To Grow Your Business, You Need to Build Your Bench: Succession Planning for Real Estate Brokerage Owners

When consulting with brokerage owners, I ask this question first: What’s your end game strategy? I typically receive blank stares since most new owners are hyper-focused on getting their business up and running. Most haven’t thought about the day yet when they might hand over the keys to a new owner. Or worse, they don’t envision selling at all. After pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into their new business, the last thing they’re thinking about is handing over the playbook to someone who won’t care about the company the way they do. That is why it’s essential to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have the potential to become part of your management team. Just like a successful sports team, teamwork makes the dream work.

The shift from working in your business to working on your business means you are moving away from producing and moving towards building a sustainable business model. This new phase requires careful planning and coaching as you assemble your bench. Careful thought goes into who you are recruiting, as well as how you’ll coach them to be a successful member of your management team. Over my years in the real estate industry, I have observed owners put more thought into which agents they recruit than placing the right people into management positions.

Characteristics of a successful real estate brokerage owner include being focused on the future, understanding and leveraging technology, and being action-oriented. And one more important part is that you have the desire to delegate. A strong leader focuses on dollar-producing activities like recruiting, retention, and strategic planning to grow their business. During your company’s start-up, you may have been a jack of all trades; answering the phones, recruiting, training, office cleaning, agent mentoring, marketing, etc. Not all activities are weighted the same when contributing to your bottom line. But being that go-to person was most likely a necessity in the beginning. Now that your company has established a solid foundation, built its reputation, and increased market share, starting to delegate specific responsibilities is the next step to grow.

Why should you build your management team, your bench? A solid management team provides many advantages for your business. Let’s touch on four compelling reasons to build a strong bench sooner rather than later.

  1. Keep your business running smoothly even when you are not there.

Having a well-balanced work and personal life means that you cannot be the only person putting out fires, delivering value, or building company culture. A strong management team can help divide up the workload and ensure that your company’s growth is sustained and lasts for a very long time.

  1. Allow your company to thrive long after you have retired.

Your clients, agents, and staff will feel reassured that the company they’ve chosen will be there for the long run. A good management team who shares your beliefs, visions, and goals will ensure your company continues strong, providing employment, opportunity, and value to internal and external clients.

  1. Strong vision.

When you have a good team in place, everyone in your company will be heading in the same direction. In turn, this means that your operations run smoothly no matter what external threats affect the market or your company.

  1. Retain top talent after you sell the company.

One of the biggest fears for a new company owner is will the agents and staff stay after the ownership transition? Agents and staff can either be loyal to the original owner or the company. Having multiple key figures in your company makes the agents and staff more likely to stay even when you’ve decided to move on.

To summarize, you’ve poured yourself into your company. You’ve nurtured it, grown it, and you did this with an eye to the future. Surrounding yourself with the right people, who embrace your vision, who are invested in seeing your company continue to thrive for a very long time, and who are good leaders in their own right is critical to your company’s success now and in the future. Together everyone achieves more!

About the Author

  • Laurie Popp
    Laurie Popp