Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital
Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…
Many individuals new to the note business contact me because they want tips on how to make their dream of becoming a Note Professional, Broker or Buyer a reality. I am a believer and an example that it is possible to make your life’s passion a profession. The key is to not just start a business, but rather, to sustain it by being profitable and happy. That is success! There are a multitude of resources you can read and home study courses you can take about this very subject. Below is a short list of topline things you should consider based on my own experience. It will give you a starting point of things to think about and do. You are ready to make the leap from Aspiring to Professional when…
- You know your equipment like the back of your hand.
You should be well versed in your HP 10B-II Calculator, Excel, Word, T-Value (amortization software), etc. Being good in the note business is about skill and experience, not luck. So know your stuff before you venture into a mass marketing campaign.
- You know that being a Note Professional is much more than understanding how notes are discounted and why.
When you make buying and brokering seller financed notes your business, you are actually only closing transactions a small percentage of the time. At some point in your career, you can choose to outsource or hire people to do some of these activities, but when you start out, a larger portion of your time will be filled with things like, marketing and communicating with note holders, culling and editing marketing materials, balancing your budget, negotiating your offers, processing transactions, marketing yourself and your business, fulfilling promises, and drafting note holder and note investor correspondence and agreements. Being a Note Professional means being a Negotiator, a Marketer and a Business Person.
- You have a Business and Marketing Plan.
You’ve answered critical questions, such as: Who is your target prospect? How will you market yourself and your business to your target audience? What is your pricing strategy for Year 1, 2, 3…? What kinds of services will you provide? How will you differentiate your note business from others in the country? Do this before you start your note business. It will be harder to shift business strategies later.
- You build a reputation from the beginning that represents that you are honest, ethical, and fair and you show consistency.
Once you start getting some transactions closing and getting paid for your services, you have to assure note holders a certain level of quality and produce it consistently.
- You have a means of sharing your work and contact info.
It’s plain and simple: if people can’t find you, you won’t get any business. Yes we are talking about marketing but in today’s world it’s more than just that. You need to be accessible by many different means; on the internet, social media, by email, by phone, etc. Before launching just any website, make sure you’ve put thought into your brand identity and have optimized your site for searches (known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization). In addition to a website, there are a plethora of social media options to get your business noticed, such as Facebook, Linked In, Google+ and Twitter.
- You have all your documents in order.
You’ve registered your business, filed for a business license if necessary or required, created an entity (ie, LLC, Sole Proprietorship, S-Corp), and have the initial agreements ready to send to note holders who have accepted your offer. You may have also spoken with a small business attorney and tax accountant, and have opened a separate bank account for your note business.
- You know who you are and what kind of note professional you are.
This may sound ridiculously simple, but it’s often overlooked. Know what specialty will be the main niche of your note business before you start (performing, non-performing, individual notes, junior liens, portfolios, etc.) so you won’t waste your efforts growing a side of your business that you do not love. Stick with your own style – whether it’s a style of communication, organization, negotiating or processing – so you can differentiate yourself from others. Do what you love, know your own strengths, and be yourself. This will help you attract the right prospects and note holders to you. (The right prospect for Business A is not necessarily the right prospect for Business B.)
Starting and running a successful note business takes a lot of resources — namely, your money, time, and energy. If you aren’t sure about something (ie, the quality of the service you’re giving, how to use your equipment, the profitability of a note transaction), people will feel that uncertainty and won’t work with you. Make the necessary preparations before starting your note business, so you can be confident when you do. Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!) J