Working on your Business, Not in your Business

More often than not we work for our business, rather than letting our business work for us. The importance of constantly re-evaluating your business plan, your staff, your flow and your goals.

Roadmap For Working On Your Business

  • Staff and team rolls
  • File Flow (creating something that can be replicated over and over)
  • Establishing your goals (monthly, quarterly, yearly)
  • Promoting success and fixing failures
  • Stepping out of the day to day and looking at the big picture.
  • Sometimes 1 step back will take you 3 steps forward.
  • Business Planning meeting

Staff and Team Rolls

Take time to evaluate your staff: It’s easy to just say “this is my team and now I’m playing the game” but in reality you need to evaluate your staff on a monthly basis.  Evaluating your staff isn’t always a negative thing, evaluating the positives is just as important.

Take a look at the rolls you have assigned to each person, review each persons mistakes and success at the end of each month.  I have a piece of paper in my desk draw with each of my team members name on it.  When they screw up, I write down the date and what they screwed up.  When they do great or exceed my expectation I write down the date and what they did well.  At the end of the month I meet for 10 minutes with each person and go over the wins and the losses.

What you’ll notice or find out by evaluating your staff: You’ll find trends as you write this down.  For example if a team member has 10 screw ups and 2 victories every single month they may not be the best team member.  You can also find a team member who over the course of time goes from 10 errors and 2 victories to 4 errors and 3 victories.  This gives you a great idea if they really are improving.  If someone isn’t improving or their errors continue to outweigh their victories then it might be time to find a new team member.

File Flow (The Most Important Part Of Your Team)

When you look at your team the MOST important part is the flow and system you’ve built. The system you have in place is the #1 reason you’ll grow or stay the same.  You can have all the sales tools or lead generating things you want but if you don’t have a dialed in system you won’t be able to handle what you bring in.

Your system is something you put in place and your team executes.  Let’s just be realistic most team members are not capable of creating their own system that’s why they are team members not branch managers.  Sure they can give feedback to help the system but they won’t build it from the ground up.  You need to constantly be reviewing the flow and making sure it stays on track.
The system you have is also the #1 thing that will let you expand your branch.  We all want to grow our own production but I know most everyone also wants to hire LO’s in their branch.  From experience the biggest reason a LO will leave their current job and go to a different company (i.e. your branch) is what can you offer them as far as support that will make their lives easier.  If you can say here is our system, this is what we do every file, this is what you’ll be responsible for and then we’ll just plug you in.  Your close ratio on new LO’s will be twice as high.

Set Your Goals And Share With Your Team

We all have our yearly goals and we talked about the importance of our weekly tracker and focusing on the process not the product but that’s for sales and origination. We also need to share our monthly, quarterly and yearly goals with our team.  It’s crazy to say but people feel a greater sense of accomplishment when they reach a goal then when they have a big month.

A great example is when I started doing this in 2016.  We had closed 10mm in March of 2016 as  branch and in June I started setting goals.  In July we closed 8.2mm and my team was sending emails to each other, high-fiving and the atmosphere was awesome.  Even though I know we did almost 2mm less than in March they were more pumped because they hit the goal of 8mm than when they did 10mm with no goal.

Promoting Success And Fixing Failures

Promoting success is more impactful than pointing out issues: I make my notes daily when someone does well or someone makes mistakes.  In our meetings we as a team discuss every success of each person.  Put them on the pedestal for a minute in front of their piers and create a culture of success. We point out failures in a 1 on 1 meeting so the rest of the team doesn’t see them as less of a team member.  There is also an air of mystery since they think “man Bobby had 6 successes last month, I want to get there.”  When in reality Bobby might have had 10 failures to go with it but no one knows that but you and Bobby.

Fixing the failures: You can’t fix a failure unless you can point out specifically what the failure was.  That way when you bring it up in your meeting you can say.  “on 4-15-17 you reviewed a file and didn’t notice that to use alimony income you had to have 6 months of history of receipt.”  This is a specific thing that was done wrong.  Then you also need to have a solution for them on how to not make that mistake again. I like to ask them first “how do you think you can avoid this going forward.”  If their answers is the same one you would have given then awesome. If not you can suggest what you think would work.

Stepping Out Of The Day To Day

You should spend at least 1 hour uninterrupted per month of just looking at your business plan. What most of us do is look at our business plan for 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there and we end up with a patchwork business plan that we didn’t really figure out anything new from since we didn’t devote our full attention to it. Below are some suggestions on how to and when to do this.

I like to do it at the end of a month or the first week of a month. This way the feeling of victory or the agony of defeat is fresh in your mind.

  • Do it in the evening when no one is in the office.
  • Go into the office late 1 day and spend an hour at home going over it.
  • Do it on a Saturday when you won’t be distracted.
  • Take the afternoon off and go to the beach or a non busy no stress place to work on it.
  • Shut the door, turn off your phone and put on some music in your office.

1 Step Back Can Make 3 Steps Forward

Why most originators are afraid to change their business plan is simple: FEAR OF LOSING MONEY.  Most people don’t like change and have a fear of the unknown.  They know that if they keep doing what they are doing they’ll make the same amount of money that they are making now and they are ok with that.  But if you want to make more money you have to do something more or different than what you are currently doing.

The ordinary originator changes when:

  • They have nothing to lose because they’ve sucked for so long.  Obviously they have nothing to lose by changing so they do.
  • After they’ve had a good month they feel like they have money to burn and their confidence is high so they feel like they can rule the world.

I once talked to a business/performance coach who made the following comment and it has always stuck with me.  If your business was a board game and you were not playing with real money what would you do differently.  He also phrased it as the reason that super rich people (Warren Buffet) or highly successful people continue to succeed is because they no longer have the fear of losing money and being strapped financially so in turn they make decisions in their business based on what they think they should do, not on how could this impact me financially.

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