Commercially the main consideration is your future income, structure and cost. Every business owner wonders if they have got the structure right and are operating to full potential. My previous business name was my last name so you always wonder if losing your personal identity will be a factor and therefore you suffer commercially. You also have to consider the cost of reinvigorating yourself in the market through promotion. However this does turn out to be an investment in your profit. At the end of the day I knew I could prosper financially by rebranding so there are not really major commercial considerations. It’s just a business decision that has to stack up commercially.
Choosing the Correct Company
When I went to the Harcourts annual business owners conference I came back to my office and let things sink in. Then, once I was sure that I could be part of the Harcourts culture, which I think is very strong and uplifting, I conducted a thorough costing’s forecast and business plan for every individual month after the rebrand. I broke the plan down to month by month as I was determined to grow each month and needed to be ready for the growth. Planning and forecasting is critical, I still do it religiously today.
For choosing the right franchise my criteria was simple. I wanted to be with a group who could make me a better agent and business owner then I already was. I wanted to provide my employees with the best of training and make my entire team the best we could be. The people who operate the group are everything to a business owner and I felt that the Harcourts team were genuine and had real tangible strategies for growth. Although they are already well established in New Zealand their phenomenal growth after 10 years in Australia and other regions was something I respected and admired.
The greatest benefit was security as a business. The satisfaction and stability of owning a strong business is very calming. I have always done a great deal of self training and just wanted myself and my business to get better. I knew Harcourts could assist me get to where I wanted to go.
The benefit’s have been very noticeable to me. Of course every business is different and other people will find both advantages and disadvantages. I can honestly say that I have not one single thing that I would say has been a distinctive disadvantage of the rebrand. I was very thorough in letting everyone that I had previously dealt with know that. When I had rebranded the business I found out along the way that some people I thought would have known about the rebrand didn’t. So the promotion of the rebrand needs to be a very thorough, long campaign. This is not a really a disadvantage just another issue that has to be handled. One of the straight out advantages to the rebrand has been with recruitment. I was able to demonstrate to prospective agents a clear path and structure to improve their own personal business with our culture, training, systems and support.
The Harcourts brand is vibrant and energetic which some brands just aren’t. This has given myself and my team a real track to run on, the Harcourts Corporate people are outstanding and have brought enormous value to us through planning and mentoring. Their input has a huge advantage and the best advice I could give to other business owners is to be open to the input of other people within the network. You are never alone when you’re with an organisation like this. I also make the most of the time spent with other business owners and people within the organisation. It is amazing the strategies and methods you can pick up by being around quality business people. One also needs to look to the future and as an independent the business and the branding can become just about you which is not always healthy. With our Harcourts Townsville-City brand the business stands on its own whether I’m involved or not.
The Staff Situation
I kept my property management and postgres staff but sometimes you have to go it alone to get ready for change. I made the decision to rebrand and start fresh with new sales staff. I wanted people who could share my vision and the Harcourts culture. You don’t always have this within your existing business and sometimes the tough decision to move forward requires a change in your personnel. I would encourage anyone considering a change to evaluate their team. If they are not going to embrace change then maybe you’re better without them. Communication is the key with staff, if they feel part of it and understand it they will be your ally.
Starting the Switch
I decided to start the rebranding on the first of the month. That’s just my opinion. I feel that the first of any month is a great way to do it. It’s a clean fresh start and looks good for the books. It must be done with intensity; I worked very hard selling personally up to and during the rebrand. Good personal profile and good stock helped so that when I rebranded I was noticed and respected. It also allows you to recruit well as agents have a time line to work to.
Like anything you have to start at the start and tick things off as you go. When I had made my mind up to rebrand it all happened pretty quickly. The burden of the rebranding is easy when you are going to a major group like Harcourts. All of the signage, letterhead, promotional material is at your finger tips and it is just sensational. It is such an exciting time. There is quite a bit to coordinate but like anything we do in business it’s about planning. A great Sydney agent has a saying “don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.” I live by this and just made it happen. The Group are an enormous help with all of this.
Overcoming the Obstacles
The main hurdle is normally yourself and your ability to stay positive and make it happen. A lot of the paperwork etc is a fact of life these days so I didn’t get bogged down in it. It’s a big decision but you have to have self belief and chose to move forward.
The right result?
It has been absolutely a good decision. As an independent you are always trying to invent the wheel with all kinds of things such as marketing, training, strategies. The friendship and counselling I have received from the group has got me through tough times. Where as an independent I would have had no one. My staff and I now belong to something bigger then ourselves. We are not just growing as individuals but are growing as a network and family. I think every human on earth wants to belong and the security we gain from belonging is the corner stone to my business. I simply run the business now with the help of excellent postgres staff. I have changed my role and haven’t sold as an active agent for the last 3 months. Even in a tough market our figures are good because I now have the structure right. This is the prize, the business just goes on, and it’s about Harcourts Townsville – City not individuals.