Reflections of a Small Business Owner/Mortgage BrokerIt is the time of year when people are creating resolutions for their personal goals, financial goals and fitness goals which has me thinking about a number of things. Firstly, when I started my journey into owning my own business a year and a half ago I felt that one of my biggest strengths was my ability to market and educate people in a friendly, no-nonsense way about mortgages and finance. I was about to learn many lessons on the path we call "Owning a business" that were unexpected, frustrating and exciting. As I reflect, on the year and a half or so past here are some of the things I felt the company and myself had fallen short in doing.
1. Not enough time spent planning.One of my mentors and friends Peter Lepinski has a favourite line "You need to work on the business not just in it.". I have attended many of his seminars for quarterly and financial planning as well as strategic and have come to realisation that .... I don't plan enough. I realise that I have to do the milestone planning that I have come to believe in for the year but that my planning AND executing on the plan needs to happen daily. If the organisation is to achieve what we set out to do we have to LIVE THE PLAN. It seems daunting when you sit back and think about how much more organised you must be, how I will overcome those challenges that stopped me from doing that in the past year but it is possible.
This epiphany caused me to overcome a major hurdle for me.... mornings. I am NOT a morning person. A gentle, yet persistent suggestion by a colleague to come earlier to work so that I would achieve more daily put me on the path to overcoming this beast I call "just 5 more minutes syndrome". You know that point when your alarm goes off when it is supposed to but your bed (and 650 thread count sheets) just feel so cozy that you just hit the snooze button, just one more time... or 6.... oy!!! It has taken me about a month to get into the habit of early morning rising. I have to go to bed earlier, have coffee ready in the machine, roll out of bed on the FIRST alarm and immediately hop into the shower. I was a bit of a grumpy bear the first while but now I am starting to enjoy it. Imagine... enjoying mornings. I have read probably a hundred or so business and personal development books and all say - WORK while others are sleeping. I should have listened Years ago!!!!
My planning begins the moment I step into the office and I plan at the end of every day. I use an action list that I wipe clean every day with my undesirables "frogs" as it were at the top, and this has created immense change for me, the company and my progress towards the goals of the company. Small changes = big impact!
2. Build your Team with People Better than YourselfIn trying to achieve your goals whether they are fitness, financial or business don't try to climb the mountain alone. It's funny that I wouldn't have had this "Ah Ha" moment sooner or embarrassing, I'm not sure which but for a long time I tried to do everything and figure out all of the challenges, day to day that came my way on my own. The old saying "Two heads are better than one" is so true. I have discovered that I need to take time to evaluate decisions and go to people I trust and ask their opinion. But, what's more difficult is be willing to accept the hard truths that they sometimes tell me about decisions or great ideas I think I have. I am still working on this. I believe that Emotional Intelligence plays a huge part in this and am working to improve those skills daily, being a red head sometimes doesn't help... lol.
One of the biggest successes this year that happened in my company was making the decision to rejoin the TMG The Mortgage Group franchise in order to allow better flexibility and more options for my clients. It was not an easy decision. Anyone that has owned a company knows that you put your all into it and when you are thrown a curve ball, even if something is not working well, we can be reluctant to change. I viewed Elements Mortgage Inc. as my baby and rejoining a franchise, although well known, with great resources and excellent leadership as a failure. My mindset, was completely wrong. Joining other teams with resources that you don't have access to only makes you stronger. I was able to retain our branding, regain access to a national brokerage with endless training resources, hundreds of years of experience in the industry and leverage on that to provide not only value for my clients but my staff and TMG alike. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
3. Mentor to GrowHow can a mechanic be growing their business if they are always stuck under the hood??? They can't... I had heard this many times but still hadn't had the vision to apply it to my business. It's only moving into the new year that I had a model presented to me that I "bought into". Sheldon Ward one of the Associates within our team is a perfect example of "hiring someone better than yourself". Sheldon and I are quite different but work well together. His emotional intelligence score is much higher than mine, he loves working with "the numbers/spreadsheets... excel is his mistress" and he has a very 360 degree approach to his decision making when it comes to business. We come from different backgrounds, and I have learned as much if not more from him then he has of me. I am much more of a net worker, sales oriented type of person. I sell with passion and facts but more often then not my passion comes through.
Sheldon approached me with a model to change how the company was operating in 2013. It would involve me doing more hands on training/management and going out into the community to do business development. I was reluctant at first and then realised after more discussion that I needed to just try to model and track it. So, in the new year I won't be doing deals, rather I will be forwarding the deals to my team members so that they can gain the experience they need to build better relationships. As they get mortgage deals I will be following them daily and there to assist them with troubleshooting and getting better service turnaround from our lenders. I have a team of intelligent, dedicated and enthusiastic Associates and what better way to build experience and teamwork! We are committed to this model being a success and believe it's a winner! Two heads are better than one.. well five has got to be the recipe for success!
By removing myself from deals I will have the ability to continue to blog, tweet, facebook and converse with our clients to ensure that we are educating our market on what's available in home financing, what is changing in the market and how to understand mortgages, the jargon and all that is encompassed. So going into the new year expect to hear more from me at the Elements Mortgage Team!
I welcome any comments, questions or suggestions you might have about future blog posts!
Elements Mortgage Team
A Licensed TMG Mortgage Associate