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If There’s A Double Dip, What’s Your “Plan B”?

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What If…

I know.  I understand, the depth, breadth and pain, depends on your local market place.  Wherever you are, It’s been a damn long slough.

Do you think we’re on the road to recovery?  I wish we were.  I hope we are.  I fear we are not, and I need a Plan B.

5 reasons “Plan B” goes into effect tomorrow.

  1. The unfelt effect of shadow inventory is coming.
  2. Then, there’s all those people who haven’t been making their mortgage payments.  Instead, they’ve been living rent free and spending their money on other things, which is temporarily boosting the economy.  I’m not making a judgement about that, I’m wondering what happens when the banks catch up and all these people have to start paying rent?  What effect will that have on the economy, consumer confidence, consumer spending, etc.
  3. While mortgage rates remain low, qualifying fire-hoops for people and properties to jump through remain hot and high.  I don’t see these turning favorable anytime soon do you?
  4. The Tax Credit pushed future qualified buyers into the present, now the pool of future qualified buyers is half empty.
  5. Sales Units/Volume are not rising in tandem with historical summer selling patterns.

The pie is smaller and it’s not growing this year.  Period.

What’s your Plan B.

My Plan B

I remind myself, the only things we can control are our actions and attitudes.  We can’t control the actions and attitudes of others. At our team meeting tomorrow, here’s what I’m sharing.

  • Evaluate our marketing/business expense.  Stop spending superstitiously.  If marketing and promotional campaigns aren’t generating verifiable referrals, prospects or suspects, stop it now.
  • Evaluate personal spending and consciously categorize everything:  I Want. ~vs~ I Need.  Nice To Have. ~vs~ Mission Critical.  Investment. ~vs~ Expense.
  • Keep our heads up, our minds open,our attitudes confident and our work-ethic strong-like-bull.  Remember, whining, fear, anxiety, anger and negativity repel opportunity.  In troubled times, leadership, confidence, humor and showing up, attracts opportunity.
  • Refocus on high leverage activities.  Shift time and effort from chasing strangers to in-person and on-purpose contact and conversation with people who already know and trust you.
  • To help stay focused, use this Checklist Daily.

Success, Grace and Speed

As you know, there are only so many things you can do to position yourself for success.  If the market continues to change and we don’t, bad things happen.  Anyway you slice it up, the sooner we get started, doing the right things, with the right people, the faster we’ll find success or simple survival.

Today we’re talking about it.  Tomorrow, we’ll start to do Plan B things in earnest.

How about you?  What’s Your “Plan B”

What do you think will happen in your local market?  Do you have a Plan B.  I’d love to hear what you’re thinking and especially, what you’l be doing different.

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Genuine Chris Johnson

    June 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Shiver me timbers! Some brilliance here!

    Work, repetition, effort. Whoda thunk it.

    • Ken Brand

      June 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks Chris, this is not time to think we’ve made it and or summer will save us. Only we can save ourselves. If we start today, we have a chance, if not, RIP.

      Cheers to sweat soaked, action oriented, achievers. AKA as 2011 survivors.

  2. Erica Ramus

    June 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Now you’re scaring me.

    • Ken Brand

      June 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      Yeah, I’m scaring myself. Reality check, if summer slips away and it sucks, it’s too late to adjust for winter. I can hear the Jungle Drums.

  3. BawldGuy

    June 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Ken, the more you write, the more I think we’re cousins. 🙂

    Plan B at my place began in the 1st quarter of last year, a six month plan just now about to have its rubber hit the asphalt. Fear? If one’s not at least jittery by now, they’re either blissfully ignorant or naive beyond help. Sorry if that sounds mean spirited, as it’s not my intention. Most of the RE online world writes now about the upward movement in prices. They’re what I call the SLCs — SilverLiningChasers. They refuse to believe their lyin’ eyes and ears. 🙂

    My firm’s Plan B demonstrates the built-in advantage I have over my house-agent peers. I’m returning to my local market in San Diego after over six years away so as to convince investment property owners to Get Outa Dodge while the gettin’ is still good. This will not only serve the firm’s revenue stream well, but put many local investors on much higher/safer ground when the tide goes against them here, as it surely will. Where’s the advantage? I can empirically demonstrate to investors they’re far better off moving their equity(s) to regions offering demonstrably superior performance — read: CASH FLOW. In other words, I can create business where none existed, AND bring real measurable value to the table while doing so.

    Also, The Boss, by the end of the year, may have the only retail operation around that’ll be debt free. I’ve shown her the real estate template which she’s now implementing as quickly as is safe. By next year’s 1st quarter she’ll be funding all operations via profits — what a concept. The income will grow more slowly, but the flexibility will skyrocket.

    There are other things I’m doing on the real estate brokerage side, but this ain’t the place. Those without Plan B’s ready to implement, or for that matter, already in execution, will surely be among the group who’ll soon be wondering, “What happened?!”

    • Ken Brand

      June 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      BG – I’ve been playing in pretty cool, but shoes keep droppen, and the noise down the hallway keeps getting louder, and schriller.

      Time to make a quick run to the John, lace’em up tight, and hit the field running. I’m not worried or scared, I’m concerned and on high-alert, with my head and my business plan on a swivel.

      It really is Go time my friend(s).

  4. Matt Stigliano

    June 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    @kenbrand – The usual kudos to you for a great article. That goes without saying (even thought I just said it). Love the plan, love the idea of preparing (if you’re wrong you’ll be even more prepared), and knowing your wordsmithery, I have to say this is one of your most easy to follow and understand posts ever. Having said that, don’t make it a habit, I relish in reading your more weighty mind-bending posts.

    What I love the most? The daily checklist. I’ve never seen one that actually accounts for activities outside of the human realm (ie the internet/social media). To me, this is a good concrete example of how all of those things (face to face and keyboard to keyboard) can be used to reach the goals. I know you wouldn’t waste paper on them otherwise. I do have one change to suggest: under Facebook you can create a “# of mobsters gunned down or vegetables raised _______________” – print this in red ink.

    Although I try to avoid too much negative thinking, as some may see this, I think this is just smart business. Plan for the worst and you’ll be prepared for everything else.

    • Ken Brand

      June 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Matt, you make me smile and laugh and think.

      One of my biggest flaws and thing I enjoy the most, is the odd ball way I explain things. I know it’s often hard to read and sometimes the dots don’ts all zen-up and connect, but you know how its i, you gotta say it like you feel it. Some of those weird ones took hours to write them weird like that. In this particular case, I wrote it fast because I wanted to get it out there now, as I was preparing to share the same at tomorrows team meeting.

      And you’re exactly right, like everything else in real estate, things are rarely, really about the thing there’re about, it’s about the impact on all the other things that orbit around the thing. It’s Gestalt stuff. Which is to say, it doesn’t matter if good or bad things happen, if you double your efforts and have a Plan B, you’re prepared and positioned to make things happen.

      Cheers Matt.

  5. Susie Blackmon

    June 22, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Being forever the optimist, I enjoy and appreciate every new day, even now! However, your ‘concerns’ are right on, IMHO, and I ‘hear’ there could be a food shortage in the near future to deal with, so it’s not all about the realtors and real estate… it could be about more important things, like survival. I’m working on Plan B already, recently making my escape out of Aaaargh, NC to horse country (Ocala) in Florida, where there is life and vitality; albeit, not in the RE industry at the moment. Scary times but exciting times. Maybe this bloodletting will, organically, RTB in real estate. In the meantime, just let me find an RV to survive in, which should be exciting in hurricane alley.

    Love your writing, Ken.

    • Ken Brand

      June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks Susie. I think I can deal with a choppy real estate market, a food shortage sounds like a recipe for chaos. Let’s hope not. In any event, keep the faith and what ever you do, tie the RV down tight. Cheers.

  6. Doug Francis

    June 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    It is an interesting market as I see so many agents stretched thin… with low numbers and slugging it out to stay in business. The reality is that your plan-B is going to be the new game plan for a while.

    Humor, personally, is how I get through things but this recession has given me little to laugh at. And I really have to work at remaining positive!

  7. Dunes

    June 22, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Just in case anyone feels it’s relevant..
    “Visits to websites in the real estate category during May were down 24.3 percent from a year ago — the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year traffic declines dating to June 2009, the report said.”

    inman.com/news/2010/06/22/social-networking-sites-gobble-more-traffic

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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