As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, November 2007.
The business world can be a high-stress environment, and as a mortgage broker, you are right in the thick of it. Brokers must deal with increased government regulations, fierce competition, tighter lending guidelines and a shrinking market. Then there are homebuyers, real estate agents, and title and escrow agents looking to you for guidance.
But you can't have all the answers all of the time -- and you probably have doubts and concerns, too. Before making critical decisions, brokers need reassurance just like everyone else.
It may be tempting to use your employees, your business network and other people close to you as a sounding board. These people can have biases, however, of which they may not even be conscious.
Instead, it may be in brokers' best interest to turn to objective peer groups or a business coach to help with their business dilemmas.
Who to avoid
When problems arise, it may be your first instinct to go to those around you for advice. This strategy could be harmful to your business, though, as those close to you may not be able to offer impartial direction. Worse, what you reveal to these people about your company's status could come back to haunt you.
Think twice about turning to these people in a crisis:
Employees: It's difficult to have a candid, issues-based discussion with employees, no matter the employee's level within the organization. It may reveal a degree of vulnerability. This can escalate into worries about the longevity of the business or diminish your respect among employees.
Lenders: Your competency as a broker may be questioned if you reveal issues to lenders beyond what they are prepared to hear. Being candid with lenders could cost you future deals.
Advisers: Attorneys, accountants and other consultants you work with usually have their own agendas. It's possible they will slant their input to put themselves in position for keeping or expanding their engagement with your company.
Industry associations: These groups can be good resources for specific industry information through conventions and committees, but they often they fall short when providing the guidance a leader needs to manage day-to-day issues. Association events are too infrequent to provide the type of ongoing dialogue and feedback that brokers may need.
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