It's not easy to rise to the top of the mortgage aggregation market by getting a large slice of the mortgage broking market to believe in you.
But as as mortgage aggregator Connective's Glenn Lees explains to insurance brokers, that sustainable business growth has all been about constantly reviewing your plans and accepting advice
According to Lees, the GFC turned out to be a fantastic opportunity for Connective, as many mortgage brokers looked at their business expenses during the GFC and decided to make the switch to his operation. However, the company wouldn’t have been able to sustain its growth through this period if it hadn’t invested in running a “lean, efficient, systemised organisation”.
“Investing in those processes and procedures and technology systems to allow us to deliver the service at that price also gave us scalability,” he says. “So when the GFC came along we could just keep piling brokers on to our system without too much stress”.
And he believes that brokers - including those in insurance - can employ a lean, efficient, systemised approach to ensure their business can grow sustainably. Question your actions and processes, he suggests, because “there are many things you can do in business, but only a few things you should do”.
“It’s understanding what they are, understanding your return on investment from what you’re proposing to do, and having the discipline to stick to it,” he adds, noting that Connective operate under the mantra of ‘plan, act, review, repeat’ to make sure their business strategy is constantly under review.
When it comes to setting sustainable goals, he suggests asking some tough questions: Are you being realistic? Have you got the resources? Have you got the expertise? What are the opportunities in front of you? Which ones should you follow and, importantly, which ones shouldn’t you follow?
Accepting advice, too, is crucial.
“You have to be careful to be not too fond of your own ideas. Many mistakes are made by people who think they’ve got a great idea, so we always do and always have sought feedback from others who know more than we do,” he says.
Your advice network could include solicitors, accountants or experienced colleagues who can help you to review your plans, check your progress and constantly check your assumptions.
Brokers in the mortgage market also have access to vital data through their aggregator (or cluster group) software that can inform their business plans, he adds, suggesting that monthly reviews can keep your eyes open to the risks ahead.
“How did we go last month? How many new customers did we see? How many applications did we submit? How many did we settle?” he says.
“I saw a great quote from Donald Trump once, where one of the questions he always asks is ‘what am I pretending not to see here?’. I think that’s a great illustration of the risk you take where you just pretend not to see something, because it’s going to make you uncomfortable. You’ve just got to be harsh with yourself.”