With the new year come new opportunities for growth. Most commercial loan brokerage firms go into the new year with the same plans they used in the previous year, but with proper planning, the successes of the previous year can be improved upon in the upcoming one.

Outline your goals for growth in 2018

The first step to planning is to clarify exactly what the goals are for the next year. The most effective plans are laser focused on what needs to be moved forward. Growth is the simplest goal but doesn’t provide the level of clarity needed for successful execution. Improving client relations, changing the types of deals being closed, and the success of each staff member or BDO are all possible outcomes of improved growth, but achieving them requires different types of techniques and skills. Picking and choosing how to grow a brokerage is the first step to creating a plan for growth.

Learn what is going to happen with your current financing vehicles.

What happens next year depends on the types of financing a broker specializes in. For example, a broker who specializes in commercial real estate loans might want to watch how their local market is growing, shrinking or stagnating. Changes in tax law, employment numbers, and the economy can have a direct impact on certain types of loans and may need to be dealt with in certain ways.

A proper growth plan can help to limit the negative impacts that economic influences can have, but it is only part of the solution. True growth, and successfully navigating the different challenges that can occur, require that a broker keep themselves informed and ready for whatever comes next.

Review what happened with your brokerage last year.

What industries a broker specializes in can have an impact on how their brokerage grows. A broker whose focus is in hospitality will want to look at how hotels have performed over the last year, checking to see how vacancy or rates are standing, while a broker who works with hospitals will want to look at how taxes and healthcare laws might affect potential clients and their patients.  Go back through your CRM and see how many leads you got from each source and how far they got in the funding process. See how previous clients have fared in their fields and how they accomplished their goals.  Look at hard numbers and focus on what converts, and what doesn’t. By understanding these different aspects, a broker can begin to weed through the complexities of their brokerage, find what needs to be fixed and allow for the proper changes to be implemented for a better year.

Turn this all into a clear, step by step plan

Once you understand what did and did not work in the past, you can begin to implement the changes needed to accomplish your goals. The first place to start is often implementing a marketing plan to bring in new clients. Understanding the industries, you work with, and the companies that you will be dealing with, will help in compiling that plan. Some industries react better to digital marketing, while others will responder more quickly to traditional marketing and one on one personal interactions. 

Your plan should also include what skills and tools you feel need updating to handle future challenges. If you are launching a new industry or loan types, do you need to reacclimatize yourself to these financing vehicles or the laws (or norms) of the industry?  By including the necessary training and skills acquisition in your plan, you prepare your brokerage to quickly launch into a successful new year.