Business Planning, Part 1
Running your business like a business is crucial for getting value for your business. Today’s episode is the first of two episodes that touch on the business planning aspects of real estate. As REALTORS®, it is crucial to plan and be wise in the real estate business and think of yourself as a business person. Mark Given joins Monica today to talk about a number of things that should become part of your business plan: finding a mentor, how to foster a good broker relationship, the cost of training (or not having training) in several areas, as well as niche positions in the market and keeping up with your past clients. They also discuss aspects of building a team and being proactive in your business.
When an agent is starting a real estate business, there is a lot to consider in getting started. One big aspect to consider is the cost of getting into the business; not only getting the license, but also membership fees, marketing expenses, and the out-of-pocket expenses until your business can sustain itself and support you.
One of the first things a new agent has to do is find a brokerage firm. You need to find a good fit with your broker, so they can help nurture you and gain momentum. Looking for a brokerage firm that has potential mentors, a good educational program, and a culture that connects with who you are. Looking for mentors both within and outside the company is important in getting honest answers to some important questions. Learning to ask good questions is a huge part of the real estate industry.
Understanding the money aspect of real estate is important in showing a profit and actually making money in your business. You likely won’t be closing on any deals right away, and you have to budget for the periods of time that you don’t have any revenue. Some expenses include gas, marketing, MLS and association fees, and other additional business fees. Taking a class that talks about the cost of running your business is a great idea for new agents — you don’t want surprises that might cause stress that would prevent you from performing at your highest level. You also don’t want to get ahead of yourself; don’t spend it before you make it!
Training should be part of your business plan as well. Not only for new agents — there is always new information to be learned. It is very beneficial to do more training besides what is required for your continuing education. This can help grow your own confidence, and make your business more successful.
Most agents run their real estate business as a generalist. There are plenty of agents who succeed running their business this way, but Mark has found that agents that take the time to specialize in a given niche often become the “go-to” person for that niche. If you’re going to run your business like a business, it’s in becoming really good at some part of a business that you become recognized as the best person for that part.
Keeping up with your clients after a sale is a great source of ongoing business. Many of the most content REALTORS® are providing service for clients they have worked with before. When thinking about where business is going to come from in your marketing, think about clients you have worked with before and had a good experience with. Consumers should have an ideal agent, and agents should also have an ideal consumer. Making an effort to keep in touch with previous clients is not rocket science, it’s people science. Part of building your business properly is to show both competence and care.
The team model has been making a rise in the real estate industry. When you have a team, you have to think about the financial side and compensation, as well as the skill side. You want to have a well-rounded group of people with different abilities and skills. It is important to communicate and hire in a way that matches up the right people together in a team. These things are important to consider before you start or join a team — make a business plan before jumping into it. Another thing to consider as you are building your team is preparing someone who is going to take over for you when you’re ready to move on. Build your business so it’s a sellable business and also one that current clients will continue to use even when you’re gone.
It is crucial for people running a real estate business to have better systems. Some of these systems include contact management systems or systems that track your business’s profit. Your management systems are only as good as the information you put in them. You need to have some systems in place to make sure you’re doing things in a timely manner, and following up with your clients. There are many companies that already have these systems in place — take advantage of them! Start your day by making a plan for what you need to get done that day.
One final aspect is being proactive in your business. When you’re proactive in your communication, both you and your clients will have more peace. Running a business is about having a plan for how you’re going to spend your money, how you’re going to get trained, and how you’re going to give great customer service to your clients.
There was a lot of information covered in today’s episode, and Mark’s advice is to take one area and start focusing on what you can do to improve in that area. Even though they seem simple, the more focused and organized you get in these aspects, the better our businesses are going to run. Building your business like a business will give it real value.
About Mark Given
- After attending The Ohio State University and graduating from Elon College, Mark spent 20 years as CEO of a multi-state retail sales and rental company that grew to 47 locations. He spent the next 18 years as a REALTOR®, volunteer, and community leader. All along the way, Mark has invested tens of thousands of hours speaking and teaching the Trust Based Philosophy systems, leadership skills, sales skills and personal master systems with companies and organizations just like yours.
- Mark has been teaching real estate courses nationally since 2004. He has trained or spoken in 46 states for mega, large, and small private companies for nearly a hundred associations, and at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® annual Convention and Mid-Year Meetings.
- He was twice the President of Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®, President of the North Carolina CRS Chapter, served on the NRA Professional Development Committee and has served on many additional committees for the NAR, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® and his local board.
- Mark has been honored as REALTOR® of the Year for his local board and NC CRS of the Year as well as many other REALTOR® and non-REALTOR® honors.
- In addition to his speaking and teaching career, Mark is a prolific author; evidenced by his Trust Based Philosophy book series and his Amazon #1 Best Selling book, Finding My Why: Ernie’s Journey. Mark has also co-written four other books and writes his weekly blog, Mark’s Minute, which is read by thousands of people every week.
- “You want to set yourself up for success; you want to be with a company that has a culture that connects with who you are.” — Monica
- “Pick a niche and get really good at it and all of a sudden your business can really explode.” — Mark
- “When you have a plan it’s just amazing how much better things go and how much more people want to do business with you.” — Mark
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven R. Covey
- The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense, by Kevin W. McCarthy
- The On-Purpose Business Person: Doing More of What You Do Best More Profitably, by Kevin W. McCarthy
- Contact Mark Given
- Visit Mark’s web site: markgiven.com
- Books by Mark coming out in 2018:
- Trust Based Leadership
- Trust Based Success
- Trust Based Selling
- Visit the Center for REALTOR® Development online learning platform. Coupon code: Podcast
- Find classroom training for a designation or certification at Training4RE.com
- Center for REALTOR® Development
- Contact Monica
- Visit Monica's website
- NAR Conference