I have a pal (let’s call him Len) who got into the white-hot Southern California residential real estate market in 2005, a good two years before the housing bubble there burst. As you can imagine, things started off great for Len. (Are you already guessing where this story ends up? I bet you are wrong.)
As he later told me, “I thought I was some sort of real estate savant, Steve. Everything I listed sold quickly, often with multiple offers. I was in hog heaven.” Len didn’t even have to do a lot of marketing; deals just keeping falling in his lap.
According to Wikipedia, “On December 30, 2008, the Case-Shiller home price index reported its largest price drop in its history.” (Emphasis added.)
Before he knew it, Len’s business completely dried up. The problem (among many others), was that he had a new wife and baby at home at he could simply not afford to not work. So what did he do?
He invested in himself.
“I used to tell clients that when they bought an investment property, they should also get a professional property management company to run it for them,” he said. “My take was, ‘it doesn’t cost, it pays.’” Len took his own advice and invested in his business at a time when the conventional wisdom was to retrench and do the opposite.
What he decided was that if he was going to be doing fewer deals, he needed to do bigger deals. So not only did he pivot into commercial real estate, he did so in a big way. Len had a professional video made. He hired a PR agent and marketing assistant. He advertised anywhere that made sense.
And his plan worked.
He got some big corporate clients, survived the crash, made more money on fewer deals, and in fact, seeing an opportunity in a depressed real estate market, became an investor himself.
As Len told me, “To say the least, getting the help I needed really paid off.”
It’s an important lesson, not only for him of course, but for any small business person who wants to grow. There are so many great things about entrepreneurs – they are creative, hard-working, resourceful, confident, smart . . . I could go on and on. But it’s equally true that they also tend to be a tad, shall we say, controlling? Giving up the reins is not easy for many of us.
But you have to if you want to grow.
Indeed, there are plenty of teammates, companies, and people out there who have expertise, services, and/or products in whatever area in which you may need assistance. Go get some short-term help.
For instance, you can
- Hire a contractor
- Hire a full or part-time employee
- Bring in an intern
- Find a SCORE counselor
- Check out your local Small Business Development Center
- Create a strategic partnership
However you do it, do it, because after all, as you well know,
Getting the help you need doesn’t cost, it pays.