An innovative brokerage can only get you so far. At the end of the day, as an agent, we have to constantly look for ways to improve our real estate businesses. While we watch for new trends in the market, keep up with the increasing speed of changes in the real estate industry, and evaluate our performance, there are a few key strategies we use to stay on the edge of innovation.

1. Always look to simplify.

It’s easy to fall for “all the things” and overcomplicate your business. So, know this and intentionally cut it when you recognize it. Evaluate your tools, your marketing platforms, your budgets, and ask yourself “is this serving me”? If this feels overwhelming, spread out the frequency of this in depth overview and do it once per quarter or once per year.

2. Make SMART goals.

It’s not enough to have goals and aspirations – you’ve got to have a plan. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, every goal should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

3. Commit to a balanced life.

Take breaks, schedule fun, and prioritize your life. Make time for your rituals, family, friends, and interests. For those of you who jump on this “goal train” with us, add in some personal goals that will help you stay focused on the things that matter most to you. Date nights? Travel destinations? Learning musical instruments or foreign languages? All of these are more likely to happen when you apply those S.M.A.R.T. goal rules, even in your personal life. Want to travel to Paris? Make a plan, set a time frame, and “Laissez les bon temps rouler“!

4. Fail often, fine… but fail fast.

It’s going to happen. Getting comfortable with failure is one of the hardest but most rewarding parts of running a business. Once you realize mistakes aren’t worth clinging onto or covering up you can learn quickly and pivot in the right direction. We’ve had ideas that have failed – you will too and they likely won’t stop. So, take stock and move on while learning what you can.

5. Fear has no place.

Once you’ve committed to recognizing, embracing, learning, and moving on from failure you can truly tap into your greatest potential. Taking risks leads to rewards – these don’t have to be expensive risks! It can be as simple as stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks. Be willing. What worked before may not always work.

Not to mention, how many times have we avoided that difficult phone call or paperwork only to realize “it wasn’t that bad”? Yeah, it happens all the time.

6. Growth Mindset. ALWAYS.

This is our “all feedback is welcome” tip. It’s easy to get into a focused bubble of our goals, but keep in mind people are often better at pointing out the features, services, or personality traits that stand in your way or are lacking. If you get a complaint, take a moment and then truly evaluate whether it’s a hole you can fix in your business. Complaints and problems are very often just a gateway to a solution. Problems were made to be solved.

7. Learn from Everyone.

Regardless of someone’s experience level or expertise, chances are they have something to teach you if you’re willing to listen. Mix up your company and be around diverse people with different experiences. Our new agents often bring a fresh look while learning from the experience of the seasoned agents in the office. The point? We all have strengths, share yours and learn from other people’s. It all comes back around so play nice and reap the rewards of teamwork.

8. Get Creative.

Look to innovators for inspiration, but take time to think outside the box as well. We recommend scheduling time for creativity and innovation. For our creative types, this may be counter intuitive, but having the designated time allows the freedom of the mind to focus only on innovative and creative thoughts rather than the to do list stuck on your desk.

9. SWOT Analysis

If you haven’t noticed, we are big advocates of having a plan. Part of our planning process includes a brainstorming session for the things affecting our business. This exercise can be done once per year or once per quarter depending on your business needs. It requires a brutally honest approach (or at least it works better with one). Get in there, dig in deep, and brainstorm the list.

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10. You’ve made a plan, now, work it.

Now that you’ve made a plan it’s time to stay focused and execute on that plan. Use the tools and evaluations you’ve done above to guide you. The best way to work a plan is slowly and steadily – set your top priorities and tackle those first (even if they’re difficult). Get them done and move onto the next challenge. Don’t forget to set those deadlines and follow through. Be reasonable and firm with yourself and if you need some tough love, find a friend to be an accountabilibuddy.