We have started, and continue to run, a number of companies. I started my first company in January 2005.
Recently, we started our fifth company. We hired two new employees and I can’t even tell you how many other things we did, but all that’s not the point of this article.
The point of this post is to review the process of starting yet another company – very related to all of the other real estate businesses we operate, yet separate in location, function, and staff.
Have you ever started a company? If not, you have no idea how many moving parts are involved. Today, I’m considering posting a weekly wrap up to keep track of exactly that, how many individual pieces you must consider in a new, and eventually, fully functioning business. We’ll see how that process unfolds, but here are the highlights of J&K Property Investors, a division of HomeVestors, to date.
Picked a name. With as many companies as we have, picking a name is relatively easy. For your first business, choose a name that’s easy to spell, easy to remember, and tells what you do. Your name will be (should be) your number one marketing tool. The names Exxon and Subway give absolutely no clue as to what the business is, but it takes a long time and a ton of money to promote those names to a point of customer recognition. To save your marketing dollars, pick something more descriptive. I bet just by reading the name of my newest company, J&K Property Investors, you have an accurate idea of what this business is about.
Set up an entity. Depending upon your business type, you will need to set up a business entity. That entity may be an LLC, an S Corp, a C Corp, etc. The best entity for real estate investing is a partnership LLC. To read more about setting up your LLC, check out my post Investing in Real Estate 5, Setting Up Your LLC.
Business Cards, etc. Then there are the marketing things you’ll need like business cards and websites. Before ordering business cards, you need a mailing address (not your home), a business phone number (different than your personal number so you know how to answer), a company website and email address.
For additional steps on starting out, click on my post Investing in Real Estate 3: Beginning Steps.
So, specifics of what happened in our office this first week include:
- The Office Space – We created an office environment that reflects who the company is and what it does by placing marketing materials and business cards in locations that we can easily find and clients will see upon entering. Because we have other real estate businesses established and were prepared for this introduction, marketing materials had already been ordered and received.
- Phone System – The phones didn’t work properly this week. Ugh. So we had the number forwarded to our cell phones until the office land lines could be serviced and functioning which, by the way, happened Friday afternoon. Better late than never!
- Phone Script – We used and tweaked the script for answering the phones and gathering client information. Everyone puts their own personality into how they answer and communicate, but certain things need to be covered by the initial pick up, such as company name, the name of the individual answering, and an offer to help. What to ask on that initial call is important so we created a format.
- Buy Packet – We regularly visit seller’s homes to make offers for purchase, so we developed a packet to be put together for each property. By standardizing the process, we can be better assured that individual items won’t be missed.
- Roles and Responsibilities – With three employees, we established and divided roles and responsibilities. This will be an ongoing process as we determine who is better suited for different positions and continue to balance time involved in each task.
- Pricing Standards – We’re establishing standards for comping (determining value of) properties and calculating our offer amount. Because we’ve done this in the past, we have a good feel for fairly accurate numbers. With new employees and new systems, however we’re, as a team, going back to the basics and building from there.
- Office Signage – We determined the lettering we want on the exterior office door and windows and a sign company has been contacted for quotes. Marketing on the exterior of your office space allows clients to find your establishment and is 24/7 marketing to passers by.
- Interactive IT – An IT person hooked up our laptops to the office printer and scanner, and determined that we need more updated equipment to communicate with our iPads!
- Calendar Communication – We established an interoffice calendar (online, of course) and began testing by adding appointments.
- Working with Clients – The most exciting part was that we actually worked with our first clients, both over the phone and in person at their homes.
So our new business is off and running. There’s tons still to establish, learn and tweak, but that’s a never ending process in a living, functioning company. With so much happening in just the first week, we’re confident that 2014 is going to be an Amazing Year!
Have you ever started a company?