JF1696: How Can You Work On Your Business Rather Than In It? With Terry Ogburn
Terry helps business owners quit being an employee in their businesses, and start getting to work as actual business owners. He also has experience in real estate investing, everything he shares with us today, relates to real estate investors. As real estate investors, we pretty much run small businesses, often times the owner is doing too much in their business to really work on their business. Terry has some tips to share with us today to start reversing that issue. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“We think in pictures, this is why vision boards are so important” – Terry Ogburn
Terry Ogburn Real Estate Background:
- Owner and Lead Business Coach of Ogburn’s Business Solutions – helps business owners work on their business, not in it
- Worked with Century 21 for 6 years, turning offices around
- Specializes in recruiting, training, and managing, took one office from #382 to #56 in closed volume within one year
- Based in Tampa, FL
- Say hi to him at https://www.terryogburn.com/
- Best Ever Book: Think And Grow Rich
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
With us today, Terry Ogburn. How are you doing, Terry?
Terry Ogburn: I’m doing great, Joe. Thanks for having me.
Joe Fairless: Well, I’m glad you’re doing great, and it’s my pleasure. A little bit about Terry – he is the owner and lead business coach of Ogburn’s Business Solutions, where he helps business owners work on their business, not in their business. He worked with Century 21 – we all know what Century 21 is – for six years, turning offices around, and specializes in recruiting, training and managing, and actually took one office from being ranked #382 in closed volume to #56 in closed volume within one year. That’s a big ol’ increase in closed volume, and also climbing the ladder in the rankings… Based in Tampa, Florida.
With that being said, Terry, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?
Terry Ogburn: Sure, I’d be glad to. My background started as most people getting into business. I was fired out of the car business, and I could work on air conditioners, so I became an air conditioning service company, based on the fact that I could work on air conditioning. And through that, that led to me understanding that we need to work on the business, not in it; that’s all I was really doing, is being a technician. So after a few years, a few mentors, I got a lot of good people under my belt giving me direction, and I learned how to work on my business. So I took that into the corporate world, did some turnaround stores for Radio Shack, I did some traveling in the travel industry, to help them introduce my plan to their world, and that worked… I took a company public…
Then in 2005, after the real estate adventure, I found myself wanting to help small businesses, so I started my company in 2005.
Joe Fairless: When you bring on a new client, what are the questions that you ask them initially?
Terry Ogburn: That’s a good intro there. I have an intake form. The first thing I wanna know is what would be the three outcomes that the prospective client would want from the call. That’s first. Then I need them to explain briefly to their business and how it works, and then I go through a series of questions, such as “Do you have a business plan? Do you have a strategic plan? Operations manual? Budget proforma? Job descriptions?” All of these are typically answered in no, but it’s reflecting back to the client that they need these things.
Then I get into some more questions, like “What is your biggest challenge you’re facing right now? What kind of improvements would you like to see? What’s the single best revenue generator you have?” And I have 15 total questions, but it all gives me a good background, so that I can lay out a strategy for them.
Joe Fairless: Got it. Okay, so you’re asking questions, you learn more about the business, both what they need to have but likely don’t have, as well as what they currently have, like the revenue generators, so you’re getting to know where they’re making most of their money… So once you get those questions answered, do you have a process that you typically go through in order to turn a business around?
Terry Ogburn: I do. It’s called an 8-step business development plan. This can be customized to any person, whether it’s an individual or a company. Then from that business development plan, we abstract an operations manual, which consists of 8 components. The business development plan is number one, and then you have an action plan, or what I call a strategic plan, number two; an organizational strategy, including your organizational chart and job descriptions. A checklist section, so any job function, any task that you do should have a checklist written for it. Then you need a budget proforma; most people don’t know what proformas are these days; they rely on QuickBooks. A proforma is forecasting the income you want, not just the income that you’ve got coming in, but you can build towards that, manifest that into place.
Then you have a policy and procedures manual section. This is your rules and regulations to your game. Then a direct marketing plan and a social media marketing plan. That rounds up eight sections. Once you put this manual together, you can actually take it and duplicate it. You could open a store in San Francisco, California, anywhere you want – you just take your operations manual with you and open up a new store.
Joe Fairless: Wow. You got it down to science. I got most of them… What were the first couple in the operations manual?
Terry Ogburn: It’s my unique business development plan, and then the strategic plan or action plan is the pathway that you’re gonna take. What I do there is I take all the job description line items, the tasks that need to be done, and those then are transformed into a strategic plan or an action plan, and we can actually grade that from 0 to 5 for each of the line items. Basically, if all your team is performing at their optimum, then you should be scoring anywhere from 3 to 5 on each one of your line items.
Joe Fairless: So that’s something that’s assessed after the plan is implemented?
Terry Ogburn: Right. Every quarter. My process is that you grade yourself every quarter. And not verbally or with emotions, you grade it with specific numbers. If you’re supposed to have 20 sales this month and you come up with 15, then you are 75% of goal. I use the SMART method, and I’m sure you’ve heard of it – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Every task must be orchestrated in that way.
Joe Fairless: For a real estate entrepreneur and business owner – I’ll just speak for myself, and then perhaps other might be thinking this – this sounds phenomenal. The challenge I’d have is it seems like a bunch of work that on me, to put this together, like the org chart… Well, the org chart is not that bad, but policies and procedures, and direct marketing plans, social media – I definitely need all this… So do you put this together for them, and if not, how much work is involved on your client’s part to assist you in this?
Terry Ogburn: Good question. We can actually get this done in a one-hour one-on-one meeting for 13 weeks. The manual will be put together in a 13-week period. Now, you as the individual, you’ll probably have 2-4 hours a week that you’re working on this manual concept, but there’ll be other tasks that you have to do, like prospecting, and things like that.
The one thing about the real estate business is prospecting, and that’s a tough thing to do. Most realtors want buyers. The reason we did so good in those rankings, as you’ve described, was we focused on listings, and that’s troubling for a lot of realtors, because that means they have to actually get out there in the street, knock on doors, and do that.
Now, I have a great system, that I even implemented in a general contracting business in Chicago. We did the same thing, we just created a farm; most realtors know a farm. So I created a farm for them…
Joe Fairless: I don’t know what a farm is. What’s a farm?
Terry Ogburn: A farm would be where you take a neighborhood – what I did in real estate is we took condo buildings and we divided the up until everybody had about 200 properties, and their job was to talk to these people once a month. Through that, we could convert them into listings.
So a farm would be like if you were assigned a particular neighborhood, then it would be your job to become known as the representative for that area, and you knew everything about that area… And knowledge is power.
Joe Fairless: Okay. So you take your clients through the 13-week plan… I imagine it’s a 13-week process, it sounds like…?
Terry Ogburn: Correct. It’s a thing that we do, a regimen; a one-hour call every week. You leave with homework, and then you have stuff to do; we check the homework the next week, and then we keep moving forward. Now, once you get the meat and potatoes, so to speak, so the manual put together, it takes about 18 to 24 months to implement it… So it’s not just create the manual, you’ve gotta actually implement the actions that are in there, too.
Joe Fairless: Oh, you can’t just write it down, you’ve actually gotta do it, too?
Terry Ogburn: Yeah, that’s the bad part…
Joe Fairless: Ugh… So there’s a catch.
Terry Ogburn: Yeah, there is.
Joe Fairless: What, if anything, is different about the process when you work with real estate companies? It might be a brokerage, like you described, or it could be a company that’s doing wholesaling and it’s scaling, or an apartment syndication company.
Terry Ogburn: The plan works regardless of what venture you’re in… Like my guy in Chicago – he buys rental properties, and we put the same thing and plan in his place, where he buys multi-unit facilities, and then we use the plan to grow with.
It’s as simple as franchising. How I came up with this concept, Joe, if you don’t mind me sharing…
Joe Fairless: Sure, please.
Terry Ogburn: In the beginning of the ’90s I moved to Miami to help create a franchise from scratch… And in franchising, once I give you an offering circular, I can’t ask for any money for 14 days. So I had to create a process that would keep them busy for that length of time. [unintelligible [00:11:21].17] And understanding franchise law, the Federal Trade Commission says that you have to prove your business on paper before they will ever let you sell it as a business opportunity. What that means is that they don’t want you to have any more than a 2% failure rate. So if you patent yourself after the Federal Trade Commission, any business just follows that same process, your business has to be successful.
Joe Fairless: Okay. That makes sense.
Terry Ogburn: So why go and try to reinvent the wheel? Why don’t we just follow what the Federal Trade Commission says you have to do? Well, you have to have training manuals, you have to have checklists, you have to have all the i’s dotted, all the t’s crossed; you have to make sure that this business, before you sell it – you can’t make any earnings claims, but you certainly don’t want anybody losing, because if you lose, then you have to report that loss, and then that becomes a deterrent from anybody buying your franchise.
Joe Fairless: With each of those eight steps, which one takes the longest amount of time for the individual? I understand that there’s a one-hour call each week, so it sounds like they’re all created equally during the call, but there’s gotta be some that take more time after the call than others.
Terry Ogburn: The job descriptions, coming up with the task… I can give your listeners the way I do that. Let’s say you want a position for a receptionist. So you would go out and you would google “job description for a real estate receptionist.” And it’s gonna list your jobs, your rules and responsibilities and your duties. You capture all that, then you take it back to a Word document and then you tailor those lines to meet your specific needs. You personalize it, so to speak.
You do that for your sales rep, you can do that for your accountant, your bookkeeper… All these job descriptions are out there. All you have to do is pull them, and then you have to make them into your own personal stuff. You have to identify your stuff. That takes a good bit of time, because there’s a lot of research in that.
The other thing that takes time is writing a checklist for each line item. That’s important to a business owner, because if I need you to come in and all I need you to do is get the mail out today, then there’s a checklist that you could follow to be able to get that to happen.
Joe Fairless: I imagine that checklist for the job functions can be quite extensive…
Terry Ogburn: It can be, because I get you to write them and broken up into sections. The first section is the objective, so what is the objective of the task. So you state your objective. Then why is that important to the company; you list the why. Then you want to understand what tools it’s gonna take for you to accomplish this objective, how much time should you allocate for this objective, and then you put in a step-by-step – “This is the first step you do, this is the second… Open the computer, launch QuickBooks program,” and then you just follow each step. Then at the end you should be able to complete the task that was originally stated.
Joe Fairless: What’s something in that process that your clients have the most challenging time putting together? We just talked about what tends to take the most time, but that might not necessarily be the most challenging to think through… So what’s the most challenging to think through and come up with?
Terry Ogburn: That would get into your marketing now. Your direct marketing and your social media marketing – those are two distinctive animals, or processes, so to speak. Direct marketing is not mass marketing, it’s about singling out, as I call it, your dear – what is your ideal client, where do they hang out, and then go directly to them; go directly to where they hang out. That can be tedious, because again, bringing in to my guy in Chicago, we singled out these little strip centers where they need the interiors built out. Well, if you can imagine, there’s a big sign at the end of the driveway that says “We will build to suit, 30,000 square feet.” I’m sure, Joe, you’ve seen those types of things out on the highway, right?
Joe Fairless: Sure.
Terry Ogburn: Well, that is nothing more in the real estate business than a for-sale-by-owner sign. It needs a tenant, and it needs somebody to build the thing. So you’re gonna provide the build-out service… So you go and build rapport, and knock on their door, you get to know them, and that type. That’s your direct marketing plan. Something that puts you to earn the business, not buy it.
And then social media is a whole different marketing concept, as well. That is more mass advertising, putting out to the mass market. Some people buy ads, and do that stuff; some just grow their business organically. Either way can be done, but you need a sophisticated plan and know how to execute it. If you’re gonna send out an e-mail and newsletter every month, send it out on the same day, each date, same time, so people are gonna be like “The fourth Thursday of every month, at ten o’clock, expect Joe’s e-mail.”
Joe Fairless: Based on your experience working with business professionals, as well as real estate professionals, what is your best advice ever for professionals who are wanting to take their company to another level?
Terry Ogburn: I’ll give your listeners a formula that I use. It’s a four-step formula. If you don’t mind. Is this gonna be okay?
Joe Fairless: Yeah, please.
Terry Ogburn: The first thing – you’ve gotta be committed, and commitment means burning the boats. That means you’re in it to win it; you’re not fooling around, you’re committed. If you wanna be the best real estate company in the area, then you’re committed to being that.
Number two, we must put disciplines in our life that leads to that commitment. That means if you’ve gotta get up an extra hour earlier to get your knowledge base under you, or whatever disciplines – whatever it is, you have to put disciplines in place to make sure that your commitment gets completed.
Number three would be decisions. Your decisions should be taking you towards your commitment. I give any person that I work with permission to procrastinate on anything that doesn’t take them towards their goal. If this decision isn’t moving towards their end goal, then question yourself why you’re doing it.
Then number four is vision. We must visualize that we’re already in this success, we have to visualize that we’re already in possession of whatever it is that we’re trying to acquire. We think in pictures, so this is why vision boards are so important, and visualizing your outcome… I will even ask a salesperson to get to the meeting 15 minutes early, visualize exactly how this meeting is gonna go.
I have some little things that I do different for real estate. One of the things would be if I’m gonna presenting an offer to a client, I would make a copy of that offer for every person that’s gonna be at the meeting. I want my salespeople to go there and present their offer; I don’t like the other agent presenting my offer. I wanna present it there. I have a chance to build rapport… Not that I’m gonna have to say anything to the owner, I just wanna be there and explain my customer and why they want their house.
I have a different approach for sale by owners. Everybody knows that a for sale by owner is nothing more than a listing that’s just waiting. Most of the time — the statistic says that the house will become a listing.
For a realtor, my approach to that is quit trying to get their listing, and try to help them sell their house. So I would call you up, Joe, and I would say “Hey, Joe, is that house that you have for sale on 2nd Avenue – is that still for sale?” And you would say yes, and I would say “Listen, I don’t have a buyer right now, but if I could find someone that could pay you your price for your home and pay me my commission, could you and I do business?”
Joe Fairless: Yes.
Terry Ogburn: Of course you’re gonna say yes, right?
Joe Fairless: [laughs]
Terry Ogburn: Okay. So then I make a call every week, keeping in touch with them, and I have little scripts to go with that… And finally, I call and I say “Listen, I wanna preview your house. Would it be okay for me to meet at the house and go through it?”Then I have a little checklist that we go through, and all the time I’m building rapport.
Then I send a little thank-you note that says “Thank you for your time.” Then a couple weeks later, after the calls I make, I may call the next time and ask if I could hold the house open. Now, if I hold your house open for you and I [unintelligible [00:19:53].21] the area by calling the neighbors in the neighborhood and get them to come over to the house, and we create this buyer’s list of 8-10 people, who gets that buyers list?
Joe Fairless: Well, I think you do.
Terry Ogburn: I do, not the homeowner.
Joe Fairless: Right.
Terry Ogburn: So I’ve used that for sale by owner’s house to get me my leads for my buyers, for me, and at the same time I might sell his house… And after doing all this work, I might call up and say “Listen, I know you’ve been trying, Joe, to sell this house for the last 6-8 weeks. Would you consider me listing the house for you and seeing what I can do?” Well, I just gave you all this free work for nothing, and now your wife is gonna say “Man, if this guy does that for free, what will he do if we pay him?”
Joe Fairless: Right.
Terry Ogburn: Because to me, when you walk up to a for sale by owner and you ask them for their listing, you’re just really walking up to him and asking them for their wallet. Now, if I walked up to you on the street and I said “Hey Joe, listen, how about giving me your wallet?” You’re now gonna start fighting right away; verbally, I mean, not physically… You’re gonna be against that idea right now.
Joe Fairless: Yup.
Terry Ogburn: Now, in all reality, there’s no real estate person that’s ever argued with me about that – who pays the commission for the house anyway?
Joe Fairless: The buyer.
Terry Ogburn: Of course. The buyer always pays the commission. What I want my realtors focused on is what do they want at the closing table? Forget the asking price, forget all that stuff, forget the middle; what do you wanna walk away with at the end of the day? That’s the figure we wanna focus on.
Joe Fairless: Yeah. That’s great. It’s a very smart approach. Thank you for sharing that. That will be helpful for a lot of Best Ever listeners who are real estate agents… And not even real estate agents; I don’t wanna downplay it. It’s the approach of adding the value and giving–
Terry Ogburn: Sorry to interrupt, but I have a rule – you’re not supposed to offer price until you’ve established the value that’s ten times the price.
Joe Fairless: I like that.
Terry Ogburn: Now, once I’ve got that value built into it, then I can paint a dream with it. I’ll just give one little quick story with a real estate agent. We had a proved buyer on a $500,000 home. She had a home picked out on the beach, and she had a home picked out in the mainland… And the customer wouldn’t make up their mind, so I told my agent, I said “Which house do you wanna sell them?” He said, “I want them to buy the house on the beach.” I said, “Well, then invite them over to the house at sunset.” She said, “Terry, they’ve already seen the house.” I said, “[unintelligible [00:22:25].15] the house. Invite them to the house at sunset. Sell the sunset.” But you know which house they bought…
Joe Fairless: Right.
Terry Ogburn: Because it wasn’t the house at all; the driving factor was that emotional attachment to the sunset. So sell the value, not the bricks and sticks.
Joe Fairless: Alright. We’re gonna do a lightning round. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Terry Ogburn: I’m on it.
Joe Fairless: Alright, I know you are. First, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.
Joe Fairless: Okay, what’s the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Terry Ogburn: The book that I would read more than not is Think and Grow Rich. I’ve read it 12-15 times.
Joe Fairless: What’s a business transaction that you made a mistake on, and it’s something that you learned from?
Terry Ogburn: Selling a house twice.
Joe Fairless: How does that work? What do you mean by that?
Terry Ogburn: Well, one of the companies that I worked for, the realtor, the owner of the company, she actually got two contracts on the same house. You can’t do that, it’s illegal, right?
Joe Fairless: [laughs]
Terry Ogburn: But she had two executed contracts on the property. When she brought it to me, I said, “We can’t do this.” Luckily for me, I’m good with contract law, so I was able to get us out of that mess by just understanding how contracts work. When somebody leaves a blank in the contract — I don’t like blanks. So you need to put a date in there. So there’s always ways into a contract, there’s always ways out of them. So knowing your contract is how we got out of that, before it got brought up on ethics violations.
Joe Fairless: Best ever way you like to give back to the community?
Terry Ogburn: I’m a Shriner. I don’t know if you know who we are… We have 22 hospitals, and we focus on children that have burns, [unintelligible [00:25:09].05] needing orthopedic surgeries… We’re the guys in the little red hats in parades, and you see us around… We raise about two million dollars a day.
Joe Fairless: And how can the Best Ever listeners reach you?
Terry Ogburn: My website, terryogburn.com, or ogburnsbusinesssolutions.com. I have an offer for your guests, too. Anybody that would like to spend an hour with me, coaching over a particular challenge or opportunity that you see in front of you and I can help, I’ll be glad to schedule some one-on-one time with you and help you over the challenge.
Joe Fairless: Cool. And how do they go about doing that? Just go to your website?
Terry Ogburn: Yeah, go to either one of my websites; there’s a Contact Us button, just click on that. It’ll have you fill in your name and your contact information. Put in a comment if you wanna schedule coaching time with me, and we’ll make it happen.
Joe Fairless: Well, thank you for sharing the 8 components of the operations manual, as well as the thought process behind why those components are there, and then the 4-step formula that you talked about: be committed, have discipline in place, get the decisions, and then visualize your success. And then I love your mantra of “You’re not supposed to offer price until you’ve established value that’s 10 times the price.” It’s powerful.
Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Terry Ogburn: Thank you, Joe, for having me, and best of luck to you as well.