6 Easy Tips for Getting Your Real Estate Startup Off the Ground
Building a successful real estate brand in a saturated market can be tough -- it takes a solid plan and a commitment to stick to the basics.
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As a real estate professional, I understand as well as anyone that this business has great potential for financial payoff and personal fulfillment. But it also presents unique challenges that can take us by surprise along the way. Perhaps you're stepping into this for the first time. Or simply bettering yourself as a well-seasoned entrepreneur.
Here are six simple but potent tips I can offer from my own experience to help make your real estate startup as successful as possible.
1. Make a detailed plan
First and foremost, the amount of planning you do. Planning will greatly impact both your expectations and your ability to handle the unexpected twists and turns along the way. Find resources that can help you make a detailed business plan. Be sure you understand what you're getting into. Ask yourself the tough questions that will help you to form the big picture vision, the medium-term strategy and the short-term goals you need to be successful.
On that note, I've found that even with a great vision for the future, it's possible to end up feeling stuck and in a rut. Focus on bringing that vision down to the day-to-day, nitty-gritty to-do list items that need to be achieved. In other words, setting (and meeting) measurable goals is how you get from point A to point B.
2. Assess and plan your finances
Modern brokerage websites and apps have provided a user-friendly experience for investing in condos, apartments and other properties all over the world. It's not difficult for folks to put some money into real estate and make great returns over time.
However, starting a business within the real estate industry is a whole different ballgame. It often requires a strong understanding of how to leverage debt and a strong tolerance for the fluctuations of the market. So to avoid getting in over your head, make sure your finances are lined up well to handle a transition to business ownership. Be organized and specific about your budgets. Plan to make next to nothing at first. This way you will have the most margin possible to build your business up without worrying about putting food on the table for you and your family.
3. Form an LLC
When you're ready to really kick off your business, forming an LLC is very important. Real estate as an investment can be lucrative over time and starting a real estate business of any kind has great potential. But as with any business, it's important to protect yourself financially from any potential issues. That's one of the primary reasons to form an LLC. Unlike forming a sole proprietorship or DBA, forming an LLC will protect your personal finances and property from any liability should legal matters arise against your business down the road.
4. Define your target audience
I've found that it's incredibly important to define for yourself (in the clearest terms possible) who your target audience is. With the tech boom of the last few decades, it's easier than ever for us to focus our advertising campaigns on specific demographics. If we take advantage of this resource smartly, it makes a big difference.
Defining your target audience means knowing what you're selling and who wants to buy it the most. It also carries with it a built-in reminder that, as real estate professionals, we are just as much in the people business as we are in the property business. Meaning, that the person behind the transaction is where our focus should ultimately be.
5. Build a website and social media presence
The ever-developing world of online communication is an important reason why building a website and social media presence will continue to be integral to the success of your business. A standalone website allows you to showcase who you are with total freedom and creativity. It also provides you a sort of home base for your online presence, your biography, your content and any marketplace or communication hubs you may have active.
Just as important, though, is understanding how social media can be used to reach your target audience. Social media has exploded into an ever-increasing roster of platforms that people all over the world use to network and find what they need. Don't underestimate the power of creating and maintaining a presence on the sites that matter most to your target audience. And if website design and social media management aren't your cup of tea (and you have the resources to do this), bring someone in and pay them to do it right. I promise you it will be money well-spent.
Needless to say, profiting and succeeding in real estate these days takes work. But that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. Networking can be one of the best ways to resource yourself with both the practical knowledge and the moral support you need to be successful.
Seeking advice and wisdom from reliable people who have also walked the entrepreneurial road is so important for your professional development. I try to make sure that I can collaborate with other professionals on a regular enough basis to always be learning from other perspectives. And keep in mind that consistently proving to be a reliable and knowledgeable real estate professional yourself, you'll build a reputation that can better attract referrals and returning customers later on.
In the end, it's going to be your follow-through that matters most. These six tips are a great starting place for anyone. But, without the gumption required to make a dent in your to-do list, your dreams of making an impact in the real estate industry (and reaping the financial benefits of that impact) may not come to fruition. Be determined, roll up your sleeves and hit the ground running. Keep the big picture in mind even as you take each next step forward, however small it may seem. If you stick to it, your business will grow and before you know it you'll be looking back in wonder at how far you've come.