Establishing a business can be daunting, despite the knowledge, experience and passion you may have. From hiring and managing staff, maintaining a positive digital presence and creating a productive work environment while trying to deliver a successful and effective service, there is much to consider.
After founding her own business when she was 18, Sally Lawson, above, has enjoyed a 30-year career growing her own agency, launching a franchise model, becoming president of a prestigious industry body and being the only letting agent in the UK to be awarded twice for developing a £1m+ sales funnel. With this experience, she is now helping others to grow their lettings businesses through her coaching and training company, Agent Rainmaker, and here shares her five top tips for business success.
1. Don’t strive to learn everything in the business
By learning everything in the business, it becomes all too tempting to try and do everything yourself, whether that be to save money or cover for staff absences. While there are advantages in understanding the ins and outs of the business as a whole, if you are responsible for these tasks, it becomes all-consuming in time, money and energy. Undoubtedly, you are great at what you do, and so hire similarly great people to assist you with the roles that are not your expertise.
Having experience in launching numerous businesses I have noticed tha,t on the occasions where I have hired expert support, I have grown much faster than the ones where I have tried to be omniscient. With Agent Rainmaker, I had to hire a digital events company, digital marketers, videographers, photographers, sales people and operation managers – just imagine trying to do all of that yourself?
2. Systemise and Automate from Day One
Systemising is tough. But, if you want to achieve exponential growth, you need to start doing it from day one. Upon actioning a task, create a process sheet detailing how and why you did it, and what programmes you used to help. This will go a long way in reducing stress and saving time when recruiting, onboarding or replacing staff. If you can, then find a way to ‘automate’ the process, so you’re not doing it all manually. Again, this will explode your ability to grow, saving time on admin tasks, allowing you to focus on the important aspects of your business.
3. Build a Strong Culture
I wholeheartedly disagree with those who say company culture is not important. Personally, I have always worked on the basis that me and my team are working together to achieve the same common goal, and so we all benefit from the successes and growth along the way. We celebrate individual achievements, and often share the lows, too, but this has allowed me to create a productive and effective working environment, whereby I have retained loyal and invaluable staff members – some of my team have been with me for a decade, others two.
4. Marketing is EVERYTHING
It frustrates me when business owners tell me they ‘haven’t got around to doing the marketing’! It should come first. Throughout history, so many businesses have missed out on clients or been beaten by lesser brands due to poor or inconsistent marketing.
For me, my rule is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need to get out there. Regularly. Consistently. The digital realms of social media are a crowded place, but you need to be present, first and foremost. Be mindful of what you’re sharing, however – it needs to be something to keep you in potential clients’ minds with the aim of bringing them onboard. Marketing is a growing and complex area – with so many platforms emerging and styles required – and so as soon as you can, seek expert support.
5. Charge Enough to be Awesome
Often, businesses (especially those new on the scene) charge less than their competitors to win business. Why?
The best way to start, in the service industry anyway, is to be better – offer more, serve more, make the experience more. Not only will you hopefully get more referrals, but more people will be talking about you.
The coaching we offer at Agent Rainmaker is double that of our nearest competitors, and has been since the day we started. We dedicated time to ensure it’s totally unique and a service unattainable elsewhere, and so we can more than justify the sum we charge. We allowed ourselves the time to implement a fail-safe strategy, utilising our team and resources before offering our services out, to ensure we get results and that clients feel supported throughout the journey.
Final Top Tip: Always share and shout about your clients’ results, not yours … ultimately, this is what matters!
Sally Lawson set up her first letting agency aged 18. Now, she has created the Concentric Lettings franchise and has turned her attention to supporting other agents through her mentoring and training company Agent Rainmaker.