Don’t get so busy you forget what you’re doing
I got to do something I haven’t done in a long time the other day. I got to spend some one-on-one time with the guy who taught me most of what I know about real estate investing. His name is Bill Cook.
The reason this was a rare opportunity for me is because Bill and his lovely wife, Kim, sold their ranch in Bartow County last year. Since then, they’ve been touring in their class A RV, going from state to state teaching real estate investing courses and enjoying the heck out of life.
Bill just happened to be in town, and he invited me to ride up to a real estate investors association with him where he was teaching that night. I jumped at the opportunity to hang out with my friend and mentor.
We bantered back and forth in the car, catching up on each other’s lives. He talked about how the road was treating him and Kim while I told him about how Ashley and kids were doing.
Finally, he asked me how business was. Now, Bill knows me, and he knows me well. This means my normal tactic of deflection using an ambiguous statement of optimism when things aren’t going quit right doesn’t work very well on him.
So, when I paused for a second to consider what to say, he gave me a questioning, “Joe?” At that point, I realized I had to open up to him.
I told him I had had an awakening, if you will, the day before. You see, we had a business coach come in around Thanksgiving to help us with building an actual business structure into our company. It was both awesome and overwhelming at the same time.
That’s because I’ve been to seminar after seminar about how to do different technical things inside of real estate investing. I’ve taking landlord classes and courses on how to form and operate land trusts, LLCs and S-corporations. I’ve been to many courses on how to creatively acquire properties, but I’ve never taken a course on how to set up and run a business.
Since our coach left in November, my team and I have been working tirelessly on policies and procedures. We’ve been mapping processes and defining “seats” inside the business, complete with specific job duties and measurable units of performance to hold the people in those seats accountable.
We have set up strategic marketing plans and implemented them in the counties where we work. We’ve learned new tools and technologies and even started using one online source to house all of our data and communicate with one another.
But in doing all this, I told Bill, we’ve lost sight of one of the most important things needed to run a business – REVENUE GENERATION! Bill smiled and nodded as if to say, “Been there, done that.”
The problem was, I wasn’t smiling.
My dad has a saying: “Don’t get in such a big hurry that you forget why you’re in a hurry.” Whereas I wasn’t in a hurry per se, I’d done something along those lines. I’d gotten so busy doing — i.e., trying to build a business infrastructure, that I had forgotten what I was doing it for — to generate income for the business.
At this point, our new marketing plan was only in its second rotation, which meant the amount of leads coming in was negligible.
“Truthfully,” I told Bill, “It’s been weeks since I’ve met with a seller. And we have only bought one house so far this year.”
Bill asked me, “What are you going to do about that?” I told him, “The only thing I know to do that is a sure-fire way to get to sellers: I’m going door knocking.”
Putting effort into building a business infrastructure is important. But creating policies and procedures while streamlining new technologies won’t matter if the business isn’t generating enough income to support itself until those things are up and running. Sometimes, you have to take a step back from all the new innovations, and go back to the grassroots tactics you know will work.
So with that in mind, Ashley and I will be out door knocking hard and heavy for the next few weeks, and even months. I will let you know how it goes.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.