense of accomplishment when something is finished.  Take a break and go for a short walk, grab yourself that well deserved coffee, grab a snack and before you know it you are ready to tackle the next challenge.

The key is, start today!  Develop your new habits and look at how your can adapt a few small changes in your mind set, this helps shift your perspective and puts you in charge of your day and on the pathway to success.

A Customer Experience

A Customer Experience

To be a quality business you have to view your business through the eyes of your customers.  With systems and technology moving rapidly all the time maintaining a quality business can be a challenge, however it is achievable if everyone in the business holds the belief.  

This mindset does not come easy.  In a day-to-day workload it can be tempting for people to start thinking about things by looking inward. For example, “How could I save 10 minutes here”?.  “How can I get this task done quicker”?   The risk in this is that little by little you get further away from the core goal of service levels and providing the best customer experience possible.

A quality business does not just say they are one, it is embodied in everything they do. Policies and procedures need to be designed so that practices support your quest for quality and particularly your point of difference. This means doing more than just the bare minimum.

In order to get the balance right you need to adapt your approach.  Identify your internal business needs and also seek feedback from your customers, as they define the value. Armed with all this information you then design a set of services and way of operating that meets those definitions. If you do not do this, then you will quickly lose your way.

If your clients see value and trust you, they will become your best asset and will provide you with referrals and a stellar reputation in your community.