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Calm Before the Storm: Are You Ready? Your 12-Month Growth Plan Starts Now!

Last year, we saw significant increases in cash rates to address inflation, but experts predict that soon, this will no longer be the case.

Here are some predictions from the big four banks according to Canstar:

  • ANZ forecasts a drop to around 3.35% by mid-2025.
  • CommBank sees a potential decrease to about 2.85%.
  • NAB expects a peak at 4.60% in early 2024, then a fall to 3.10% by early 2026.
  • Westpac anticipates a decline to around 2.85% by the end of 2Q25.

As we approach a period that many are calling the ‘calm before the storm’, it’s time to ask yourself: are you truly prepared for what’s coming?

The next surge in business activities could be just around the corner, and your readiness now will define your success later. This is where the power of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and effective time management comes into play!

How Can SOPs Streamline Your Broking Operations?

Efficiency and consistency are the bedrock of a successful brokerage, and SOPs are your blueprint for achieving this.

They ensure that every aspect of your operations runs like a well-oiled machine, from client onboarding to loan processing. For example, an SOP for client onboarding could include standardised forms and checklists, ensuring that no critical information is missed. Similarly, a loan processing SOP could outline each step of the process, reducing errors and speeding up turnaround times.

Time Audit: The First Step in Your Growth Plan

As we navigate the ‘calm before the storm’ in the broker market, understanding where your time is spent and doing a time audit is a must. A time audit helps you identify those sneaky time sinks – tasks that seem urgent but don’t necessarily align with your long-term goals.

Now, how do you conduct an effective time audit? It’s simpler than you might think:

  1. Log your daily activities: For a week or two, keep a detailed record of your daily tasks. Include everything from client meetings to administrative work.
  2. Categorise your tasks: Once you have your log, categorise each task. Are they client-facing, administrative, or strategic planning?
  3. Evaluate your time spent: Look at how much time you’re dedicating to each category. This will help you identify areas where you might be spending too much or too little time and realign your focus based on what you need the most.

If you’re struggling to determine which tasks are truly benefiting your business and which are just eating up your time, the Cost Calculator is your go-to solution. This innovative tool will help you gain a clear view of where your time could be better spent, guiding you to focus on activities that genuinely contribute to your brokerage’s growth.

CTA: Try the Cost Calculator Now

Setting Your Quarterly Goals

Getting started on your growth journey requires more than just a destination; it needs a roadmap. That’s where setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) comes in, to act as your checkpoints and ensure your brokerage is moving towards your ultimate vision in a structured and effective manner.

How to Create Your Quarterly Goals?

  1. Specificity
    Start by defining what exactly you want to achieve. For example, instead of a vague goal like ‘increase business’, aim for ‘grow client base by 20%’.
  2. Measurability
    Ensure each goal has a clear metric. This could be a percentage increase in referrals, or maybe a specific number of new clients to help you track your progress and assess your effectiveness.
  3. Achievability
    Set realistic and attainable goals. If your brokerage is relatively new, a goal like ‘double the business in three months’ might be overly ambitious. Instead, aim to ‘increase revenue by 15% in the next quarter’, which is challenging but still feasible.
  4. Relevance
    Ensure each goal aligns with your overall business strategy. If your focus is on expanding into new markets, set goals like ‘establish connections with 10 real estate agents in the new region by the end of Q3’ or ‘launch marketing campaigns targeting first-time homebuyers in the new area by Q4’.
  5. Time-Bound
    Assign deadlines to maintain momentum. You can set a goal to ‘implement a new CRM system by the end of Q1’ or ‘complete professional development courses in mortgage advising by mid-year’. Deadlines help you prioritise tasks and maintain a steady pace towards achieving your goals.

Now, how do you ensure that you’re keeping track of all your goals and are truly working towards implementing them? You can:

  • Conduct regular check-ins If your goal is to increase client referrals by 20%, check how many new referrals you’ve received and compare it against your target. Use these sessions to discuss what’s working and what isn’t, and to brainstorm solutions for any challenges encountered.
  • Stay Flexible
    Stay adaptable and ready to modify your goals as needed, but ensure they are still aligned with your long-term goals.

    For instance, if a new regulation affects your loan processing time, adjust your targets accordingly. Or, if a marketing strategy isn’t yielding the expected results, be open to exploring new tactics.
  • Celebrate Milestones
    Recognise and celebrate your achievements! If your team successfully implements a new CRM system ahead of schedule, take the time to acknowledge this accomplishment. It can be as simple as a team lunch or a public acknowledgment in a team meeting.

    This not only boosts your and your team’s morale but also reinforces a positive and achievement-oriented culture within your brokerage.

Remember, the key to achieving long-term success is staying focused on these short-term objectives, adapting as needed, and always keeping your eyes on the prize.

Implementing Your 12-Month Growth Plan

With your SOPs in place, a completed time audit, and quarterly goals set, it’s time to execute your 12-month growth plan. Here’s a sample plan to guide you through the year:

Month 1-3 (Q1): Building a Strong Client Base

  • January: Focus on networking and outreach. Attend local community events, join broker forums, and actively engage on social media to connect with potential clients.
  • February: Refine your client onboarding process. Implement feedback mechanisms and ensure your SOPs for client onboarding are efficient and client-friendly.
  • March: Review and adjust your strategies based on outcomes. Analyse the effectiveness of your networking and onboarding processes, and make adjustments as necessary.

Month 4-6 (Q2): Improving Your Digital Presence

  • April: Develop a content strategy for your digital platforms. Start a blog, increase your social media activity, and consider email marketing to engage with your audience.
  • May: Implement SEO strategies to improve your online visibility. Focus on local SEO to target clients in your area.
  • June: Evaluate your digital presence. Use analytic tools such as Google Analytics or Mailchimp’s analytics to understand what’s working and what needs improvement.

Month 7-9 (Q3): Streamline Your Processes

  • July: Conduct an internal audit of your processes. Identify areas for improvement in efficiency and client service.
  • August: Implement AI in your processes. Consider CRM upgrades and OCR tools like Nanobots to help you scan documents, AI to help record your SOPs, or other tech tools to streamline operations.
  • September: Train your team (or yourself) on new systems and processes. Ensure everyone is comfortable and proficient with the new tools.

Month 10-12 (Q4): Expanding Your Referral Network

  • October: Identify your potential referral partners. Reach out to real estate agents, accountants, and other professionals aligned with your brokerage’s visions.
  • November: Develop and implement a referral program. Offer incentives for referrals and create materials to make it easy for partners to refer clients to you.
  • December: Review the year and plan for the next. Reflect on your successes and areas for improvement. Start setting goals for the next year.

Note that this is just a sample plan to help you kickstart your growth plan, and feel free to tailor it to fit your specific needs and market conditions.

The journey ahead may be filled with uncertainties, but with a well-crafted growth plan, you can prepare for the coming market surge and set the stage for sustainable success. The storm may just be on the horizon, but you have the tools and insights to not just survive but thrive in it!

Don’t let the calm before the storm catch you off guard. Reach out for a strategy call and let’s work together to turn your goals into reality.

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Chris Brown is a Director and Senior Mortgage Broker at New Vision Financial Services. He runs a Sydney based mortgage brokerage that’s servicing clients since 2015.

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Sam Panetta is a co-founder and the head of the lending department at Aureus Financial. His business helps clients get the funding that they need to grow their business, acquire their dream home and build wealth through property.

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