You may be all too familiar with this very common problem.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you find yourself in the trap of spending all of your time working in your business rather than on your business. Michael Gerber, author of the best-selling E-Myth book series, talks about this extensively and promotes systemizing businesses so that owners are freed from being technicians focused on day to day operations and can spend time on strategic issues (if you haven’t read his books, I highly recommend them).
As real estate entrepreneurs, we often run into this same problem. We’re so involved in the tactical daily operations that we may forget to take a step back, breathe, and really evaluate the effectiveness of what we’re doing plus we fail to create systems that will allow us to work smarter rather than harder.
My husband and I are no exception to this, but once we recognized late last year that we were falling into this trap, we decided to implement strategy sessions on a monthly basis.
I find these sessions to be very useful as they keep us from going down a path that simply isn’t working and provide an opportunity to brainstorm on new ideas and ways to work more effectively. By no means have we mastered this, but we’re doing what we can do…you have to start somewhere. We started our real estate business less than 18 months ago and are only part-timers, but we recognize that if we start with good business practices now, we’ll continue them at a time when they are even more critical and there is more at stake.
Here’s a suggested outline for what you might want to cover in your strategy sessions. It’s not an exhaustive list areas to cover by any means because different real estate strategies may require other specific measurements to track and review. This is a basic list of areas that you should – as many recipes say – “season to taste”:
Overall Goals Review
- Goals for the month
- Goals for the year
- Progress toward each of those goals
- Response rates per each type of direct mail
- Effectiveness and return on investment of marketing methods
- Direct mail
- Internet marketing
- Bandit signs
- Print Ads
- What’s working well and should be continued?
- What do you need to change – if anything – about your marketing to increase results?
- Number of offers made
- Number of offers accepted vs. declined?
- Lessons learned from offer results to implement going forward
Relationship Building Review
- New connections made (realtors, other investors, private money partners, etc)
- Connections still needed
- Outline next steps for follow up with new connections and plan for identifying needed connections
- Dollars in (how much did you bring in?)
- Dollars out (how much did you spend?)
- Any adjustments needed as a result?
You may be thinking to yourself “Shae, that’s great, but I work by myself. I don’t have a spouse or partner to do strategy sessions with!” Don’t let that stop you. The way I see it, you have two options available to you:
1) Have a one-person strategy meeting. Yes, you can do it. If you have a structure for what you need to evaluate, you can do this in a couple hours time and really reflect on your business.
2) Find a reliable and trustworthy partner who is willing to do these meetings with you. If the partner is also involved in real estate investing, even better. You can exchange ideas and provide a great support system for each other.
If you’re not taking time to work on your business, regardless of your days, months, or years of experience, I strongly encourage you to get started this month. I think you’ll agree that spending time to review, reflect, and revise will make a big difference.
I would love to hear your comments and ideas!