Every broker eventually is at the crossroads thinking: "What do I do next? When should I, a small- to medium-sized broker just keep the status quo, expand, downsize or maybe sell the shop?" Granted that all cases are different, and so there is no easy solution. But as the old saying goes: Ask a hundred people for advice and then make your own decision!
When considering an expansion or retreat, brokers need check whether their profit covers expenses and create a reserve or emergency fund. They must consider how the actual company size affects its ability to absorb market demand, and if its hiring capacity matches the need for administrative support and loan processing, or production goals. Even staff motivation combined with executives' ability to deal with the temptation to sacrifice long-term benefits for short-term gratification needs to be examined. In some cases, keeping the business a fun place can be the key in making such an important decision.
"There are so many goals you want to fulfill when you start the business, but along the way maturity and then reality sets in," says president of Kellum Mortgage, Southfield, Mich., Anthony Kellum. "As a business owner you know in your gut when to expand, when to move on and when to sale."
At the Crossroads
Mr. Kellum is one of many brokers who is wondering what's next? He started his company as a one-man business out of his home office nearly 10 years ago. Since, surviving market fluctuations, "slowly and cautiously" the business has grown from 1 to the present 17 employees who operate out of two locations.
In 1998 Mr. Kellum had to make his biggest strategic decision when he doubled his staff from seven to 14 employees.
"I'm glad I did it then …