On average, almost half of all new businesses don’t make it past their first year. Going even further, a lot don’t make it past the five year mark. What separates those that make it from those that don’t is often something small. While valuable in their own right, having the desire and drive to succeed are not enough. You need to take the temperature of your business and see where you can improve. Getting off to a good start only means you have to work that much harder to sustain it. Here are five tips to help you turn your hot start into a sustainable real estate business:
1. Delegate tasks: Most successful people in business reach a point where they have too much on their plate at a given time. If you have done the work to get to this point, however, you need to continue what has been working. Nothing will cause a good business to go south quicker than overworking yourself. For starters, it is a fast way to get burnt out. Secondly, you will end up losing more business than you gain. If things are taking off and you have a lot on your plate, you can’t be afraid to outsource and delegate some of your work. There are numerous mundane tasks that can eat away at your time every day. In most cases, it doesn’t break the bank to hire people to get these things done. Focus on what it is that has made you successful, and let that be where you spend most of your time. You can still oversee every aspect of your business without spending all the time.
2. Surround yourself with a good team: Delegating tasks is much easier when you have a good team around you. When you start to feel overwhelmed, you should lean on your team for support. Instead of spending time trying to do everything, take that time to find the best people to work with. A good Realtor, accountant, contractor, attorney and mortgage broker can free up hours of your day and make your business far more successful. Once you find a good team, you need to take advantage of them. They are the experts in their respective field and are there to help you. Remember, they only earn their keep if you are successful. When you are just starting out and initially taste success, you tend to focus on finding deals instead of building a team. If you switch that thinking around, you will end up finding far more deals than you anticipated.
3. Grow slowly: You are never as good as the highs in your business or as low as the lows. You may think you have found a pipeline or a system for constant deals, but there will be bumps in the road. It is important to avoid the knee jerk reactions when you are having success. If you started out without an office, do you really need one once you have closed a handful of deals? Do you need to double down on the marketing because you have had success with it? If you can’t handle all of the incoming leads, you are essentially wasting money on marketing. Closing a few rehabs and flips doesn’t mean you should start looking at buying large commercial buildings. You may get there eventually, but there is often a process to the business. Take things one thing at a time, and keep things as lean as possible for the first few years.
4. Know the numbers: Closing deals and being busy does not always equal success. As with any business, it is important to know where every dollar is going. Even if numbers and accounting aren’t necessarily your thing, you need to stay on top of them. Numbers directly impact your bottom line. In knowing the numbers, you can make the best decisions for your business. Too many business owners do things one way for years without understanding the costs involved or the return on their money. Just because you have done things one way since you started doesn’t mean you can’t change. If the numbers don’t work, there are usually better or more inexpensive alternatives. Never forget that you are running a business. The goal is not to be busy or to simply close deals; you are looking to make a profit.
5. Self-evaluation: From time to time, you need to take a step back and look in the mirror. This is one of the hardest things you can do, but also one of the most important. If you can accept your flaws and understand the areas that you need help in, you will be much more successful. By looking back on past deals or past networking opportunities and giving yourself an honest assessment, it will help in the future. Closing a few deals out of the gate can be a byproduct of hard work, but there could also be some degree of luck involved. If you have been fortunate, look at what got you to where you are. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will lead you on the right business path.
Every business decision you make impacts where you go in the future. The first bit of success you have is a critical time in any business. A good start can be a sign of things to come or leave you with regret if you are not careful. Which way your business goes is entirely up to you.