April signifies the end of the first quarter of 2021 and the beginning of the next. Many businesses and their teams will be conducting their quarterly reviews, what worked, what did not, what milestones they achieved and whether they are on target, on track or off track. This is always a busy period with BASs due, preparation for the end-of-year financial planning involving catch-ups and meetings with key stakeholders and, of course, the trusted (or dreaded!) accountants.
Speaking in general, it is a high-impact reconciliation period of all the business metrics to ensure businesses end the financial year with their financials and business operations in a sound position. As a business owner, I personally find the April to June quarter the most demanding and challenging.
In addition, it is also a time to review current systems, logistics, operations and investigate future implementations that may help the business grow, become more efficient, competitive and, respectively, more profitable. However, with so many new advancements in technology, so many new applications, methods of sale platforms, digital marketing programs, lead generation systems, social media, vendor-funded financiers, contact management and email providers and the list continues to grow (and might I say), “exponentially”, our industry is facing what I refer to as “project fatigue”. Where do we start, and which new shinny toy should we introduce and use? It also applies to projects that have been given the go-ahead, only to find that they have taken a longer period than expected to complete.
When an organisation is faced with project fatigue, it is important to follow several steps to avoid the protracted danger if allowed to continue. As a business owner or leader, large or small, it is important to act swiftly and decisively. Here are some steps we have taken to ensure we are able to explore new prospective projects, not waste time on taking the wrong ones on, and how we can best manage the process and help our frontline teams work more efficiently and profitably.
1. Less is always more.
“More” rarely translates to a more profitable and, equally important, easy and fun business. Remembering this rule in the first instance will halt unnecessary projects in their track. Fewer more effective systems produce better results.
2. Will it get you to your destination fast?
Speed in business is now a key point of difference. Both for your people and your clients. Be sure any new systems or projects deliver speed, in a direct line, and not take you via the scenic route. Something that looks good but slow to implement is not necessarily the right choice.
3. Measuring financial work flow.
Keeping a measure of all key performance indicators of a business — from financials, employee productivity, systems and processes — will highlight gaps and opportunities. This top-of-mind awareness opens the receptiveness of the organisation to new and/or emerging technologies and their implementation. As an example, in the sales arena, new and advanced digital presentation kits and digital signing capabilities with work flow integration have been a game changer in productivity and efficiency. The more a business owner understands business operations and the cost-reward benefit, informed project decisions can be made.
4. A dedicated “research and development” team.
A major implementation we added to our team is having key personnel who have been assigned the role of investigating all new technologies and systems entering our industry. The dedicated team become familiar with all new technologies and systems in the marketplace and, with their extensive knowledge base, can make informed decisions on which to take on. As a business owner, acknowledging the “cost” as an investment, rather than an expense, pays dividends.
As I have written on many occasions, there are many moving parts to operating an effective and successful real estate agency, large or small. Owners need a sound knowledge of business operations, but most importantly, they need to be surrounded by a capable team who have a passion for the new but know the difference between what will be a distraction, and what will help a business owner reach their personal and business goals. For the prepared, it is an extremely exciting time to be in our industry.
Manos Findikakis is the CEO and co-founder of the Eview Group.