I own 5 different Real Estate focused companies in Ohio. Since my brainpower is divided between 5 different brands, no single brand really shines. This is holding back my entire team as they have no unified vision, core mission, etc.
I need to combine them all in a cohesive way, though several of them must still exist. I have hired the SEO/SEM guys, the marketing guys, etc. I have those internally ready to implement any changes I decide upon, but I don't know how and what to strategize to ensure I make the right move.
What type of person or consultant should I be looking for to help with this identity crisis? Where do I find this person for a small company like mine?
I'd recommend talking to a business consultant or coach, preferably someone with experience in your industry. As someone outside your industry, I would recommend that you think more about how you can consolidate into fewer brands. Managing five brands means splitting your resources, time and money to the point where, as you yourself have said, no single brand is able to shine. My advice to you would be to decide which brand has the best opportunity to stand out and consider focusing your efforts on that one brand. If you want to talk further, feel free to contact me.
I have worked with several small organizations who are at very similar stages of growth. I would recommend working with a business consultant or strategist who can help you determine your overall go-forward business strategy. Assess where you have opportunities to invest, where to streamline, what the market looks like for each of your businesses, etc. With a full understanding of where you want to go and how you are operating today, you and this consultant can make some very meaningful decisions. Happy to discuss further if you would like to hear more examples or expand on the conversation. All the best!
I would recommend speaking with a branding specialist. I can recommend that you speak with Kerri Konik at Inspire Fire (https://inspirefire.com). You'll need to work out your brand focus before a business consultant (like myself) could help you with processes.
This is a very general question. With the information you’ve given, you should only expect general responses. To give a proper answer one would need to know much more, for example, the size of your business and the importance of each unit.
A few general principles:
Consider an experienced consultant outside of your business rather than hiring another employee. You will likely need very objective hard advice and it’s possible that the advice might include cutting one or two of those business units to help you achieve the kind of focus you need to succeed in a business.
Wishing you the best!
As someone who has been on both ends (consulting/coaching clients and having coaching/consulting myself), I can tell you a couple of things.
1) Don't be afraid to "shop around." I'm not even talking about the best financial deal. Try a few folks on Clarity for short calls (10-30 minutes). It doesn't matter if the consultant/coach is the best around - if your personalities don't mesh well, you'll have a hard time putting his or her suggestions into action.
2) Thus, don't sign long contracts until you've had at least one call with a person. I like Clarity because you have the option to use someone repeatedly, once in a while, etc. A GOOD consultant/coach will keep highly confidential records and will remember who you are even if it's been a while.
3) Don't necessarily judge a consultant/coach by price. Some of the most expensive ones anywhere are more hype than action, and some of the cheapest ones I've hired have given me thousands of dollars of value in a call or two.
By the way, I have years of experience editing and writing for print real estate magazines such as Realty411. My publisher/editor is a very successful entrepreneur with multiple streams of real estate income. I regularly interview similar people. Please reach out - even if you decide to hire another coach/consultant, I can probably help you get some print publicity since your industry is one I've been involved with for years.
Good luck and do feel free to reach out anytime.
Multi-unit businesses can be challenging, especially when careful consolidation is required. I recommend a business development advisor who understands the markets you are representing - Parma and Chagrin Falls differ drastically from Perrysburg and Akron. Together you can create a brand strategy that works best for your income, identity, team and sanity. I see this more as a growth strategy and I understand the frustration when you have hired the wrong type of support. I'd like to work with you for an hour to get to the core of what your business needs.
How do you know the lack of centralization is holding you back?
There's a company that owns seven restaurants in my town, but you'd never know it by looking at each restaurant. They all have their own branding, target market/ideal customer, menu and so on.
What I'd recommend first is an assessment of existing assets. You well know people at different stages of their life and circumstances buy and sell for different reasons (first time buyers vs empty nesters, professionals moving into the city for work, etc.). It may be better for each office to focus on one of these, rather than homogenizing them.
I do this kind of work but am not the $10/hr kind as the impact is strong.
You should look at creating one brand for your holding company, and build your companies identify (including your employer brand identify around this). It sounds like you need to keep several sub-brands running, and think about how they can come together in a coherent house of brands.
The fewer brands you have, the more resources you can put into each one, so the threshold for adding a brand should be high.
That is a great question with a lot of potential answers, however, as is rarely the case, just one right answer. You need the one, best Real Estate maven on planet earth. Someone that has been there, done that, and sold out for millions of dollars. Sadly, I am not that person, but I do know him. And happy to point you in the right direction. Give me a shout. A ten minute call should be sufficient.
P.S. He was one of the largest RE/MAX franchisee and franchisors in the 1990s and continues to consult with anyone in the space willing to listen.
This isn't a business problem, it is a strategic branding issue. Don't hire a business consultant. Don't hire a designer. Don't hire a marketing program "executor." Hire someone who strategic marketing experience. One issue to be aware of - It sounds like you've already put mental limitations on any rebranding efforts as "several of them (brands) must still exist." Decide now to let go of the notion or you aren't going anywhere.
This sounds like an exciting and strategic move to be considering. Congrats on building up 5 different companies in one industry. I can appreciate how multiple businesses can stretch resources and make the team potentially feel like they're being pulled in often competing directions.
As a business strategist, finding efficient, cost-effective synergies amongst companies to maximize growth is something I help clients achieve. So if you do a search here at Clarity or on Linkedin for someone like me who has "Growth Strategies Expert" or "Business Strategist" in their profile, you should come up with a good list of qualified people to call on. An initial consultation with a shortlist of these people will give you a good feel for who can deliver what you need. I'm happy to have a call with you and share my approach.
No easy answer to this.
Go through people's postings + find someone who consistently gives advice which seems a good fit for you.
Book a call with them + see how you get along.
Pick the person which seems the best fit for you.
Sounds like you are looking for a business coach or branding specialist. As I am sure you already see that what you really need is for someone to come in and explain all available options and how they stack up. In all honesty, no two businesses are alike, so what you will need to do is to look at past track record of the consultant.
My advice would be to find other similar business models and understand how they work, what may be their advantages and disadvantages. Don't be shy to reach out to other owners or executives through LinkedIn, you would be surprised how many of them will be willing to share their experience.
Also, rather than hiring an expensive consultant, maybe it's worth finding an adviser or mentor first and do some due diligence, so that when you do hire someone, you will know exactly what to ask.