In today’s Kickstart Monday article, RateMyAgent CEO Mark Armstrong shares his advice on resilience as a leader and the importance of scalability in a business model.
Mark Armstrong is a property entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in the real estate industry. Prior to founding RateMyAgent, Mark built a reputation in the property industry giving clients advice that was in their best interest, not his own.
Realising early the lack of scalability in his initial business models, Mark co-founded RateMyAgent in 2014 and by 2018 it was ASX listed – no small feat in the oversaturated world of tech startups.
We chatted to Mark on resilience, leadership and how he drove RateMyAgent to become an ASX-listed company in just four years.
Stay resilient and focused
The ability to remain resilient when starting a new business will be one of the key differentiators between those who succeed and those who fall short. The foundation of my success with RateMyAgent falls largely on patience, failings, learnings and hardships. It’s important that through all these trials and tribulations you keep going to continue to grow!
The reality of starting a business is that you will be time-poor, working both a full-time job and running a small business. What that might look like is working an additional five hours a day on top of your nine-to-five. What that also looks like is sacrifice and intense focus. If you can retain that sharp focus through the first year, you will reap the benefits in years to come. It does get better, but that first year is crucial.
Nurture your culture and your people
Invest in your people! When I think of how I want to lead my team I think about the kind of person I’d be happy to work for – what would their traits be, and how can I embody them? Your people will only perform as well as you treat them – so be respectful, encouraging and inspiring as a leader and know how to have a sense of humour at certain times.
Business is results-driven, of course – but ultimately what is the point if you aren’t enjoying yourself. As clichéd as that sounds, starting a business is about the journey, not the destination.
Yes, the bottom line is important (and vital!), but if you don’t enjoy your work and the people you work with your passion and productivity will inevitably dwindle. Poor corporate culture is far more damaging to your business in the long run.
Jump at opportunities to innovate and keep your business scalable
Scalability is one of the single most important facets of any business plan. If your model isn’t scalable, where is the room to grow?
Tech moves fast and the ability to keep up is vital. When you’re building your new business, think about where you want it to be in 10 years’ time and what it takes to get there. Invest in a solid foundation of CRM tools and technologies early on that have the fluidity to grow with your business. Every system you have in place now must be able to handle sales and team growth.
To put it bluntly, starting a new business is hard. Maintaining that business and steering it through growth will be even harder.
But, with the right team around you, a solid foundation of processes and a business model designed for expansion, the benefits you reap in the long run far outweigh the hardships. It’s all about the journey.
“Stay resilient and focused, nurture your culture and your people, jump at opportunities to innovate and have a sense of humour in uncertain times.”