Running A Real Estate Business When The Weather Has Other Plans
How can real estate professionals and businesses brave the weather with confidence and remain on top of their game?
Data from SingleHop and an infographic from G-Code Magazine suggest that 10 days of inactivity for a business can be crippling. Sometimes hurricanes and historic blizzards can mean the immediate implosion of real estate careers and companies. In other cases, it can take longer. The point is that a period of inactivity can cause serious problems.
Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
The difference between those that fall prey to the weather and those that rise to the top isn’t how hard they are hit, but how well prepared they are. Direct property damage can be a severe financial threat, but real estate investors, agents, and CEOs really face the biggest risk in having operations and income stall.
10 Tips to Weathering Any Storm
Keep Your Pipeline Full
Real estate investors that only look as far ahead as the end of the month will invariably find they are crushed when unexpected interruptions, like major storms, come their way. If you and your team have a habit of hustling for a week and then sitting back thinking you have enough money coming in for the month, it’s time to step it up. The pipeline needs to constantly be filled. Fresh consumer and referral leads need to be consistently poured into the top of the funnel EVERY day. They need to be pushed forward. Daily closings should be the norm.
One of the best ways to ensure lead flow, regardless of whether you are snowed in, is having digital marketing working on autopilot. In fact, this can be one of the best times to reach prospects – when they have nothing else to do but search the web. Real estate blogging, press releases, PPC, drip email campaigns, and more are all a part of this.
While this is no longer a new concept, and all real estate pros and companies ought to be using the cloud for backing up everything, it is worth repeating. Even consider backing up critical data twice via Google Drive and Dropbox. Some may even choose to have variations of their websites hosted overseas, in zones which are extremely unlikely to be hit by earthquakes, blizzards, or hurricanes.
It’s critical for independent real estate professionals to stay connected, regardless of the potential interruptions. Being out of the loop can be catastrophic, even if only for a few days. In the case of hurricanes and snow storms, the threat isn’t limited to the duration of the storm. Power and communication lines can be down for weeks, sometimes even months. If you aren’t available, consumers and industry partners may think you are out of business and will start working with the competition. Combat this with multiple internet and phone service providers.
Having a mobile and connected team is just as important as you being mobile and connected yourself. Sometimes they may be connected when you can’t be. In house team members should be trained and equipped in advance for these scenarios. Leveraging outsourced workers is great too. Have great outsourced talent pre-screened and on call, to be activated on the fly when needed.
Have an Office Plan
For real estate CEOs with physical offices, it is critical to have a plan to protect equipment and data. This must be executed in advance of bad weather. It doesn’t matter if you are on the 20th floor of an office tower with safety glass, wind and water damage can still destroy files and computer equipment. Wrap it and move it to interior rooms and storage areas without windows.
The weather is another, if not one of the most important, reason for a real estate investor to stay diversified. Think different markets, varied niches, and diverse revenue streams. Even monetizing your real estate blog could go a long way towards keeping the cash rolling in during crises.
Investment properties, residential buildings, and offices should all be insured. Most will also want to have business insurance, and specifically coverage to fill the gap if income is disrupted. If the operation relies on a few individuals to remain profitable, then taking out insurance on key people is smart too.
Take smart steps to protect properties from weather threats all the time, as well as having a plan for taking extra steps when there is an imminent threat.
In addition to the needs mentioned above, real estate pros need to be building up a financial reserve for these scenarios to cover cash flow shortages. Your team won’t hang on if you don’t have the cash to pay them. Neither will vendors. Most will need to be ready to unleash a new marketing surge as soon as the clouds clear.