Start-up agency excels from structured approach to running a business
Richard Stupka is a licensed estate agent and auctioneer at One Agency Longbeach. After owning and running a successful business in the building industry for six years, Richard joined One Agency Real Estate Group in 2020 when he opened a franchise. His real estate agency employs five people in Edithvale, a suburb of Melbourne.
Richard started using StrategyX in 2021, shortly after he commenced professional coaching with Brett Quinn, CEO of StrategyX. He considers StrategyX critical to his long-term goal of growing and scaling his business. Richard sat down with us in January 2022 to speak about what it’s been like using StrategyX and how it’s helped his start-up business.
What are some of your current goals and challenges?
My biggest thing is being able to expand the business where I don’t need to be a key part of the selling side of it. I need to put systems and procedures in place so that we can train new staff and assist them to become productive more quickly.
As a rule in real estate, you have a couple of leading agents or selling directors and then it’s essentially a lot of personal assistants. Our vision is to create more independent agents.
You want to bring on more people that can basically do the whole sales cycle without you being involved all the time? Is that what I’m hearing?
Yes, so there’ll be systems and procedures in place that they won’t need to be referring to us and we don’t have to micromanage our team. Everything for us is all about scalability.
What kind of growth are you looking for, then? Have you put goals in place?
The biggest goal about working with Brett Quinn and StrategyX is being able to run a business efficiently. There are lot of things that we’re learning from him about financial forecasting, which is the kind of thing no one teaches you. The problem with real estate is that we’re all a bunch of sales agents that have gone out and bought an office or bought in, or started an office. And we make enough money, but it hides all the mistakes in being able to run a business at optimal efficiency.
Real estate agents are paid so well — you can make $100,000 for selling a few properties, which is excellent income but that doesn’t mean you’re a good business person or you’re making the most of your opportunities.
That’s why we started working with Brett. To learn about creating structures and setting the goals for success, then creating ways of tracking the growth of the business from month to month. That allows us to see if we’re on track and helps with being able to work better with the team.
Why is it important to forecast and set those goals?
I’ve always been able to work better with the team on tracking their KPIs, as opposed to setting weekly KPIs. It wasn’t a problem to check in with my team and find out how they’ve progressed in a week.
Forecasting is a different skill. It means being able to set KPIs, monitor the progress of the team, have them accurately monitoring their own progress and then adjusting their goals. It’s important to make them responsible for adjusting their own goals so it’s not me saying, “Okay, well let’s change this or that.” They’re able to recognize where they’re falling down and what they’d like to adjust it to, so they actually feel like they’re achieving.
Today’s meeting was a perfect example. We had set targets for two of the guys, and they came up short. It was obvious the target was too ambitious. They tracked what they’d done in a day, and they were able to assess and set reasonable targets for the following week – something that’s going to be achievable.
How is that different than the way you worked before using StrategyX?
It’s already made a difference in team morale. The team were bummed they missed this week’s goals – they’d only just missed the target – but now they’ve set realistic goals. We won’t go through the cycle of missing goals, being disappointed about it, and becoming disheartened over time.
Learning how to accurately forecast and track against the forecast has been a huge improvement. In the past we had a lack of planning. That was a fly by the seat of your pants activity to pick a figure and set a target, then chase it. We hadn’t gone through all our profit and loss and weren’t aware of how to make the best use of the information we had.
What motivated you then to look for a solution? What made you want to get more structure into your business when you could make a comfortable living from a couple of deals? Why change?
The biggest reason I’m using StrategyX is for my long-term goals. I don’t want to be making really good money off my own efforts. I’d rather be running and managing really large teams and big organizations. I don’t want to be doing all the selling. I want to have rental departments; I want to have sales departments; I want to have multiple offices. And I can’t do that if I’m the key salesperson. For me, it’s scalability. It’s got to go beyond what I can do myself. I need to learn how to be able to delegate correctly. And having those structures that we can swap people in and out of roles.
How did you hear about StrategyX?
A friend of mine knows my drive, and he introduced me to Brett. I started using StrategyX after Brett showed me a demo and I could see the benefit. It was just a right fit at the right time and it just went from there.
What features in the StrategyX demo most attracted you?
The biggest thing was scalability. It was this, being able to structure my business and the company. That was a huge thing for me because I’ve never had that sort of structure.
Was there any training that you had to take?
I went through all the training videos for StrategyX, which were really helpful. My team has been able to pick it up and start using really easily.
You have seen benefit as a business owner but how do your team feel about using StrategyX?
That’s a good question. I suppose it was met with a little bit of resistance at first with having to check and use it to track activities on a daily basis. But now, they’re definitely seeing the benefits of it.
No one wants to feel like they’re being micromanaged. But once they realized it was helping them hit their targets, they’re happier with it now.
It’s changed the conversation in our office from, “You’re getting reprimanded because you haven’t hit your target,” to “How do we manage our weeks?”
It’s improved the communication within the team because it’s taken away the guesswork, the speculation. It’s more accountability for everyone, including me.
What kind of results have you noticed in your business since you’ve started using StrategyX?
I’m still pretty new to running at this level of efficiency so, for me, it’s more learning about how best to structure a company. I’m getting better at structuring things myself and getting stuff done. It’s making me more efficient.
In what way is StrategyX making you more efficient?
In so many ways, even with little things, like how it’s geared to managing email. I now have a clear structure on how to manage my inbox, which is so much better than having a full inbox all the time.
Do you feel StrategyX is enhancing or will enhance your competitive advantage?
Yes. Being able to track activities. It takes away speculation about how your business is performing. I like having a straight-up structure.
When you started working with Brett and StrategyX, did you have a business strategy in place?
No, not really. That’s one reason I wanted to work with Brett initially. What I had beforehand was very crude. It was very much, have goals, set goals, try and achieve the goal. We did do business planning but there’s a lot to it and it wasn’t happening quickly.
With StrategyX, I can very much see the benefits of it and can see the continuous improvement.
Have you been able to eliminate any cost in your business because of Strategy X?
Yes, the ideas and problems section has been good. We haven’t done many, but it’s already helped by capturing ideas. Instead of someone on the team having an idea and then nothing happens, we’ve been able to follow it through and implement them.
Also, dealing with some of the recurring problems, I’ve been able to address them. The problem is logged in StrategyX, I address them, work out ways of dealing with it and then tick it off the list as done. It’s helped me be accountable to company goals.
Time management has been the biggest one. I used to set way too many things to try and get done, and I’d never get everything done. So with StrategyX my daily tasks are getting less and less but I’m actually achieving more.
Tell me a little bit about that. You said you used to set too many goals and you didn’t get things done. Now you’re setting fewer goals, but you’re actually achieving more. So why do you think that is?
It’s down to being more focused on the right priorities, being able to prioritize, and learning how to allocate time better. I finish the day now knowing I’ve accomplished what needs to get done.
In the past, I’d have a whole bunch of things I wanted to get done, but we weren’t really tracking it. But once we were setting tasks with StrategyX, we had clear direction on what’s the most critical instead of trying to do everything and not getting anything done, really.
Has using Strategy X set you up to generate more revenue?
It will. With what we’re putting in place – the systems, procedures, and everything that goes with it, that’s taking time to put together. It’s helping me set up the foundation for the business, for the long term.
If I hadn’t met with Brett, even where I’m at now, I’d probably still be doing the same things as I was then. And then another year or two, I’d still be doing the same things and not actually getting anywhere, not actually advancing the business. But with StrategyX, it’s setting us up to grow our business, grow our company, and advance.
Will you be able to grow your business faster with StrategyX? Is that what I’m hearing?
Yes. I definitely see StrategyX as a long-term thing because it has all the different areas of focus. You have sales; you have corporate; you have management. Being able to start off and build to a certain level of salespeople, for example. And then hiring a sales manager that reports to me once a team gets big enough. Putting a sales manager in my role instead of me managing them. Then I can focus on other things or growing the business in a different way. So, I think it’s, at this stage, I can see that we’ll be able to keep growing because of StrategyX.
What kind of additional results do you expect over time?
That’s been changing lately. StrategyX has opened my eyes to what running a business or a company — running one successfully — is all about.
It’s common for real estate businesses to stagnate. They get to a certain level and they don’t grow past it. They all make the same revenue year in, year out, give or take. It doesn’t keep growing – same amount of staff, same amount of income, year after year. There are big companies and franchises that keep growing, but they’re very well-structured.
StrategyX is a great system to be able to set that kind of growth up from the very beginning.
Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about, that you’d like to add?
Brett’s passion as a consultant working with entrepreneurs — he’s very invested in seeing others succeed. That’s huge. He doesn’t act in his best interest; he acts in the best interest of his clients. He’s stretched me and what I’m capable of achieving in the best possible way.
He’s a wealth of knowledge and it’s been great knowing he’s willing to share, and teach, and you can always reach out and get questions answered.
Is there anything else about Strategy X, about the tool itself, that we haven’t talked about that you’d like to add?
I’ve tried many other tools and thrown them in the bin because they’re awful and the user interface is horrid to work with. You need a degree to be able to operate them.
With Strategy X, it’s easy to use. It’s easy to add stuff; it’s easy to change. You’ve got access to training videos, if you need them. There’s a lot to it, but it’s simple to use.
HOW YOUR START-UP CAN EXPERIENCE SUCCESS LIKE RICHARD’S
If you would like to put a structure in place to set the foundation for long-term growth in your start-up business, schedule a demo of StrategyX. Our CEO, Brett Quinn, can show you why Richard Stupka believes StrategyX is going to be the key to achieving all his goals.