Commentary by Margaret Kelly
RISMEDIA, Dec. 19, 2007-As we head into 2008, you’ll hear a lot about revising your business plan and constructing a strong marketing strategy. Those things are important. But so is an even more fundamental question.
Will you operate solo? Or is it time to form a team?
Most top producers eventually make the decision to either travel the road of success alone or with teammates. In the current market, it might seem too expensive to even consider starting a team-on the surface. Look deeper to see what a team can offer you.
Pros: As a single practitioner, you are in control of every aspect of your business. You troubleshoot and problem-solve, you negotiate and listen. You truly have a handle on every detail associated with your business. Your take-home profits are your own; there’s no sharing with team members or assistants. That’s how you became successful and why you might choose to stay in business by yourself.
Cons: There’s a limit to how many leads and how much business one person can handle, and you may have more than you can manage. You spend a lot of time handling unprofitable-but-necessary tasks instead of focusing on high-return activities. Clients can’t always reach you because you’re busy with another client. Emergencies may demand that you neglect one client in favor of another.
Pros: As your business grows, you don’t have to be everything; you can hire people to help you. As your profits continue to boom, you’ll eventually hire people who are better than you at some tasks, causing your bottom line to skyrocket. “Duplicating yourself” through good training is one of the most effective ways to make more money in less time.
Cons: If you start a team before you have more leads than you can handle, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Depending on how you choose to compensate, treat and manage team members, loyalty can be a problem. This is because people who are paid commissions are motivated by the business you bring in-less business means less money and ultimately, less loyalty. Steady paychecks create a more loyal team, but can put a deep dent in your budget. Also, be careful about new hires-your reputation is on the line.
It is critical to discuss both options with your broker (or a trusted, experienced broker). You’ll also want to speak with respected agents who’ve opted to form a team and others who’ve remained solo, and discover why they made the choices they did.
Whatever your decision, be sure to give your 2008 plans thoughtful consideration as you prepare for a successful year. RE
Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX International. She joined RE/MAX as a financial analyst in 1987.
For more information, please visit www.remax.com.
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