Let’s face it: if you are reading this blog, you are likely a real estate appraiser. If you are a real estate appraiser, then you are likely involved with a small business. It may be your own business for which you are totally responsible. You may be working with another appraiser as an employee or a contractor. But in any event, you are involved with a small business. Given that involvement, you are aware of both the rewards there are of owning and running a small business, as you are aware of the risks of running a small business.
You may be aware of the movie “Field of Dreams”. A small Iowa farmer had the feeling that if he built a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield, “they” would come. To the audience, “they” were fans who’d pay to see barnstorming semi-pro baseball teams play the pure, hardscrabble game of baseball that was baseball at its essence. However, for that farmer, “they” were the great players of old baseball – those who played for the adrenaline rush of playing, not for the money, fame, or glory. But, if there was no field, “they” would not come.
So, he took a few acres of a productive cornfield and, with no money but his own, put in a baseball field with lights, bleachers, concession stands – the whole nine yards. In other words, he took a risk to make his dream come true. And, guess what? “They” came. “They” played baseball, in its pure, simple form, in his baseball field. And when word got out that “they” played in that cornfield, fans of baseball, fans of the game of baseball, not fans of the hype of baseball, came from miles around. His risk was rewarded.
There is so much of the movie to go into, but we won’t since we don’t have time and this is not the place to discuss the symbolism of reality and what we perceive to be reality. Rather, the point is the farmer took a risk. With proper planning and execution (and no small amount of luck and the trust and love of his neighbors), that risk earned a reward (which was really the life of his daughter, but that is way out in the weeds as far as this discussion goes).
Is building an appraisal business at all similar to building a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield? In many ways, yes. But the issue is not building the baseball field, but in the preparation of building that field so that, when the time is right, “they” will come. Now is the time to begin that preparation. If you need to hire a VA to help you grow, first make sure the potential is there for a greater volume of business that VA will help you handle. Want to add an associate or a trainee? Great, but prepare yourself first by making sure you know what skills you want the associate to bring to the table. How about a trainee? Do you have the skills to teach a trainee how to appraise?
Now, the question is whether to take the risk. Should you? That corn farmer could have built that field of dreams, yet nobody could have come. But how many would have come if he had never built that field?
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: