I have learned that I can only control myself and within reason, I can control the habits of my immediate family members. I cannot control consumer perception, the media, the stock market or consumer behavior. I can control my positive attitude and I can surround myself with those that are not negative --- and that, in turn, will attract positive energy. Positive energy and a conscious effort to put those positive efforts into the local community will do wonders for you and your home town.
The road to our economic recovery may be long but here are 12 positive steps to help you improve your business and maybe...the local community, too.
1. Take one day at a time.
You cannot bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes the news and the economy can seem very overwhelming. Write your down your goals. Then, each day, appproach a solution to something on your list. If self promotion is something on your list, start by seeing where you can help in your local community. Get out in your market area --- everyday.
2. Shop at Local Retailers.
Go to the local cleaners, coffee shop, food market and hardware store. Whenever possible, shop local and spend what you need to spend in your community. This little effort will not only save you gas and energy --- it will help your local retailer's business. Helping your local business will pay off with area residents keeping their jobs, stores staying in town and little by little the community will begin to thrive again. Those retailers will remember you --- it will create a sense loyality and belonging, an in turn, perhaps they will recommend you.
3. Recommend Area Businesses and Tradespeople.
When you need a plumber or painter, use someone from your town. When you need to hire a babysitter call the local college or high school to see if they have a list of students that need to work. When you need a home repair, call the local hardware store for a recommended resource.
4. Recommend Area Professionals
There is nothing more comforting than a local family medical practice and dental office. You need to take care of your health and the health of your family --- so --- create a local network of practitioners. Recommend them to your network, your neighbors and to families moving into the area. They, in turn, will return the favor. They may return the favor by letting you leave new home books or cards in their offices.
5. Eat at local eateries.
You don't have to drive to the highway to eat. There are lots of small restaurants in town and they need your business. If you want or need to go out and eat --- eat local. Every little bit helps. If you are not inclined to eat out --- buy local gift cards from the eatery or even a supermarket. They are a nice surprise for a new family moving into the area and the local restaurant will know they are from you.
6. Leave Tips.
Always leave a tip for your hairdresser, your pizza delivery person and your wait staff. AND, if money is not appropriate, I find a small, unexpected gift works wonders. I get coffee cards for the bus driver, postal worker or volunteer coach, for example. It is simple, inexpensive and a nice way to say...I appreciate you.
7. Bank Locally.
There is nothing better than knowing the manager, assistant manager or teller at your local bank. Online banking is certainly convenient --- but --- face-to-face is always better. This local bank resource has access to credit card accounts, cd rates, mortgage loans and even business loans that may not be available by the BIG BOX banks. If your banker's know you --- they will take the time to talk to you and they will be better able to help you with your needs.
8. Volunteer in Your Community.
There is always someone in need. Take time out and volunteer in your local Recreation department, school, library, senior center or food bank. Not only is volunteering a rewarding experience for you --- it helps your community. You get out of your comfort zone and you help someone in need. I always learn something new when I volunteer either from the volunteer organization, other volunteers or from those that need help. I often volunteer with children and sports. It helps me keep a youthful perspective and it keeps me active. A win-win for all.
9. Step Away from the Office Water Cooler.
One thing that breeds negativity is standing around the office water cooler with complaints and gossip. There is nothing more counter productive than a couple of employees lamenting about how bad things are...you know how this works. One begins to top the other --- with a list of negatives. Step away and resist the temptation. It may seem harmless at first but...it brings you down and it brings your productivity way down. Instead of a basket of negatives, purposely counter the negative(s) with something good to say. You will be surprised how the communications will change once you sprinkle in positive thoughts.
10. Walk - Don't Drive
You need to exercise. It is good for your health and good for your attitude. Whenever possible, walk. You will be amazed at what you will see when you walk from your office to the post office, local coffee shop or bank. If you routinely get out and walk in the area in which you live or work, you will be amazed at the postive effects it will have on your whole outlook AND it will have a positive effect on how your are perceived in your market. In the corporate world, we used to call it, " management by walking around or MBWA." Get out of your cubicle, your office or your home --- and walk around.
11. Knowledge is Power
Today's market is constantly changing. You cannot sit on your laurels with yesterdays news, information and statistics. You have to keep on top of today's prices, today's rates and other key information that affects your real estate business. One resource that may help with the "transparency" of today's rapidly changing economic legislation is www.recovery.org or www.whitehouse.gov . No matter what your political views --- you must keep informed and ahead of the news if you want to help your buyers and seller's make financial decisions.
12. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate Some More
Keep information about real estate in front of your buyers, sellers and in your sphere of influence. People will recognize that you know your market and that you are -- your brand. Keep your listings informed weekly of stats, price changes and area economic or real estate news that may affect the sale of their home. For buyers...pull comps on the town or neighborhood so they truly understand pricing in the local market. This will help educate them before they decide to put in an offer on a home.
If you take the 12 Steps to RECOVERY above, you will begin to see changes to your business, your attitude and hopefully to your local world around you...
Remember, real estate is LOCAL. And, there has never been a better time to buy. For more information about the local real estate market and buying & selling your largest financial asset, contact me at: CupaT@aol.com .