The Eight Stages of Evolution – Stage 1

Within every lettings agency there comes a point in the business where you become ‘stuck’. Typically, these points occur when we fail to recognise the moments when we need to make changes, or to evolve. We call these points the Eight Stages of Evolution, and it’s vital that you recognise when these stages are happening in your business, and that you are prepared for them. In this blog series, we are going to look at each of the eight stages, how to recognise them, and how to get past them. Where are you on the Evolutionary Scale?

From 0-60…and then what?

So you’re well on your way. Perhaps you’re sitting in your home office, thinking about the 60 properties already on your books, and then you realise you’ve hit ‘that moment’. You freeze, you panic… what do I do next? You’re in the stuck zone.

You are in charge of the entrepreneurial evolution of your business. Big words for a big responsibility. But if you’ve made it this far, if you’ve started with nothing but a dream of creating your own agency, then you are amongst a special group of people who are making change. You are up there with the inventor of the wheel, the caveman who discovered fire, the people who invented the internet. It’s entrepreneurs like us who change the way the world works.

If you’re at the top end of the 0-60 stage in your evolution, you will have realised that all of the work you’ve been putting in up to now seems less effective, partly because you’re on the cusp of moving into another phase (60-120 properties), and partly because things are getting much, much busier. Managing that number of properties is almost a full-time job in itself, yet you might be wondering if you’ve hit a dead end, because you’re stretched to the limit, yet you’re not yet quite at that point where you can afford to hire help (something we’ll get to when we talk about the next evolutionary step).

The all-rounder

Up until this point, you’ve been learning the ropes, getting stuff done, and you will have been wearing many different hats. It all falls on you – advertising, marketing, all the viewings, listings…everything. But when you’ve got the responsibility of this many properties, where are you going to squeeze in all of those things? If you’re busy looking after the properties you’ve got, when are you marketing in order to grow your business? My guess is that you’re not. You’ve reached that magical transition stage, that evolutionary stage we were talking about earlier.

Feast and Famine

If you’re in this ‘stuck’ stage, you might have experienced this. Feast and Famine. You’ve been marketing successfully and won the business you’ve craved. So you halt the marketing in order to take care of the business you’ve got. Which in turn slows, and eventually stops further growth. The lettings dry up. And round and round we go.

What we’re doing here is focusing all of our attention on the back end of the business, and neglecting the front end. We simply don’t have the time to do it all, because things have got so busy that something has to give.

Time management

Each one of us has the same hours to play with. We often say about others more successful than us ‘where do they find the time?’ but we know they don’t have some magical time machine. We are all operating on the same 24 hours. The only difference is how we use that time. Like money, time is a commodity, and it’s ours to spend how we wish.

As we mentioned earlier, if you’re at the point in your business where you’re so busy taking care of the back end, the nitty gritty of property management, the front end jobs might have been pushed to the bottom of your list of priorities. But, with a little careful planning, it is possible to get your marketing back on track. Perhaps ‘possible’ is the wrong word…. Let’s say, essential. Because without doing any marketing, you’re not going to get the new business in.

In order to move forward, and enter the next stage of evolution, it is important to plan your time to include not only the management stuff, but also the marketing and advertising. And if you get to grips with managing your time effectively, you can factor in time for essential marketing. Plan for it. Even if it’s just an hour a day. You’ll be so thankful that you did.

Next time, we’ll explore the next stage of evolution, and talking about the 120 end of the scale. Here, once again, you will find that the business model urges some modifications and new ways of thinking to keep the machine running, and the business growing.