There comes a point in every real estate agent’s career when they realize they could greatly grow their business by forming a team. For some, this realization comes and goes without much thought; they are committed to being solo agents and have no intention of being anything but. For others though, the thought of forming a team is extremely appealing. There are, of course, the obvious potential financial benefits, but there’s also the chance of having more time to spend working directly with clients and possibly even taking more time off to pursue other passions. Forming a real estate team is a big step that requires a lot of thought, planning and commitment. Whether you want to start building a team today, next year, or five years from now, asking yourself the following questions will help you prepare for the complexities involved in building and managing a team.
Can You Afford It? —This is the first, and most important, question you have to ask yourself. Are you ready to be financially responsible for one (or more) other people? Are you willing to give up pocketing some of the money you earn to free up more of your time? Ideally, hiring an assistant and eventually, other licensed agents, will increase your bottom line, but that might not happen right away. You have to be OK with initially taking a hit to your net compensation to allow you to pay others.
Can You Give Up Control? — If you find yourself saying, “The only way to do something right is to do it yourself,” you might have a hard time letting go of control and delegating tasks to team members. When you have a team, you have to be willing to let go and empower your employees to make decisions and find the best way to get things done. You should certainly offer guidance, but if you think you would find yourself re-doing everyone else’s work because it wasn’t up to your standards, it would defeat the purpose of having a team.
Can You Offer (and Take) Constructive Criticism? — A big part of being a boss is giving feedback to your employees about their performance. Are you comfortable having honest, candid conversations and prepared to receive such feedback in return? If you’re someone who goes to great lengths to avoid confrontation, or conversely, have a reputation for unfiltered bluntness, you’ll need to work on delivering constructive criticism in a firm, yet positive way. You’ll also need to be open to hearing from your team about ways you can improve as a leader.
Have You Experienced Great Leadership? — Those who have been fortunate enough to experience outstanding leadership during their careers often make great leaders themselves. That’s because they have experienced having someone make them feel energized, supported and motivated. If you’ve had (or currently have) a great leader, ask that person if they would be willing to mentor you as you make the transition to leading your own team.
Do You Have Clear Short- and Long-Term Goals? — Before you bring on an assistant to help you get through that mountain of paperwork, it’s important to have a plan. If all you really need is someone to help you get organized and catch up, maybe you just need to bring someone on as a short-term contractor, rather than starting to build a team. If, on the other hand, you have a solid five-year plan in place that requires assistance to reach your milestones, you’re probably in the right place to put a team together. The important thing is to understand your motivations for starting a team and what you hope to accomplish.
Building a team is a huge milestone in any real estate professional’s career. When the time comes to build your team, remember what you’ve learned from good leaders along the way and treat your team members the way you’ve appreciated being treated.