Q: As a broker, you’re the boss, the decision-maker and the engine that drives your business. With all that responsibility, how can you avoid being ‘trapped’ in your business?
A: To be free of their businesses brokers need to work on their businesses rather than in them. At first that means more work; later it means less. The simplest things to do are usually the most effective. When you’re training a new staff member you can ask them to write a manual as they go. That way you don’t have to keep showing them how to do the same thing, and they can hand over their role to someone else easily when they take on bigger challenges.
Q: How can brokers decide which ‘work’ to let go of in terms of effectively outsourcing so they can free up some of their time spent on fiddly tasks?
A: You need to focus on your high-payoff activities. Doing the paperwork for a loan application just isn’t an effective use of a broker’s time. Good brokers should be on the phone and in meetings. Figure out what you do that has the biggest impact, and then do more of that and less of everything else. Then you will have more free time and can sell more.
Also, consider how much income is enough. Success is addictive, but at a certain point, spending more time on earning more money is counterproductive. If you can figure out when you should take your foot off the accelerator, then you can switch your focus and enjoy life more.
Q:Brokers often struggle to grow past a few staff. How would you suggest they overcome this and really kick their growth into gear?
A: Many brokers don’t know enough about leadership, management and running a business – they’re very sales focused. But if you are trying to grow and it’s not working, then there’s something stopping you. Until you learn that lesson, you’ll be stuck. I’d strongly recommend that most brokers go and do a management course – then scale their business. Management is as big an area as broking to learn – it takes about 10 years to become a great manager.
“Success is addictive, but at a certain point, spending more time on earning more money is counterproductive”
Q: How can brokers develop a strategy that plays to their strengths?
A: Brokers can identify their strengths and in particular the market segments that they are exceptional at servicing. These could be first home buyers, refinancers, high-net-worth individuals, or a particular community group. The best way to identify them is by looking at your past customers and where they come from – then you can focus on those groups.
As strategy is mostly about focus, this means you have to decide to be terrible at some things, and that’s OK. Apple is terrible at making cheap phones. IKEA offers a terrible customer experience – you do everything yourself, including building the furniture! Yet they are both very successful. Great companies focus on what is strategically important, and they’re OK with being ‘terrible’ at the rest.