In stage 3,  we looked at how getting the right staff doing the right jobs was vital to moving forward. Now, we’re going to take things a step further. At stage 4, our teams have grown, and we’re in the ‘serious business’ territory. It’s time to step it up once again and move up that evolutionary scale.

We’re going to firstly refer back to the point that we touched on in the last stage, and talk a little bit about those blurry lines we encountered with the team. Because now that the team has grown – you might have 10 or more staff working in the business now – it might start to become apparent that it’s getting hard to define some of those roles. Now that you’re in the region of 250, 300, even 500 properties, it’s likely that you won’t have just one person responsible for doing the lettings. It’s probably more like a small department. You’ve probably got an accounts department. Maybe a marketing team. And that, again, is going to change things.

The 3 floors

Let’s look a bit more at the structure we might have within our team. You can think of it as 3 levels, or 3 floors. On the ground floor, you’ll find the deal makers. Those people who are working to get the money in. Moving up to the second floor, you might have the tenancy management teams. These are the people who are there to look after the tenants after they’ve moved in. And then the top floor, up there in the attic is the accounts department. These people don’t get involved in the sales or the tenancies, they do the numbers.

The important thing to realise here is that each level, each floor, is separate. There needs to be some segregation between all of these jobs. The team on the ground floor don’t get involved with tenancy issues. Once they’ve got the tenants moved in, they pass on the responsibility to the team upstairs. It’s not their job anymore. Each team has their own responsibility, and there should be no reason for any crossover in departments.

The main thing is to ensure that these 3 skill sets are allocated correctly. If you end up with someone doing the negotiating who really hates the hustle, who isn’t confident in doing that job, that’s where you’ve got a problem. It’s all about getting the right people in the right places. You need to make sure that the people doing the jobs are doing the jobs well. If they haven’t got the right skills, it’s not going to work out well. So your job is to make sure that your 3 floors, new business, tenancy management, and accounts, are all doing what they are trained to do, and what they are confident in doing.

Your changing role

On a personal level, your job within the business will also be evolving and changing at this stage too. Stage 4 is where you will, or should be, beginning to step back from managing the branch. This is the point where you should be staring to work on your business rather than in your business. If you’ve got the structures right, you’ll have a branch manager to look after all of that for you. And that leaves you with the space to move yourself forward, to think about which direction you want to go in, whether that’s acquisitions or renovations or something else. B y the time you’ve reached the 500 properties mark, it’s likely that you’ll want to hand over some of that responsibility in order to start looking at your own goals.

Building the machine with systems and processes

Now that you’ve got your departments where they need to be, and are working towards getting the right people doing the right jobs, you’ll want to start making sure that you’ve got the right systems and processes in place, so that all of those teams have the correct procedures to work to. If you’ve got processes for both staff members and departments, and also structures in place to keep targets, it keeps your staff accountable, which in turn makes them much more motivated.

With that in mind, it’s worth thinking about what it is that motivates each of your teams. Depending on the job that they do, they’re not all going to be motivated by the same things. So when you are putting those structures in place, things like targets and goals, it’s worth noting that your negotiators aren’t going to be motivated by the same things that your accounts team or your marketing department are.

Once you’ve got those procedures and structures in place, it not only makes things easier for your teams, but also for you. It means that everyone knows what they should be doing, they know what needs to happen if things go wrong, and more importantly they don’t need to have you holding their hands over every little thing. Because now, your business is a machine. It has working parts. It is up and running, which is great, because now, you are in a position where you can step back and be less involved in the day to day. And you should – but we’ll talk more about that in the next stage!

Next, we will take a look at what you might encounter when you get to 500+ properties, and how not only the business will be evolving, but your responsibilities within it.