Viewing by month: June 2011

Ensuring franchise success through effective teamwork

Teamwork has become an important part of Australia’s working culture to the point where many businesses now look at teamwork skills when evaluating new employees. Creating a collaborative office can not only increase productivity and efficiency, but can improve the general team spirit and moral within your CENTURY 21 franchise.

Teamwork is about improving efficiency. The most effective teamwork occurs when all individuals involved can harmonise their differences and work towards a common goal. As manager or owner of your CENTURY 21 franchise it is valuable for your bottom line to embrace the characteristics of effective teamwork to ensure the success of your franchise.

Let it be known that there is a difference between an individual working as part of a group and an individual working as part of a team. The main point of difference is that individuals who work within a team are interdependent on each other and feel a unified sense of ownership and responsibility as they commit themself to the goals they created together, as opposed to being independent and less trustworthy. 

The following characteristics were identified by Larson and LaFasto in their 1989 book titled Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong. If you are in a position to embrace these suggestions your team should be able to function productivity within your franchise.

1. The team must have a clear goal
2. The team must have a results-driven structure
3. The team must have competent team members
4. The team must have unified commitment
5. The team must have a collaborative climate
6. The team must have high standards that are understood by all
7. The team must receive external support and encouragement
8. The team must have principled leadership

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 27/06/2011 at 8:58 AM | Categories:

Include training in your long term strategy

For any business owner or manager, ensuring the continuing training and education of your staff members is incredibly important to the ongoing success of your business.  It is for this reason that training should be embraced as an integral part of any long-term business strategy. 

Every business, including real estate franchises, must handle different challenges that require us to alter the way we operate.  In many cases, such challenges can be seen as opportunities, if the timing is right and the resources are present.  But regardless of whether you view changes in the external environment as hurdles or chances for success, they are outside of your control and the success of your real estate franchise is dependent on your ability to adapt to them. 

Change for a real estate franchise can come packaged in many different ways.  It can be the result of technological innovation, which has the potential to alter the way your staff work, possibly even improving efficiency.  Changes to laws and regulations in the industry will also impact on what your agency is allowed to do and say, possibly forcing you to modify your business practices.  The list goes on – over the lifetime of a business, even the most successful companies must adapt to a huge number of modifications to the external environment in which they operate.

In order for your business to survive, it is important for you and your real estate agents to engage in training, developing the necessary skills to deal with new challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that can arise. 

The recognition of ongoing training is therefore an essential inclusion in any business plan.  Not only does this proactive approach recognise that your real estate franchise will have challenges that need to be overcome at some stage in the future, it also identifies the value that having staff whose knowledge base are current will add to a business. 

Many real estate businesses find it to be good practice to conduct a regular review, whether it be half yearly or yearly, of the macro challenges that the company could find itself facing over the next period.  These sessions allow companies to plan for the measures that will be needed to prepare staff to adapt to such environmental changes, and incorporate these into budgets and financial objectives. 

As any business owner will know, there are not many feelings worse than the knowledge that your organisation has been left behind.  Recognising that change will occur, and proactively planning so as to be able to take advantage of such challenges will give your real estate franchise a first mover advantage, allowing you to capitalise on changes in the marketplace as and when they occur, as opposed to after.   


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/06/2011 at 8:56 AM | Categories:

How to make the best decision when investing in a franchise

There is no doubt that buying a franchise can be a very effective way to gain a leg up, so to speak, when starting your own real estate business.  Buying into an established, well-known organisation can instantly afford your own company credibility and recognition, allowing you to overcome many of the initial hurdles that small businesses are so often faced with. 

However, investing in a real estate franchise is a significant purchase and one that should not be entered into without research.  There are a number of factors that you need to consider, including the length of time you will be contracted for, the corporate culture of the organisation, and the support offered by head office, among other things, before choosing which organisation to go with.    

In order to make sure you are making the most suitable choice when investing in a real estate franchise, there are a variety of research methods that you can utilise. 

Talk to other franchisees
According to CENTURY 21 Franchisee John Rault, who was recently quoted in the Autumn edition of The Australian Real Estate Review in an article entitled ‘Find a perfect franchise match’, one of the methods of research he employed before buying into a franchise was to talk to existing franchisees. 

And according to Steve Wright, CEO of the Franchise Council of Australia, this was a smart move.  Wright, also quoted in the article, says that while official information will be disclosed to a potential franchisee by the company when they are thinking of buying into the brand, “other intangible elements of how the franchise does business... and their relationships with franchisees are things that a potential franchisee must research for themself”.

In the article, Rault recommends that those looking to buy a franchise contact both people who have been with a company for six months, and those who have been with a company for several years. 
Conduct due diligence
It is important to approach the purchase of a real estate franchise as a significant business decision, which means that you should rely on a variety of facts and figures, company research, and a full understanding of what your franchise agreement entails before signing on the dotted line.  According to Rault, “due diligence is the most important consideration when venturing into any sort of business relationship.” 

In the end, the purchase of a real estate franchise means that you are entering an established, successful network, in which your inclusion ought ultimately to add to your success.  You should look for an organisation with which you will be happy to be associated, and whose values, business ethics and performance are aligned with what you also want your business to achieve. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 14/06/2011 at 9:29 AM | Categories:

Make sure your office leaves a good impression on clients

Most real estate agents understand the power of the first impression.  Even if it is a largely unconscious reaction, potential clients will usually form an opinion about an agent based on elements such as the agent’s clothing, personal hygiene, speech and personality. 

It is important for all real estate franchises to understand that a company’s physical office space also has the power to make or break a prospective client’s positive perception regarding a company, and thus the likelihood of them awarding you their business.  Various elements such as the colours, lighting, layout, cleanliness and location will all factor in to the impression that a potential vendor takes away with them after visiting a real estate agency.   

The physical location of an office is very important for franchise owners/managers to consider.  Not only does your office need to be in an area that is safe and easily accessible to your target market, it should also be situated near other successful businesses, allowing it to leverage from the exposure and prestige received by these. 

Just as an agent would dress to impress, so too should an office be designed to make a positive impact.  Upon entering an office, you want your clients to be immediately reassured that throughout the potentially stressful experience of selling their home, they will be in the most capable of hands. 

A variety of office features will come together to leave this favourable impression on clients.  Firstly, a real estate office should be clean, uncluttered and organised.  Would you have much faith in an agency if the front desk had papers strewed about and mess everywhere? Probably not.  Even if the reaction is unconscious, there is the potential for clients to form an opinion about the validity of your agents’ selling skills based on what they see upon entering your agency. 

The colours and lighting in your office can also have an impact on your clients.  Both have the power to change the feeling of a space (for example, natural light and walls painted in neutral tones can increase the feeling of openness in a room), and to influence moods.  It may be a worthwhile exercise for your franchise to utilise the services of an interior designer or colour consultant to determine how best colours and lighting can be employed to enhance your real estate office space. 

In the end, selling skills will inevitably be what encourages vendors to employ the services of individual real estate agents.  However it is very important not to discount the power of the physical office space, both for drawing in potential clients as well as to leave a lasting positive impression of a real estate business.  By focusing on elements such as location, interiors and ensuring consistent cleanliness, you can be reassured that your office will help prospective vendors form an optimistic opinion about both your business and the skills of your agents. 

1 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 06/06/2011 at 9:43 AM | Categories: