Viewing by month: October 2009

How to promote your business on a budget

Once you’ve established your own business, getting the word out about it the next big challenge. When you’re probably trying to limit your cash flow as much as possible, how do you promote your business? Just like I’ve preached the benefits of a business plan before, you should also have a good marketing strategy in place for your business. If you join a franchise network like Century 21, you obviously benefit from the international brand and a coordinated marketing and PR strategy for the group, but local marketing is still important. The problem is usually money.

When people think about promotion, most people’s minds tend to gravitate straight towards TV advertising, billboards, radio etc, all of which are priced out of the range of most small businesses budgets. This means new business owners have to find alternative ways to promote themselves that are both affordable and effective. That means thinking outside the square and using your resources wisely. Considering PR rather than paid advertising to try and increase your presence in your local media.  

Consider the power of the internet and use this to promote your business. If you don’t have a website, get one! And if you do have one, look at ways to maximise it for advertising purposes. Considering blogging, like I am here, podcasting and link to YouTube to reach more potential customers. Look at social media as a way to communicate with people – the majority of our country has access to the internet, so use email and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to talk to people for very little, or no cost. There will be a time cost of course, but I think you will find it’s worth the effort.  


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 30/10/2009 at 2:34 PM | Categories:

Steps to starting your own business

For many people, owning their own business is a dream. Taking control of your life in a business sense is the way out of working for someone else, which many people find frustrating. Joining a franchise group like Century 21 can make that dream a reality, and quickly. With each office being independently owned and operated, our franchisees are running small businesses within the international network of the brand. From time to time, we all become frustrated with working for someone else. Running your own business is rewarding, but challenging and to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance of success, here are a few pointers to help you get started.

 

Firstly, make sure you invest in the necessary training you need to start the type of business you want to run. Many governments run training to assist aspiring entrepreneurs, so look into your options. Take the time to speak to people who have succeeded in the areas that you seek success in, learn as much as you can to give yourself the best chance of running a great business.

 

Focus on your passion. Getting a business started is hard work, and you’re probably going to encounter some curve-balls so if you’re not enthused about what you’re trying to achieve, these hiccups may prove enough to sway you from your path. If you’re seriously committed to your venture, you’ll be a lot less likely to give up when things get a little rocky.

Plan! Write a business plan so you have a map or blueprint of where you’re going and how you’re getting there. There are lots of places to look for help with writing a good plan, even just browsing the internet will have you flooded with templates and options. It’s estimated that around 60% of new businesses start without a plan, so if you do have one, you’re already a step ahead of more than half your competition! 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 29/10/2009 at 7:43 AM | Categories:

The first steps in starting your own business

For many people, owning their own business is a dream. Taking control of your life in a business sense is the way out of working for someone else, which many people find frustrating. Joining a franchise group like Century 21 can make that dream a reality, and quickly. With each office being independently owned and operated, our franchisees are running small businesses within the international network of the brand. From time to time, we all become frustrated with working for someone else. Running your own business is rewarding, but challenging and to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance of success, here are a few pointers to help you get started.

 

Firstly, make sure you invest in the necessary training you need to start the type of business you want to run. Many governments run training to assist aspiring entrepreneurs, so look into your options. Take the time to speak to people who have succeeded in the areas that you seek success in, learn as much as you can to give yourself the best chance of running a great business.

 

Focus on your passion. Getting a business started is hard work, and you’re probably going to encounter some curve-balls so if you’re not enthused about what you’re trying to achieve, these hiccups may prove enough to sway you from your path. If you’re seriously committed to your venture, you’ll be a lot less likely to give up when things get a little rocky.

Plan! Write a business plan so you have a map or blueprint of where you’re going and how you’re getting there. There are lots of places to look for help with writing a good plan, even just browsing the internet will have you flooded with templates and options. It’s estimated that around 60% of new businesses start without a plan, so if you do have one, you’re already a step ahead of more than half your competition! 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 26/10/2009 at 12:52 PM | Categories:

Disaster recovery in business

No-one likes to think about bad things happening to their small business, but unfortunately sometimes they do. Even though the small businesses that are each of the Century 21 network has the strength of the international brand behind them, it’s still important to know how you’d cope should something unforeseen happen to your business. Every business should have a disaster recovery plan, and undertake scenario planning to work through what should happen in response to possible disaster situations. People get put off scenario planning because of the perceived time it takes, but even a few bullet points on how to react to potentially damaging situations are better than nothing at all.

  

When you do make the time, get your employees involved and brainstorm possible scenarios. Address those emergencies or hazards that are applicable to your business and keep documents on what the response would be. Should a PR disaster then actually take place, instead of panicking, you should instead be able to go to the relevant file and have a response strategy ready to roll out. make sure you save all the critical documents related to your disaster planning in a secure location, but a location that everyone relevant is made aware of.

  

One of the most common disasters for business is data loss, so one of the most implemented disaster recovery plans is a data recovery plan. In considering this subject I came across an experience had by The New York based company Golden Box, a provider of custom packaging, who only days before a power surge in the office blew out a primary server. They had literally only started doing online backups three days before the server went down, and had they not, the CEO admits he dreads to think what position the business would be in.

  

A big part of dealing with a disaster is communication, so make sure a communications plan is part of your overall plan – both how to communicate internally and externally. Not being able to contact key people, or not knowing who to contact in an emergency or difficult situation will only heighten the stress of the issue.

If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating a solid recovery plan, there are external sources that can assist you, but whatever you do, you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait for a bad situation to arise to realize you’re not ready for it!  


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 23/10/2009 at 10:39 AM | Categories:

What it takes to make a business work

I have said before that before the market slumped late last year, many people got into real estate to make money, and make it fast. There is still money to be made in real estate of course, and we are seeing the market climb back so chances are those venturing into property because they see it lucrative will start to increase in correlation.  But regardless of when you decide to start your real estate business, or even if you have already started it and want it to continue to grow, one thing is imperative – business planning.

  

These two words should become your mantra. I read an interesting article recently that took inspiration from Michael Jackson’s untimely death which is a little odd and I guess somewhat morbid, but the focus was basically would you know what would happen to your company should you come to an untimely end? If your business is suddenly no longer under your control, you want to have put measures in place to avoid a situation where everything you worked for is up for grabs. So what should you do?

  

One of the best ways to secure your business is to make sure you run a competent organization with competent departments. Your business should operate around technical capability and your focus should be on setting up functioning areas. You also need to ensure you engage specialty practitioners – you should have advisors you trust on board to make sure your business is running and will continue to run successfully.

As much as you don’t want to think about leaving your business (or who knows, maybe you do!) you should have a succession plan. This maps out how you will leave the business and what the future of the business will be after that. This should allow you to exit the business gracefully and profitably!    


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 22/10/2009 at 8:47 AM | Categories:

Work Cycles and Making Your Work

Most of us work in cycles. There are some jobs which have events that happen cyclically, and then there are our own personal cycles. Usually some days of the week will be more productive for you than others, as will some times of day. When it comes to real estate, there are definite cycles in regards to property inspections, peak enquiry times etc but usually each person will have their own cycle happening at the same time.

  

Work cycles have highs, lows and plateaus, and having a good idea of when you can expect to be at your best or worst can help you achieve the most out of your working week. It helps you be your best, and can also make working a lot more enjoyable.

  

Identifying your work cycle isn’t actually all the difficult. To figure out how and when you work best, consider the last few weeks and pinpoint when you regularly felt stressed, bored, totally motivated, very productive, etc.  

  

Consider your natural motivation – does Friday afternoon actually make you crank up productivity because you want to get out the door and start the weekend on time for example? Are you revved up on Mondays after the weekend? There are likely to be times that are just more productive for you than others.

  

Also look at your regular commitments. Having activities locked in break up the week and depending on what the appointment is, it can affect our level of motivation. If you have an earlier than usual gym session on Thursdays, you might power through your morning to ensure you can leave on time to make it for example. If something is a fixture on your calendar, you are better able to plan your work around it.

  

There are also ad hoc commitments and because for many of us no two weeks are the same, these tend to require us to adjust our schedules and alter plans. For this reason, ad hoc commitments can also impact on how productive our week is overall.

  

If you examine your week in this way, you’ll probably start to find that some times are better than other for certain tasks, and once you have a good idea of your work cycle, you can learn how to make the most of it. In turn, you are likely to make the most of your business.

Happy cycling!   


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/10/2009 at 10:19 AM | Categories:

Small Business Success Takes Work

Welcome to the Century 21 Franchise Development blog! These daily posts are designed to provide useful and (hopefully) interesting information to people considering joining a franchise, starting their own business, or who have already done one of these things. Being part of the international Century 21 network at a business development level means we have exposure to a whole range of people who have come from varying backgrounds to be a part of something greater while still being in charge of their own businesses, and their own destinies. Each Century 21 office is independently owned and operated, and this creates the great scenario of a small business within a much larger one. If you’re interested in starting your own business, feel free to contact the Century 21 franchise development team on 02 8295 0600, or email us on franchiseopportunities@century21.com.au

  

One thing that starting a small business requires, regardless of what kind of business it is, is hard work. Success takes work, and there are rarely exceptions to this rule. Recently President Obama said something in an address to the USA’s school children, and that was "No one's born being good at things. You become good at things through hard work." This is so true when it comes to work in particular. It can be difficult to believe and some people do of course have natural gifts in particular areas, but you do need to work at something to become good at it. Working in real estate is no exception.

  

Similarly, if something goes wrong or you mess something up, it doesn’t mean that you’re bad at what you do, it means you need to try harder or spend more time perfecting what it is you’re trying to do. Having this type of attitude is referred to as growth mentality, and the theory behind growth mentality is that people do better when they believe that success if a function of hard work rather than just innate talent. To me, that makes it the perfect mentality for a real estate agent.

  

For those agents that have staff and need to manage a team, it’s important to keep this type of mentality going. Real estate is about hard work, and it’s important that everyone involved in a real estate office knows how critical it is to success. Even if you are a natural salesperson and can get along with almost everyone, it’s hard work that takes you the extra mile. It’s not a natural gift to have an up to date understanding of the market trends, or what your competition is doing. And these are things that your customers will want you to know. Having this type of knowledge at your fingertips requires work – and on an ongoing basis!

Another benefit of a growth mentality is that it links hard work and success to a greater good – it’s not all about self interest and the desire to better our own circumstances possibly to the detriment of others. Looking at the greater whole is a key aspect of the attitude, and in real estate that’s also incredibly important. Yes, you might want to win an award or have a great sales month, but it should be in conjunction with bettering the situations of those you work with and for. If you and your team are taking on a growth mentality, you’ll see a direct connection to your work and the future of your business, and the happiness of your customers.    


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 20/10/2009 at 12:05 PM | Categories: