If you are thinking of opening a new brokerage, there may be a million things on your mind. The Agency’s Chief Strategic Officer, David Walker has five key points to focus on before taking on the challenge.

Starting a business, regardless of industry, takes hard work, determination, and a vision for what’s needed that doesn’t currently exist. I started the New York City-based brokerage firm Triplemint alongside my co-founder and COO Philip Lang in 2013.

Recently, we joined forces with a global boutique brokerage, The Agency, to take what we’ve built beyond the East Coast to the broader international marketplace. Over the past nine years, I’ve learned a lot about business, a lot about real estate, and a lot about people.

My decision to start Triplemint was an easy one. I grew up in real estate and have always loved the industry. After watching countless friends struggle when trying to buy, sell and rent homes, I recognized an opportunity to create a company that improved the experience for both clients and agents.

I dove in headfirst, and the rest, as they say, is history. While everyone’s startup journey is unique, there are five main considerations that anyone inspired to start a brokerage should focus on.

Is there a gap in the market for consumers?

If there is a need in your local market that is not being met by the existing brokerage landscape, it’s time to rethink the status quo. For example, perhaps you live in a market made up primarily of vacation homes, but no brokerage is dedicated to servicing that niche market.

Or maybe there is no luxury brokerage but several high-end properties and clients seeking a luxury brand and elevated level of service. Whether the gap stems from the client’s needs, the brand, or the service, identifying the specific need that is not being met is an excellent first step to building a successful brokerage.

Is there a gap in the brokerage landscape for agents?

In a real estate brokerage, there are two sides to every coin: agents and clients. Agents rely on their brokerages for services that elevate their skills, marketing and ability to cater to their clients.

Local agents may feel that the available brokerages lack the resources, culture or educational tools required to succeed.

If you can pinpoint that gap—whether it’s collaborative culture, bespoke marketing tools or technology training—then you can create a brokerage that caters directly to that need, thus elevating your brand and service offerings in the eyes of agents.

Do ever-evolving challenges inspires you?

Starting and growing a business is hard work. It is a common fallacy to believe that when reaching a particular business goal, it will get only easier.

Whether that goal is more offices, agents or revenue, the reality is that as a business grows, so do the challenges. Knowing this truth and embracing it is crucial to your success.

If such knowledge is inspiring to you, then perhaps starting a brokerage is the right decision; if it feels daunting, it may be time to rethink your goals and evaluate the path forward for your passion and unique niche.

Are you a natural leader who inspires those around you?

A brokerage is only as strong as its people. Being an entrepreneur means graciously leading your staff and agents to achieve their highest potential.

If you know you have a unique gift for inspiring those around you, the tenacity to forge your own path, and a drive to motivate people to achieve their goals, then starting your own company is most likely a good career fit.

Before embarking on your journey, take time to understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leader and choose business partners that balance the traits you lack.

Do you have a financial safety net?

When starting a new business, the odds of succeeding are stacked against you. In fact, Forbes has reported that 90 percent of startups will fail. Thus, a financial safety net is necessary to support you during challenging times.

Not only will there be months where you will forgo income on behalf of the company, but there is a chance you may make less money overall in the first couple of years.

If you were previously used to building your income, you must be comfortable that most of your time and finances will go toward growing the company.

It’s therefore imperative to have the financial infrastructure in place when you begin your entrepreneurship journey.

Despite the numerous challenges that arose through my journey in starting a brokerage, one thing remains clear: the feeling of creating something that makes a difference in people’s lives is unrivaled.

David Walker is Chief Strategic Officer and a founder at The Agency. Follow him on LinkedIn.
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