I’ve been reading Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work Week and I’m intrigued with the idea of “the new rich.”  This is a concept where you’re not necessarily rich, but you live as the rich do.  Meaning you have enough free time and cash flow to engage in hobbies and travel as if you were wealthy and retired.  But how can that possibly apply to a commercial real estate agent?

Is it Possible to Scale a Service Business like Commercial Real Estate?

If you’ve ever done an Internet search on “how to scale my service business” you’ll see a lot of “IT CAN’T BE DONE!”  The worst lies are half-truths.  There are some aspects of the service industry that cannot be scaled, including your direct influence on the business.  Sometimes clients are going to insist on speaking to you instead of your assistant.  Products don’t have that problem.  I’ve never demanded to talk to Kaz Hirai because my Sony TV is buggy.  A service business will need you some of the time.  The key is to minimize it as much as possible.  In the service industry, we may never get to the ideal 4-hour work week, but we can get to a 2 to 3-hour work day.

1. Outsource the stuff you hate.

Sit down and write a list of stuff you do every day.  Highlight the things you hate the most.  Is it writing contracts, qualifying phone calls or contacting sales leads?  Consider an assistant.  Can’t afford a part-time or full-time employee?  Think outside the box and get a Virtual Assistant.  You can find anyone from an American to someone in the Philippines for an affordable price and wants to work a few hours a week.  Start out small with a virtual assistant – don’t inundate them with a million things – give them about 6-8 weeks of training time to get fully up and running.  Training is faster when you’re in the same office, but a VA needs a bit more time.  It’s a trade-off.  Less money for more training.  Oddly enough, I’ve, personally, had more luck with retaining VAs than employees.  Someone who wants to be a VA likes working at home and hourly, so they’re more likely to be long-term.

2. Focus on the Cash Flow

If you’ve decided to use a VA to take on the mundane daily tasks, you now have time to focus on your cash flow.  The more work you get in, the more you’ll be using your VA or might need a second one.  For this, we need cash!  Updating your website to the 21st Century should be #1 on your list.  80% of commercial real estate buyers agree that they rely on the Internet for their commercial real estate information needs now more than three years ago (source).  You need to be popping up in these Internet searches.  Ensure your new website is designed with the goal of converting visitors to leads.  Your website should offer something in exchange for your potential client’s contact information like a PDF booklet.  Free consultations aren’t as tempting as they used to be!  A website should be a hands-off way to convert visitors to leads.  (See our Website Design services.)

3. Enhance your Marketing Efforts

Email newsletters are an excellent way to keep in touch with current clients and people that have made inquiries on your website.  Write articles that your target market would like to read like “5 Ways to Find the Right Buyers for your Warehouse” or “10 Things a Commercial Real Estate Loan Agent Won’t Tell You”.  The more targeted your content, the more likely it is your readers will contact you.

Social Media is a great way to get potential clients to trust you.  Consistent social media posts with articles and news relevant to your clientele will put you on top of the competition.  Most commercial real estate agents do not engage in social media, so being active will keep you top-of-mind.

Search Engine Optimization is important to getting your website ranked by search engines.  Is your website on the bottom of the Google search?  Time to start thinking about what you can do to increase this!  Writing weekly or monthly blogs can be difficult, but providing new, quality content is key in climbing the ranks.

See our Marketing Plans to enhance your marketing efforts – COMPLETEY HANDS OFF!

4. Evaluate your Time and Plan Accordingly

After you’ve begun outsourcing your time, evaluate what you’re now spending time on and make adjustments.  Do you need another VA?  Is it time for a full-time employee?  As your business grows, you’ll have to continually make these decisions and free up time for the important stuff!  Like fishing or golf!