Goals (or resolutions) are fairly synonymous with the New Year. While many view them as passé, over the past several years my wife and I have made it tradition to establish one, three and five year goals. Over dinner, we first sit down and review our goals from the prior year and discuss our progress, what worked and what didn't. For the one year goals, it's pretty simple - did we achieve our goals and if not, what went wrong? For the three and five year goals, the discussion is much more fluid - are we progressing and on track to achieve the goal? Does the goal still make sense in the current environment? Looking back, it's interesting to see how my goals have flexed based on where I am both personally and professionally, but one common undertone has always been real estate - even before I owned a single property or even worked in the industry professionally.
With that in mind, I found it appropriate to lay out several real estate goals for the new year that can be applied to just about anyone either thinking about getting into CRE or already active in the space.
Establish New Relationships / Nurture Existing Ones
A career in real estate, more than any other industry, is built on relationships. It really doesn't matter if you're a real estate agent slinging starter homes in your hometown, or if you're a Partner at a real estate private equity firm. Strengthen your existing ones, but more importantly establish new ones. Join a local non-profit (or try to get on the Board), take up a new hobby (trap shooting?) or go to formal events (for me, it's the black-tie event my local school district puts on annually).
If you fill up your social calendar with just one new event per month, you're bound to meet at least 12 new connections annually. Even if just one of these new connections pays dividends - maybe they invest in your deals or provide some sort of meaningful guidance - certainly the networking was worth it.
Creating value is more than just incremental revenue/cost savings that you can attach a cap rate to. Do something that enables you to stand out, especially if its outside of your job description. Start a blog (like MastersinCRE), write articles that you can post on LinkedIn, or if you work for a real estate company like myself, ask what you can do internally that is of value for the Principals. Can you streamline processes, organize workflow or provide actionable incremental insights into the Property your firm owns or manages?
Be a Leader
Real estate is about showing initiative. Chances are, you're a direct report on a team - meaning, there is somebody above you. Is there something in their daily workflow that you can take ownership of? Or possibly an aspect during diligence or closing that, while time consuming, is not overly complicated? Taking over just a small piece of their work flow will show that you're interested in the process, want to learn more and, most importantly, will free up your managers time to take on more valuable work for the firm.
My goals for 2017 are much more specific to me and my circumstance, but these three provide a tremendous baseline that can be applied to almost anyone in any circumstance. Considering using them as a jump off point and add a few more that apply to your current circumstances more specifically.