Time, People, Money: The Real Estate Dilemma

This article is written by guest blogger Peter Brewer. He is a veteran of the property industry, Board Chairman of a major Queensland real estate marketing company for 10 years, and the current Chairman of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland. Peter has evolved into one of Australia’s most respected business mentors and brand champions. As a seasoned ambassador for Inman News Organization, he’s renowned for his influential insights in online marketing. Peter’s unfiltered and passionate views on the future of small businesses make him a sought-after expert. Learn more about him on thatpeterbrewer.com.

It’d be incredibly unkind of me to generalise the entire real estate profession as having a reputation for being cautious with their coins. In fact, I’ve witnessed first-hand some incredible acts of generosity from real estate people across Australia, New Zealand, and in the USA.

But I can’t deny that I’ve seen more than a handful of business owners break into a cold sweat when they’ve misplaced their 2-for-1 coffee voucher.

There’s a great old saying; “If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.” It’s a well respected truism that’s served a legion of smart business people really well. Keeping a watchful eye on the skinny margins and knowing your percentages and numbers down to the last dollar is mission critical.

And in a business vertical with increasing pressure on its margins, it’s never been more important.

Sadly, experience tells me that good financial management, including properly segmenting and reporting on each department as its own profit centre, is actually a rarity.

Having an intimate knowledge of whether your property management or sales departments are making you a dollar or costing you a motza independent of each other is one of the most important monthly measurements to be ruthlessly analysed.

Mopping the sweat off your brow and emitting a sigh of relief because you’ve had 4 great months and a bank statement with no red numbers or minus signs on it doesn’t cut it as advanced financial management.

With operational costs on the up and income on the decline in most businesses, profit margins are getting slammed, and that ill-considered master plan of buying 2 new cars, a holiday house, and a new Rolex during the recent boom, coupled with 12 consecutive interest rate rises, is starting to suck a little for some.

If you’re a frequent reader of my ramblings, you’ll be aware of my regular references to the various bytes of wisdom programmed into me by some of this industry’s finest mentors.

I’m not talking about cute one-liners from the self-appointed soothsayers with inflated egos, deflated bank accounts, and a course to flog, but genuine golden nuggets of genius from those that were/are relentless in knowing to the exact half a percent how their business was/is tracking.

They’re the fearless seasoned leaders who know when hard logical business decisions need to be made, usually long before other business owners have noticed a blip on the radar. They’re the true business leaders with genuine courage.

In 1964, the great Bob Dylan wrote; “The times they are a changin’.” The song is a heralding call to existing and emerging generations that change is inevitable.

Dylan writes; “And admit that the waiters around you have grown, And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone”. “If your time to you is worth saving, then you’d better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin’.”

As the market forces change, and as I visit more and more businesses and study their finances, operational processes and use of personnel, I’m feeling that there’s a really important message in Dylan’s lyrics: “Your old road is rapidly aging’, Please get out of the new one if you can’t

lend a hand, For the times they are a changin’.”

My early mentors were wise about using their resources effectively.

Resources are Time, People, and Money. They’re pretty much the same for every business. Time, People, Money. They are the most common levers to pull when adjustments must be made.

One of the first things I do if I’m considering taking on a new client is to ask them to do some genuine self-assessment via some simple questions. It helps me decide if they’re honest with

themselves and whether we’re gonna be a good fit. It goes a little like this

Play along at home if you like.

1. Are you making the absolute best use of your time at work and play? Should you really be doing the things you do each day?

2. Are you getting the most out of your people? Are they doing the tasks that best fit their skill level? Are your ‘people people’ wasted being admin people?

3. Is every dollar of your money spent wisely?

4. Would you genuinely employ every single one of your existing team members if they re-applied for their roles today? Would their role even be needed today?

5. Are you open to new ways of doing business? How’d you do?

Heeding Dylan’s words, I’ve been spending a lot of time observing the changes happening across the real estate industry and exploring alternative solutions to ensure that businesses get the most of those resources of time, people, and money.

Along with valuable insights from stellar business luminaries such as Cloudstaff CCO Wayne Bucklar, Business Profitability Analyst, Dean Yeo, I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with all of you on my upcoming webinar.

Register here to attend or to receive a recording of this informative session.