As your real estate business grows and you find yourself getting busier and busier it becomes increasingly easier to get caught up in the day-to-day details and minutiae of what is happening in the moment. You’re working hard, doing everything you can to satisfy your clients, get them across the finish line, and, hopefully, get the referrals to grow your business. Outside of the client care, you’re still prospecting, marketing, and doing all of the other little things you’ve been doing to grow your business. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing, right? Of course it is. That being said, at some point, you have to step back and focus on your business from the CEO perspective, not the technician’s perspective.
If you aren’t spending as much time working on your business as you do working in your business, you’ll never transition from practitioner to true entrepreneur.
What’s the Difference?
Before I really get into the explanation, if you haven’t read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, do yourself a favor and read it as soon as possible. To make an illustration most of you will understand, especially those from Houston where we have a restaurant every 500 feet, have you ever been to a restaurant where the food was great only to see it go out of business a few months later? So many of those close because they were opened by great chefs who knew little to nothing about the business of running a restaurant. You see, just because you are a great chef or a great cupcake maker or, for that matter, a great Realtor doesn’t mean that you would necessarily be a great restaurateur or bakery owner or brokerage owner. That’s really the difference.
Using the restaurant example to expound, the great chef worries about creating a great dish. They want to drive the business to the restaurant by having people tell their friends how great the food was. Sound familiar? The restaurateur, on the other hand, is concerned about the overall experience of the diner. They focus on decor, ambiance, seating charts, service, amenities, staffing, and a million other things, not to mention spin-off concepts, expansion, and, ultimately, an exit strategy. See the difference? The chef works in his business while the restaurateur works on his business.
So, how do you step back to work on your business and where do you start once you do? First and foremost, you have to make time. You have to have scheduled time daily, weekly, monthly that is dedicated to your strategic planning for your business. These time blocks have to be non-negotiable. Zero distractions. If you have to get up and leave where you normally work, do it. Turn off your phone and email. Your only focus is your business as a whole.
Below is a short list of the items that you can and should do during this time. This list will expand over time as your comfort level with this grows and as you get deeper and deeper into your business operations, future plans, and all of the new ideas you develop.
- Audit, Audit and Audit – To start off, begin with what you’re doing now and examine every piece of it. Make changes where necessary. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
- Systems and Processes – What makes McDonald’s successful? The fact that a Big Mac in St. Louis tastes the same as a Big Mac in New York or London or Tokyo. Systems and processes make that happen. Your business, if it is ever going to grow, has to have them. From CRMs to lead generation to follow-up, everything needs a system. That’s how you create an asset.
- Expansion and Personnel – That’s right. Most agents wait too long to hire and their business suffers. If you’re not at least thinking about it, you need to be. As your business grows, you need to grow your business and you’ll be glad you’ve been thinking about it all along.
- Strategic Planning – Do you have a plan for growth? A real plan, not just ideas? Are there action steps associated with the plan to help you reach your goals? Do you have a plan for marketing, social media, farming, and everything else in your business? Now would be a good time to start. For every goal you have for your business, there should be an action-based plan in place.
- Exit Strategy – You might just be starting in business, but, wherever you are in your career, you need to consider your exit strategy. Are you creating a true asset that you can sell one day when you are ready to leave the business or retire?
- Technology – If you aren’t regularly looking at ways to leverage technology to increase efficiency, automate what you can, and increase your level of service, you are missing out on one of the best ways to stretch your time and productivity.
Like I said, the list goes on and on and will grow. The key is that you’re actually working on your business instead of always working in your business. I believe that once you change this approach, you will find yourself working more and more on your business. That’s when you truly begin to transition into the CEO role of your business.