Michael Choi: How to grow your business in any market

Michael Choi, founder of Australian real estate company Area Specialist, shares his tips on how to grow your business even in adverse conditions.

Step 1: Don’t waste time waiting for the time to be right

You can only build your business if you have your own business to grow, so don’t soak up your valuable time and energy working for another brand when it is possible to be working for yourself now.

Why hand over a large slice of your commission when there is support available right now to allow you to run your own business?

Yes, I know. You might hear the voice in your head that says, “Now isn’t the right time”.

You could be thinking, I am just too young to make that step. Or, I’ve missed my chance, I should have done it years ago.

I was 24 when I opened my first real estate business. Age isn’t the important factor here, it’s the enthusiasm and energy you bring with you.

As the Area Specialist network has grown around Australia I have met agents who are great at what they do but say they need to increase their market share before they are confident they can strike out on their own.

How will they increase that market share? Often the agents know what they need to do. So why not take those steps to grow your own business now rather than waste another week?

Step 2. Build your personal brand

Never underestimate the power of emotions – and the appeal of a personal story – as you work to build your business. Your strong results will attract clients but developing a personal brand is also a vital element in a business success story.

Your name and face are effectively your logo. But your personal brand isn’t just about who you are. It is about what people feel when they see you. How do they react when they see your advertising and your website?

Your brand is your promise to the marketplace on what you can deliver.

In a booming market, listing a property might be all an agent has to do to fetch a great price. But we all know the real estate market goes in cycles and if you don’t do the groundwork to build a loyal base of repeat customers, you will be found out when the market becomes tighter.

An effective personal brand protects you when the market is down because everyone in your network knows they can trust you.

You want people to feel good about you and authenticity is the key.

Be consistent, online, offline, in your advertising, in your face-to-face interactions, at every touchpoint in the customer cycle. That consistency builds the trust that ensures longevity in business. 

People often make their consumer choices because they trust the brand or they enjoy the story behind the brand. It could be the shoes they buy or their choice of a new car.

The same applies in real estate. Be patient but be persistent as you build your personal brand. 

Step 3: Keep it simple

Remember the first day at university when you thought your head would explode as the lecturer explained what you needed to do in the next 12 weeks to pass the subject?

Or the first time at work when the boss said, “You need to make 30 cold calls that connect today”.

There was a lot of confusion that first day, right? Yet you got through it. You did pass the course. And now a tight deadline doesn’t make you break out in a cold sweat either.

Keep that in mind when you are growing your business. Don’t be fancy at first, just make sure you do the simple things well.

Be on time for meetings, return calls promptly, be truthful, know the market as well as you can. You can be more adventurous later.

First, find your niche. Choose your market, understand the problems your clients face and present solutions to their problems.

In the early stages of building your business, don’t dilute your brand by trying to be all things to all people by going into different markets.

Step 4: What’s your plan?

After years of hard work with not a lot to show for it, how did you finally save the money for that overseas vacation?

Chances are you made a plan, found out what it would cost and saved from each pay packet to make sure you reached your goal.

Hoping for growth in your business won’t make it happen. You must have a plan with an overall goal and clearly defined steps to get there.

Working without a plan to guide you means you are more likely to be reactive in your decision-making. That might help you paper over some cracks but it won’t move you toward your goals of sustainable growth.

Step 5: Invest in people

The wisest investment in your own business is the people you choose to work with you. Hire people with skills that complement your own.

Avoid hiring people who always agree with you. For a business to grow you need a trusted team who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

Teams working to the same goal bring different points of view, fresh ideas, solutions that you might never have discovered on your own. 

Don’t try to be an expert on every aspect of business. If what you do best is listing and selling, make sure you aren’t bogged down in office details and have the time to nurture your clients.

If what you do best is manage people, then trust the sales to people who excel at that.

When starting a business, there is help at hand to solve your problems.

It could be hiring an expert in office management to recommend the most cost-effective technological solutions.

It could be partnering with a team like Area Specialist who can provide all the support you need for marketing, branding, database management and office admin. 

Everyone in a winning sports team brings their own strengths to the field. Everyone plays their part. And at the end of the season it is the great team that wins the premiership, not the team of great individuals. The coach is the one who has to build the team with winning chemistry. That’s you.

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Michael Choi

Michael Choi is the Founder of Area Specialist, a real estate platform that helps top performing agents open up their own business without the cost, time or risk.

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