When we first started putting Listing Concierge together in the fall of 2016, I was among a few members of a small team. What we were embarking on was huge. We knew that if successful, it would be a game changer for Coldwell Banker NRT and maybe even the industry. We knew it would be fun, but it would also have its challenges – and that failure was not an option.
Those early days were a bit daunting and scary (also because I had just come back from having my third kid and trying to juggle it all was an adjustment!) but so exciting at the same time. Being able to help shape an important company program from the beginning is something really special that not everyone gets to experience.
Although I had been in real estate marketing for 13+ years when I joined the Listing Concierge project, I had no idea that I would learn so much from our “little startup that could.”
Here’s my advice for anyone trying to establish a new program or working in a “startup” environment – in no particular order of importance:
- Know your product/program inside and out.
- Be confident in who you are and what you’re doing, but know that you don’t know it all.
- Don’t act like you know it all.
- Tell anyone interested in joining your team that this is a new product/program and you don’t have everything figured out yet; if they’d like to jump onto the fast-moving, fun and exciting train with you, you’d love to have them!
- Give yourself and your team some breathing room to pivot as needed. Sometimes you think you have a process mastered only to find out later that there’s still room for improvement.
- Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they might seem.
- Make your work environment fun and foster inclusion and community. After all, you often see your colleagues more than your family or friends!
- There’s a silver lining to making mistakes – it’s some of the best education around. Use failures as a growth opportunity.
- It’s critical to have good, solid base processes and systems. If you have those in place, you can successfully scale.
- Know what you need in your employees. What are the “X” factors that will make someone great for your team?
- Take everything in stride.
- Have a plan for where you want your program to be today and into the future – even if you can’t execute it all at once.
- Make getting user feedback one of the most important things you can do.
- Don’t forget about the service component of what you do. That gets lost in this day of technology – but it’s still important. How can you give your users a special experience they won’t get anywhere else?
- It’s important to work with the best vendors/partner companies that are as committed to your program as you are.
- Be aligned across the board, from your team all the way up to the top levels of the organization. Everyone needs to have each other’s backs and support one another. Believe me, when you do, it makes all the difference in the world.
- There’s no substitute for dedicated employees who believe in your vision.
- Embrace change.
- “Perfection” is about continually evolving.
- Communicate well and often.
- Be organized.
- Invest in your team and help them grow into better, stronger professionals.
- Be open to and generously accept critical feedback and criticism.
- When mistakes happen (and they will), have a plan to fix them swiftly. You can fix – or make right – almost anything!
- Be there for your team and take care of everyone.
- Take care of yourself.
- Always be one step ahead.
- Think about the long-term vision: What do you need to get there?
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Don’t be afraid or too proud to get your hands dirty when needed.
- Set quarterly and annual goals for yourself and your team.
- Measure your performance.
- When something doesn’t work, keep trying until you get it right.
This experience has taught me so much. As I reflect on it now, I’m grateful because as much as I’ve given to the Listing Concierge program, it has given right back.