As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, July 2005.
If your office space is dwindling or you are beginning to feel like your loan officers are packed in like sardines, it might not be a bad thing.
Likely, that type of situation is testament to the fact that your mortgage company is experiencing measurable growth. As you begin to weigh your options of moving into a larger space or offering to let employees work from home, it also might be time to consider opening a new braanch.
Opening a new branch of your mortgage company can be the most-exciting step in a business. Before you embark on this path, however, you need to address some key issues to make the transition as smooth as possible and prevent new-branch pitfalls.
Before opening the branch
1. Stay afloat
A common mistake when opening a new branch is to focus so much on the new branch that the existing branch gets pushed to the side. To avoid corporate-office neglect, consider the following before moving ahead with a new location.
Do existing employees have the skills to maintain their level of customer service, even if they have a sudden increase in their workloads?
If employees are transferred to a new branch, will you need to hire new ones to fill your corporate office?
Are your departments and operations systems running smoothly? Will they be able to handle more work, new employees and additional billing requirements?
If senior employees are selected to run a new branch, are there remaining employees to fill their shoes as mentors and role models?
As the boss, are you ready and willing to delegate work to others?
By recognizing and planning for the effect a new branch will have on your existing office, you should be able to avoid setbacks at your home base.
2. Determine who’s the boss
Once you’ve found that the infrastructure at your corporate office is sound and can support a new branch, you’ll need to decide who will run the new office. The person chosen must have the skills to duplicate the corporate office. Obviously, your corporate office is successful — or else there wouldn’t be a need for a second location — so “mirroring” that office is vital. This means that the manager selected to run this office needs an intrinsic understanding of the corporate office’s ideals and goals.
Some additional questions should help you to choose the manager of your new mortgage branch:
What are the benefits and drawbacks of promoting a senior employee to branch manager, as opposed to hiring someone new?
Does the chosen manager understand that each office should maintain the same atmosphere?
Can the manager meet predetermined goals, deadlines, etc?
Can the manager transition into a leadership role?
Will running a new office take away from the manager’s volume-producing ability?
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