How to assess — and transform — your business at every stage

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Whether you’re a seasoned real estate professional or just starting out, understanding where you currently stand — and where you want to go — is crucial. 

You need to take a structured approach to evaluate your current situation, envision your ideal business and navigate through various phases of business development to ultimately build a lasting legacy. By taking an honest look at your current circumstances — the good, bad and the ugly — and where you ultimately want to be, you can develop a plan that works for you and your business.

Step 1: Assess your current situation

To begin, take a moment to self-diagnose your business and establish a plan for moving forward. Contrary to popular belief, this process is relatively simple. Grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions:

  • What’s working for me?
  • What’s not working for me?
  • What do I like to do?
  • What do I not like to do?
  • How much money did I make last year?
  • Where did most of that business come from?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of where your business is coming from and what you should focus on to enjoy and drive your business. Double down on the activities that are both enjoyable for you and beneficial to your business.

Step 2: Envision your ideal business

Next, envision your ideal business by answering these questions:

  • What do I want my business to look like?
  • How many hours a week do I want to work?
  • How much revenue do I want to generate?

You’ll quickly notice a gap between where you are and where you want to be. Interestingly, no matter how successful you become, you’ll likely always desire something more. This will be a constant, regardless of your level of success. In fact, return to this step frequently so that you can continue to push yourself to new levels of success.

Phases of business development

Phase 1: Money matters

For newer agents, the primary focus is on generating income and establishing a stable financial foundation. This phase is all about hustling, building a client base and closing deals to ensure financial security.

This is also the time to set up financial systems that will keep you on track for the long term. Find a trusted financial advisor, CPA, CFP or financial counselor to assist you in setting up bookkeeping, tax savings and preparation, and investment planning. (Remember, if you’re an independent contractor, you’ll be responsible for setting aside your taxes.)

Phase 2: Time control

For more experienced agents, the goal shifts to gaining control over their time. They aim to work fewer hours while maintaining or increasing their income. This phase emphasizes achieving financial freedom and planning for retirement, allowing agents to enjoy a better work-life balance.

You can gain control through adding leverage, like an assistant; increasing productivity; or simply setting better boundaries. Choose the strategies that work best for you and that leave you time to connect with your family and friend group.

Phase 3: Freedom and fulfillment

At this stage, life becomes more enjoyable as decisions are no longer driven by money or time constraints. You can now pursue what you genuinely want to do, whether it’s focusing on niche markets, mentoring new agents, or indulging in personal passions.

When someone asks you what you do, try to think beyond real estate. You are more than your job, and in this phase, you’ll start to tap into hobbies, interests and passions that you may have set aside during your earlier building phases.

Phase 4: Legacy building

This phase involves creating a legacy that will outlive you. The focus is inward, on creating something meaningful for yourself. This could mean establishing a recognizable brand, investing in real estate or creating a business model that continues to generate revenue.

Don’t forget to tap into the professional network you’ve been building all along your journey. If you’re interested in investment, for example, look to those colleagues, mentors and professional partners you trusted to help you get started.

Phase 5: Legacy for others

In this final phase, you shift your focus outward, helping others build their legacies using your experience and success. This could involve coaching, mentoring, developing training programs, or contributing to the community through philanthropy or educational initiatives.

There is nothing more rewarding than helping others through gifts of money, time and your hard-won wisdom. Whether you fund a scholarship at your alma mater, take a leadership role in the community or teach business skills to young entrepreneurs at the local high school, you’ll pave the way for future generations to achieve their own version of success.

Staying on track

Regularly conducting this exercise a couple of times a year helps keep you on track and focused on the right things. It ensures your business serves you, and your community, well. It’s crucial to continually reassess your goals and strategies to adapt to changes in the market and your personal life.

Life is about more than just making money and working. Greater financial stability and better control of your time allow you to focus on what truly matters and leave a meaningful mark on the world. By following this structured approach to assess and transform your business, you can achieve success, fulfillment and a lasting legacy in the real estate industry — and beyond.

Russ Laggan is a speaker, trainer and eXp’s vice president of growth for the U.S. West. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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