Viewing by month: January 2011

INSPIRE your workplace

It is fair to say that much of the success of a workplace, be it a real estate agency or any other business, is highly dependent on its staff.  While employees who lack motivation may still be very good at what they do, inspiring your staff to further achieve can generate healthy ideas and lead to a workplace with improved productivity.  To be able to encourage employees it becomes important that leaders can clearly define what it takes to succeed, and then instil in their employees the notion that great success is possible for them as well.

Having said this, for most employers, asking staff to arrive at work freshly motivated with new ideas may be an impractical quest.  Inspiration is not only about encouraging new ideas by offering thoughts, education and motivation; it also requires an environment that can effectively cultivate and bring such new concepts to life.  For example, this may be in the form of conducting office brainstorming sessions.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” – Robert Francis Kennedy.

As the owner or manager of a real estate franchise, you must accept some responsibility for the ongoing development of your agents.  The most valuable managers and leaders are those who help their employees meet their core mental and emotional needs. 

In Fast Company magazine (October 2010), Tony Schwartz (President and CEO of The Energy Project, a company that helps individuals and companies through the science of high performance) offers four traits that managers can employ to help inspire their workforce.
1. Realise that how people feel at work affects their performance; it is therefore in the best interests of your franchise to help your employees meet their personal core mental, physical and emotional needs.
2. Define and teach employees what it takes to succeed, empowering and trusting them to excel.
3. Develop in yourself the ability to recognise employees’ strengths, encouraging them to realise their true potential.
4. Inspire all employees to develop a healthy sense of self worth despite their imperfections; this will help to energise the workplace.

Inspiring your staff can create a win-win situation for your franchise’s success.  If your employees have faith in your leadership and what they can learn from you, you may find your team to be more eager to come to work, developing and sharing new ideas which could see your business and your team reaping the benefits.

Showing enthusiasm and establishing a reciprocal relationship of trust and loyalty are key factors that will help to motivate your workforce.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 31/01/2011 at 10:00 AM | Categories:

How to maintain a Social Media presence

It can be said that the media landscape in which all businesses, including real estate, is constantly changing.  And with the continuous redevelopment of the internet, this rate of change is occurring at an exponential rate and affects how we like to receive information and via which mediums.   In order to remain successful and ahead of the competition, it is essential for franchises to remain in touch with such trends and to market accordingly. 

Whilst CENTURY 21 has successfully joined the social media bandwagon hosting an interactive website with blogs, online technology and Smartbook, it can be hugely beneficial to your CENTURY 21 franchise to maintain and enhance CENTURY 21’s social media presence in your local neighbourhood.

So how can your CENTURY 21 franchise maintain and build on your social media campaign once it has been established?

It can often be useful to consider tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs not just as a means of marketing, but also as modern methods of communication – i.e. a two way means of interacting with your clients.  Thus, rather than simply disseminating mass information to your database, you can gain valuable information from your market by responding to their comments.  Continuing the conversation can also have the added benefit of showing your audience that you are committed to listening to their needs and improving your service accordingly. 

Responding to online customer communication often requires you to proactively monitor feedback which is negative as well as positive.  As opposed to simply worrying about how these negative comments will impact your reputation, try to use them as an opportunity to conduct valuable market research, responding in such a way as to determine the root of the problem, and endeavour to fix it.  Once again, this will show your market that you value their opinions and will go above and beyond the efforts of other real estate agencies to solve their issues. 

Another way to stay on top of your social media campaign is to frequently provide your audience with simple pieces of useful information - these will entice them to make a habit of returning to your site regularly.  Publishing items such as interesting articles you have read, data about their area, tips surrounding selling and buying and the like, can help to position your franchise as a useful and reliable source of information and as such could increase your standing as a real estate leader in the community. 

If your franchise decides to pursue a valuable social media campaign, remember that it is important to keep your mediums up to date and relevant.  This can help you to strengthen your franchise’s solid reputation in the community, as well as to enable you to collect valuable market data and manage customer feedback in a proactive and meaningful way. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 24/01/2011 at 3:01 PM | Categories:

Minimising staff turnover and recruitment

The workplace is changing.  It has become increasingly difficult to find highly skilled people who remain committed and loyal to your business over an extended period of time and the cost of sourcing and recruiting the best staff has risen.  It is for this reason that it is important to dedicate resources to help retain staff so as to minimise employee turnover in your workplace. 

It is often the case that the businesses which have motivated and dedicated staff usually have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  As a general statement it seems that businesses who orchestrate regular training and learning opportunities for their staff naturally have lower staff turnover and thus a reduced need for recruitment. 

Employees who receive ongoing training are usually more likely to commit to their employers because they are offered greater responsibilities, a larger salary and an ability to further their career.  For your franchise to grow in the competitive market you will usually find that there is a need to provide opportunities for your employees to learn and grow.

As a manager and owner of your own real estate franchise it is important to realise that short term incentives to keep staff interested are not always the solution to extended staff retention.  Providing your employees with a clear direction as to how they can progress through your franchise and what future opportunities they will be able to strive for can go a long way in minimising staff turnover.      

In order to maximise the investment you make in staff training and education, it is also important to convey a sense of appreciation and respect to your employees.  People enjoy working when their employer has confidence in them and can offer them flexibility and non-monetary rewards for their efforts and loyalty.  Working toward improving staff morale and attitudes can assist in maintaining high staff retention in your workplace, often offering you a greater competitive advantage in your local area.

It is common for managers to resist investing money in employee training programs for employees for fear of future resignation by their staff.  However it is important to realise that employees leave companies for a variety of reasons.  To help minimise turnover it is essential that you conduct thorough exit interviews as well as regular staff reviews.  Listening to and understanding the expectations and views of current and past employees are important for the success of your workplace as a whole.

The second part of the equation is improving your methods of recruitment, ensuring you end up with the best people for the job.  Prior to recruiting a new member of your team, you should consider revising your structure and needs for this role.  Take the opportunity to update the position description ensuring you offer clear criteria in order of importance.  This will not only help applicants better understand the role, but will also assist you to score candidates during the interview process. Having an efficient recruitment process in place allows you to make quality decisions quickly.

There is no doubt that employees are the most important people in your business as they dedicate themselves to looking after your clients and maintaining the reputation of your franchise.  Recruitment is an expensive and time consuming exercise, so help yourself by retaining and developing your current workforce.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 18/01/2011 at 11:19 AM | Categories:

Maintaining the success of your franchise

If you would like to own your own business, managing a franchise has great potential to be an incredibly fulfilling venture.  However at times, like any business, it can also prove to be challenging.  Ensuring your success will ultimately require competence, dedication, a clear strategy and a willingness to accept change in the external operating environment. 

According to a survey conducted by Johnson Franchise Consultants, 18 per cent of US franchise operations fail within the first three years of operation.  To make certain the success of your own franchise, it is therefore imperative to do your homework and ensure you have the correct infrastructure and processes in place when considering opening or growing your business. 

Planning and preparation can substantially lessen the chances of your franchise running into trouble, and you of course need to be ready to dedicate time and effort to the business building process.   It is also usually worth giving consideration to the practices exhibited and material provided by your franchisor, be it CENTURY 21 Australia or another company, especially during the early stages of your development. 

Taking heed and adapting to your own purposes CENTURY 21’s policies, goals and strategy will help you to associate yourself with a positive reputation in the market, as well as offer you a valuable network of support.  A combination of following particular principles from CENTURY 21, as well as an internal desire to succeed, should offer you many opportunities for success. 

When it comes to internal, non-real estate related tasks, do not feel uncomfortable outsourcing help if you feel you lack the skills required, or simply do not have the time.  Undertakings such as bookkeeping and administration are key building blocks for success, but can be easily handled by hiring skilled people from outside your company (if you can afford to do so), as opposed to doing it yourself either slowly or incorrectly.  Outsourcing can help to ensure efficiency, as your time will usually be better spent on other tasks, such as selling real estate!

Starting a new business from scratch and successfully maintaining it can definitely be a challenge.  However, as the operator of a franchise, you have a head start and a strong support network.  The combination of your real estate selling skills, along with the example provided by your franchisor (as well as other franchisees) and the availability of skilled external help, should help to ensure the success and longevity of your business. 

If you require assistance or advice, utilise your relationship with CENTURY 21.  With over twenty years of experience as a leader in Australia’s real estate market, an abundance of knowledge is at your fingertips.   Opening the channel of communication between your business and the parent franchisor can only enhance your franchise and its success.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/01/2011 at 10:05 AM | Categories: