What's Important To Your Real Estate Business?
Whether you are a real estate agent, broker, appraiser or home inspector, you are "in business". Even if you work for a company, most real estate professionals are self-employed in one way or another. Being self-employed has many benefits. It also has many responsibilities and tasks that must be achieved if you want to be successful. So, what's important to your real estate business? Here are some of the things that I find important as a professional home inspector;
Beginning in October each year, I begin working on my home inspection business and marketing plans for the next year. A business plan allows me to identify in writing those things we did the previous year that worked and those that did not. Obviously, we don't want to spend money or waste time the next year on things that did not improve our bottom line or earn us more clients. Business and marketing plans help me and my other home inspectors to be on the same page. It is our plan for how we do what we do. Our plans give us focus. We also treat our plans as "living documents" meaning that we are flexible enough to add new items, try new things or stop others, which are not working early on. In general, our plans keep us on track and are an outline for how we operate. A business without a plan is like a ship without a rudder.
What is your mission? Does your business have a mission statement? I believe that having a mission statement is important because it is the basic premise or foundation of your company beliefs. Even if you are an agent working for a real estate company, you should have your own mission statement. Your mission statement should be public. It tells others what you and your company are about. Developing a mission statement can be difficult. It may even change over time as your learning and experience improves.
Ever wonder what the difference is between marketing and advertising? For me, marketing is action and advertising is a media product (noun). Marketing is putting your advertising media into action. In my home inspection business, marketing (verb) is of critical importance. Each home inspection in itself is marketing. Our finished product is marketing and advertising media. From social media to business cards, proper placement of these advertising materials is marketing. Marketing is the how to action of getting your target audience to recognize and remember your company.
Advertising is the media graphic items such as those used in your printed, online materials, billboards or vehicle graphics. Advertising materials are the physical elements you use to make your real estate or home inspection business visible to the public or your target audience. If you are like me and are less than a creative genius, it is a good idea to have these professionally created. The quality and appeal of your advertising is important.
Why Should Anyone Choose You?
We all have numerous competitors, especially in real estate related businesses. So the question is, why should someone choose to do business with you over anyone else? This is called "your offering". In competitive markets, there are many similar products. What is it that separates you or makes you, your product or your services a better choice than others? Make this part of your business and marketing plan. Develop your services or products in ways that make them stand out, make them unique in one or more ways. These unique differences should be included in your advertising and marketing.
Ever thought about studying your competitors? It is amazing what I have learned from watching our competition in the home inspections businesses. By watching your most successful competitors, you can learn some of the reasons they are successful. Once you learn what your competitors are doing, you can be creative in doing similar things. But, don't copy them, make it your own and do the same things differently or even better.
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3. Faith and prayer are important to me and the success of the company God has provided to me.
Your Good Name
My company name has my name on it. So, it is important to me. The reputation of my name and of my business are important. Doing business with honesty and integrity build your business reputation. There are not shortcuts, or at least long lasting ones in business. Treat others with respect and do what you promise. If your end product does not meet your client's expectations, your good name may suffer for it.
Do you have any mentors? If not, you need them. Mentors are people who have experience that you do not have. It is like hiring an employee (that you don't have to pay) that has different skills than yours. They are your "wise council" and your sounding board. Mentors can hold you accountable. Good mentors, or the right mentors, will not hesitate to tell you frankly when you have made a mistake or when something is a bad idea. As a home inspector, I have three mentors, one who is in the inspection business and two who run other successful companies. Obviously, your mentors should be people you admire, look up to and that are successful at what they do.
What Do You Watch, Listen To And Read?
One of my mentors gave me some advise that has proven very valuable to me over time. "You must be a student of business no matter what your business is". What you watch, listen to and read are important. They influence your ideas, attitudes and values. This came to life when I started my home inspection company. I thought that all the training, experience requirements, and state licensing exams were the hard part. As it turns out, running a business is much harder than getting the needed real estate credentials. It is a life long journey requiring focus and regular attention.
I hope you enjoy reading this and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on "What is important to your real estate business".