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I spent the weekend at the beach with my kids recently. The ones at home still are older now (one teen and one tween), so our sand castle days are in the past, unfortunately. But as I sat there watching them splash in the surf, feeling the warm sand between my toes, I watched a family with small children try to build a sand castle. They packed the sand with water and began building the base layer. Then they would try to layer on top; however, I’m not sure they ever had the right mix of sand and water. Every time they tried to stack more sand on top, the bottom layer would crumble. Their foundation wasn’t solid, and they didn’t have the right mix of ingredients. The family repeated this over and over, trying to build upon the wrong foundation, continuing to watch their attempt to build a sand castle crumble.

It reminded me of a hard-learned lesson in my own real estate business. About nine years ago, we looked at where we were in our market and realized that our growth was capped. We had captured so much marketshare that if we wanted to keep growing exponentially, we needed to expand.

Here’s the thing about expansion. It shines a laser beam on your areas of opportunity. I say that as a euphemism. If you’re failing in an area of your business, go ahead and try to expand so that you can get a really clear picture of what those areas are.

Our No. 1 takeaway? Get your house in order. We wiped the slate clean and started anew. We needed the right people. We needed systems. And, most importantly, we needed a plan. I remember a conversation centered around trying to determine what the driver was in our business. Ego was stepping in and it finally hit us that it didn’t matter which partner was in charge. The business plan needed to be in charge.

If you’re looking to get your house in order, the first thing you’ll want to do is have a business plan. And be sure to follow it. It should include your budget, marketing, your pillars of business and your goals. Tracking those goals and your progress is also key. For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t just say that you wanted to lose 50 pounds and then hope for the best without tracking your progress along the way.

It’s also important to focus on what to track and how. To get started, make sure you’re tracking your leads, your lead follow-up, your sphere of influence, your Top 50 plan, your lead conversion and your transactions—and, most important, your database. Your follow-up with your database doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be consistent. If you have a strong Top 50 plan, and consistently talk to and engage with those 50 people every single month, you’ll quickly be in a strong position to expand.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of what to get in order, I can say with total confidence that this should be the minimum before you expand to other markets. Expanding will highlight your areas of growth, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. If it’s broken, expanding will tell you it needs fixing.

Sara Guldi of The Guldi Group is a 13-year veteran of real estate. She lives in Florida and has a team in Maryland that consistently exceeds $20 million in production annually, with an average sales price of approximately $165K. In their best year, The Guldi Group did $64 million in production, and they attribute their long-term success to a strong commitment to systems and coaching. Guldi’s passion is coaching, and she loves helping others build amazing business and lives using the performance coaching systems developed by Workman Success Systems. Contact her at For more information, please visit

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