2009 is Over are you Still in the Business?
Jan 25, 2010
2009 is my 25th year as a
commercial real estate broker and it certainly was one of my toughest years. The
worst year in my career closings was 1990. The worst year in my working
life was 1976 and it was actually my most rewarding year of knowledge that I
learned from surviving it.
Cycles in business happen. We all
know it but we never prepare for it and never take the necessary steps to
succeed in one, rather we enter a positive cycle or a negative one. Most of us
don't see a cycle coming or there are those that see a cycle change coming, but
we rarely allow ourselves to actually make the necessary changes to our business
to deal with them.
If you started 2009 as a
commercial real estate broker and ended 2009 as one, Congratulations, you have
"potentially" survived a real bummer of a year. I say potentially because
2010 is not expected to be a whole lot better. Business activity is improving
but actual deal flow is still down for virtually all businesses. The jobs
report continues to be a real concern and without true job growth the economy
will not expand greatly any time soon.
A experienced broker friend of
mine recently reflected that the difference between (1991) the last major full
economic downturn and this severe recession (2009) is that back in 1991 he was
young and could live on pretzels and beer, now with a family and large financial
obligations he has entered 2010 with much more concern and conviction to
succeed. He also indicated that it would the veterans that will ultimately
survive while the younger inexperienced salespeople will leave the
business. Once business comes back, the veterans will be full of business
opportunities and businesses will start hiring younger salespeople to take the
load of smaller deals while the veterans work on larger deals.
I disagree in some cases with
that thought. Veterans that are used to success in most cases do understand what
it takes to succeed but how many of them are ready to go back into the trenches
- because that is what its going to take. Sales are going to be tied to smaller
deals. Is a veteran prepared to do a 1,500 square foot deal and properly service
The inexperienced younger agent
may in fact be the survivor in this market. I started at the beginning of a down
market in 1984 and did not know what a great market was. I just worked my
business and succeeded. My early years in a down market would be considered
solid years, even in a good market. So market conditions does not necessarily
always equates to results.
As we enter 2010 creating a
business plan for yourself and staying with your plan is more critical than
ever. Do this before the year begins and really spend time developing that plan.
It could be the difference between you ending in this business or not when 2010
comes to a close.
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Written by: Hans Hansson
Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 25 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website, http://www.commercialspacefinder.com/.