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"Your Exit strategy -- Pot of Gold or Lump of Coal!"

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Alice Held Photo
4/2/04 Interview with Alice Held

RE/MAX Excalibur
P.O. Box 6244
Scottsdale, AZ 85261

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Defining "Exit Strategy"

  1. Exit strategy involves a verifiable record of your real estate business that is woven into your business plan; e.g., a 3­5 year tracking of your client base, sales and costs.
  2. Having an exit strategy maximizes the value of your business when you decide to retire or move on to something else.
  3. Too few real estate professionals have a business plan, much less an exit strategy; an informal survey of Online Convention attendees in 2003 showed about 25% had a business plan and only 10% had an exit strategy.
Setting Up an Ideal Exit Strategy

  1. First educate yourself through reading and working with a business coach; talk to your staff (part of your assets) about your goals and intentions.
  2. The key element to account for is your database ‹the core of your business, which includes your list of buyers and sellers along with their history of relationship with you.
  3. Relevant information would be your roster of contact information, calendars, a map of your human network (centers of influence and alliances),marketing tools (web site, email system, newsletter, etc.) ‹everything it took to build what you have.
  4. Good resources for beginning an exit plan are available online;, for example, is an excellent site that provides planning tools for small businesses.
Technology Considerations

  1. Technology is critical for creating efficient systems; efficiency is required to allow you time for creating a general business plan and an exit strategy; take advantage of cutting edge tools such as cameras, PDAs, cellphones, etc. that make doing standard tasks easier and faster.
  2. The most important tech tool is a contact management program; Held prefers Gold Mine because it keeps a history that will give the eventual buyer of her business insight for continuing her relationships with clients.
  3. A good contact management program will track callers and generate auto-messages.
  4. The importance of backing up your information should not be overlooked; without backup protection of information on your computer system, you could lose 10-years' of information and ruin your exit strategy.
  5. Be sure that your on-site assistants and virtual assistants are Internet savvy and remain on a learning curve of technological advances.
The Value of Your Business

  1. Count both your tangible assets (equipment) and intellectual property (web site, newsletters); account for where your income stream comes from ‹doing a self-audit can be helpful; trademarks, logos, slogans, even operations and training manuals have value.
  2. Work with a business coach with experience in selling agents' businesses to help you with the practicalities of what you need to do and give you the forms for accomplishing it on a daily, weekly and monthly basis; you want tocreate a 3­5-year snapshot of what you do.
  3. The goodwill and community image you enjoy are not things that can easily be transferred to a business buyer; consider ways to broaden the branding of your company beyond yourself as a person ‹e.g. by building a team and choosing a company name other than your own.
  4. There are business coaches who specialize in the area of exit strategies‹an Internet search can turn some up; look for someone who is real-estate-specific.
  5. Held found the coach she uses [Al Mayer] through a previous Alert speaker [Dirk Zeller of Real Estate Champions] who had mentioned selling a database for a seven-figure price.
Carving Out Time for Planning a Strategy

  1. Use high-speed connections and wireless technology to stay connected with your team.
  2. Anti-spam software saves deleting time; is helpful for updating addresses and other client information.
  3. is an efficient resource for identifying telephone numbers.
  4. can be applied for both home and business organization.
  5. offers compact storage devices (4 oz) for transporting up to 60GB of data in a shirt pocket; it uses the USB port and works like a floppy.
Moving on in Real Estate

  1. Possibilities after selling your real estate business might be to become a coach, consultant, writer or speaker.
  2. You might stay on in the business you sell in some capacity, or you might focus on another facet of real estate; be sure the paperwork for the sale ofyour business does not exclude what you want to continue doing.
Other Favorite Web Sites

  1. PopUpKiller [now AdBlock] lets you enable pop-ups you want while eliminating others.
  2. Another great resource is (aka
Contact Information for Alice Held:

(v) 877-266-3229
(f) 480-767-2800

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
PopupKiller [now AdBlock]