Finding success as a letting agent involves a lot of hard work, especially in the face of the many changes currently happening in the industry. We asked John Paul, owner of the award winning Castledene Group for his advice. This is the first instalment in his series on growing your letting agency business.
Business is tough. Add in increased legislation, staff issues, lack of sales, agents racing to the bottom with low fees, and we have an industry that is hard to operate in, let alone grow and make a decent profit in to support ourselves and our families.
Why do some businesses thrive when the vast majority in the estate agency industry struggle from month to month and seem to get nowhere? The answer, like many things, is simple: they have structure.
When we lack structure, we don’t know what to do, when to do it and how to do it. No one tells us how to run our business, we just make it up as we go along. I know I did. I made so many mistakes in the beginning, I could have given up on numerous occasions, and nearly did. The difference is that I learned from those mistakes, felt the pain of them and promised never to make them again – which, of course, I duly did, but I always improved using the knowledge I’d gained.
My mistakes have allowed me to grow my business to seven branches, with over fifty staff managing over 2,000 properties. We sell close to 400 houses a year, but I don’t get involved in the day-to-day running of the business. In fact, I spend fewer than eight hours a month working in my agency. I’m lucky in that I get to spend my time on other business interests, including training and mentoring agents to give them structure in their business, which in turn gives them options. Options to grow and scale their agency, or just to work less, spend more time with the family, or have more fun – whatever is closest to them.
How have I been able to do this? I have implemented structure in the business over different aspects of operations that will give you the clarity you need to build a successful and sustainable business rather than meandering along, seeing what happens on a day-to-day basis, which is never a good plan.
We all like structure. It’s a basic human trait. We may call it routine or even habit but knowing how to do something and doing it repeatedly will give us better results. We can see the wood for the trees if it’s written in front of us to follow.
A phrase I like to use is ‘corporate, but agile’. I’ve taken the best ideas that some of the larger companies across various industries operate to come up with the structure or Agency Roadmap, as I call it. I’ve also tested and tweaked everything in my various businesses, some, not even property related, and I only advocate what I know for a fact works. This isn’t theory; this is practical advice that will make your business better, and fast.
The Agency Roadmap is a tried and tested method I designed specifically for the agency industry. It has allowed my team and I to win many awards, many industry firsts, and has elevated my business to new heights. In brief, the Agency Roadmap has made my business successful by giving my team and I the opportunities for success.
Most of us don’t start off in business like Sir Alan Sugar or Richard Branson; we just get stuck in and see what happens. The Agency Roadmap stops all of that. It gives us modules to follow in our business. It breaks things down, giving us task lists to implement to take us to a better place and give our business structure. I’m looking forward to sharing those modules and structure with you all over the upcoming months
John Paul runs the Agency Growth Strategies group on Facebook. A great resource dedicated to helping estate agents and letting agents build their business. Head over and request to join today.