Four Simple Keys Can Make a Big Difference in Your Business.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I have four simple keys that can make a big difference in your business. If I've learned anything about the real estate business in the past two decades it is that it is unpredictable. It does have cycles, and then a recession like 2008 comes along and changes everything. Because of that, it is wise to remove anything in the business that is not contributing to your success. Hopefully, these suggestions will help.

Key 1. Take a critical look at your business. Is it where you want it to be? If not, honestly ask yourself why? Look at it as if you were a business professional looking to buy the business. Would you accept it as it is, or would you start making changes as soon as you received the keys to the office? It can be easy to become blind to our challenges.  You create something, it has some success and it's your baby, but will it grow into a productive adult?

Key 2. Jettison things that don't work. I know this sounds harsh, but that can be systems, equipment and people. When I started my own brokerage I had a number of agents from my previous company ask to join me. I declined. In that office, a very small group of the 25 agents did all of the deals. The others sat around, drank coffee, made copies and searched Facebook. I didn't want that in my office, so I didn't invite anyone to come along and I turned down those who asked to join.


The same is true of systems. What worked in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s may not work today. There is a coach, a program, a pay-per-click site, a website marketer, and many other things around every corner waiting to be funded by your hard work. When online marketing companies solicit me to provide leads, I have a standing policy. Give me thirty days free and if I have one good closing I'll sign up for a year. No takers to date. I always ask if they don't have confidence in their product, why should I?

Surround yourself with the right people. I mentioned above that I didn't take any agents in the early days of Cornerstone as a brokerage, but I have taken some in the past few years. I also needed an office administrator. I hired one in June of 2016. She came highly recommended and she had a good interview. She only lasted two days. It's not that I'm hard to work with, but I expect results and excellence. I'm not a charity or a rehab facility. If someone works with me, they've got to have high energy, they've got to be open to learn and they've got to earn their keep. She did not have the juice to be a high-performer, and I didn't have the skills, the patience or the "want to" to change her.  I hired a new office administrator in November and I am really excited. She is a kindred spirit who is not only doing a great job, but she has great vision and she wants to learn. Hire people who enhance your success. 

Key 3. Reward those who help you be successful. I love rewarding those who cause me to be successful. That includes lenders, closers and other agents. I send referrals to my lenders and closers and I even send referrals to local agents I enjoy working with. Sometimes I just can't get to everyone who is asking for help. In those cases, I have a handful of local agents I gladly send those clients to. 

I also reward my clients. I'm always grateful that someone picks my company over all other options in our market. I always give a closing gift to my clients, but I also send my electrical contracting company through the newly purchased home to make repairs or changes prior the buyers moving in. At the end of the year, we revisit all of those clients and send gift baskets as a holiday gift to add one more thank you for their business. I rarely lose a client. 

Key 4. Set aside funds for a rainy day. This year started out with great furvor. I did more business in the first 13 days of the year than I did in the last quarter of 2015. That was a great time to set aside funds for a slower period if one came. Little did I know that family health issues would create a slower time for me. 

I didn't work at all in September and October. From June through the end of the year, I've been managing the care for my ailing mother. My first quarter rainy day fund made that possible. It acually carried me through the end of the year. I did a a lot of business in November, but it doesn't close until the end of the year and early next year. With this business, it's important to make sure you keep enough resources set aside that you can survive more market anomalies. I thank God daily that I'm in a business that gives me that level of freedom. 

The keys could be endless in most any business, but these four help me stay on top of my game. What keys can you add to this group? Feel free to share with us so we can all grow and succeed together. 


Four Simple Keys Can Make a Big Difference in Your Business



Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Will Hamm 12/31/2016 11:52 AM
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Peter Mohylsky
Your Bucket List Broker along 30a

Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts about how to run a successful business.,

Dec 26, 2016 05:25 PM #1
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Mike, it's interesting.  I'm looking at Key 2 and thinking that I need to jettison extreme blogging!  That is going to be an interesting post!

Dec 26, 2016 09:20 PM #2
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Mike --- This is a very thoughtful(and thought-provoking) post.  Simple, yes, but only if there is a clear plan in place and that plan is worked diligently.  As always, execution remains critical.   

Dec 26, 2016 11:07 PM #3
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Mike.  I have a three month reserve right now, by then end of January I hope to double that.  Great advice as usual, thanks for posting

Dec 27, 2016 03:45 AM #4
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Mike - Those are great suggestions for business survival. Those of us who came through 2008 know how important that rainy day fund can be.

Dec 27, 2016 11:37 AM #5
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Those are well thought out points that can make a big difference in business, Mike!  I hope you have a very successful 2017.

Dec 27, 2016 05:28 PM #6
Alan Gross
PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, Equal Housing Lender - Bethesda, MD
Loan Consultant

Hey Mike Cooper  - Along with rewarding people it's important to remember to say thank you and to keep in touch. I like using old fashioned "snail mail." It's so old that hardly anyone uses it anymore and you really stand out. I use a system that is easy to use and is done from your computer or smart phone and can be personalized. Check out   to learn more.

Dec 28, 2016 05:44 AM #7
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Mike Cooper - I appreciate your thoughts on what it takes to be a success!

Dec 31, 2016 11:57 AM #8
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

I came by way of Will Hamm's reblog.  A great read with much much truth.  

Dec 31, 2016 02:29 PM #9
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hi, Mike!  nI included this post in today's edition of Last Week's Favorites on ActiveRain.  And Happy New Year!

Jan 01, 2017 07:38 AM #10
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Happy New Year to you!  I Hope you have a wonderful, happy one!

Jan 01, 2017 07:58 AM #11
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

You have a business model and plan that you know will work for you and that's all that is important.  Happy New Year to you.

Jan 01, 2017 08:22 AM #12
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Mike

You've rewarded us with another real gem of information here!. I especially like #2!

Happy New Year!


Jan 01, 2017 10:06 PM #13
Charlie Harrison
The Bluefield Group - Greenville, SC
Are you ready to buy or sell today?

Thank you for this post! Great keys to help along the way!

Jan 02, 2017 10:20 AM #14
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Well deserved feature Mike & especially the last point which I find most Realtors totally ignore!  Did they not have any finance training in their lives.  It is very clear that if you don't have 10 times your annual salary saved by the time you retire, you will be stepping down your living style & need for health care costs will overwhelm are a good son too.

Jan 03, 2017 04:15 AM #15
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Mike Cooper

Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro
Winchester has a place for you! Call me.
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