Real estate is a crowded market, with approximately 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. This can make it feel impossible to grow your business—“How am I ever going to beat out all the agents I saw at that networking event the other night with my little business?”

The good news is: growth is within your hands. There are a variety of actions you can take to actively grow your business, reaching new clients and making more sales along the way.

Keep these tips in mind as you take your real estate business to the next level.

Be More Purposeful With Networking

To grow your business, you need a targeted approach to finding the people at networking events. When walking into an event, your goal is to connect with people who can help you most, whether you need someone to share advice or a person who can provide financial help.

“Networking will be most profitable for you when you master this targeted approach. Focus on meeting with and building a diverse group of individuals and surround yourself with the people that can help you reach specific business goals,” suggests Ted Rollins, global entrepreneur, recognized by Inco. 500.

He continues, “Commit to your purpose, and as these relationships grow, consider how they fit into that burgeoning ‘why.’ Someone may be more valuable in expanding your business while another person would serve you best in a mentor role.”

Grow your business: Have 1 to 3 goals for the next networking event you attend and keep them as your focus each time you talk with someone. If you know someone attending, ask them to introduce you to anyone they think would be able to help you achieve one or more of those goals.

Improve Time Management

When you’re forever trying to reach the end of your to-do list, it’s impossible to grow your business. Instead, you’re playing catch-up, rather than focusing on what can take you to the next level. Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of lack of time management is distraction and that’s a common problem for real estate agents, “who have limited amounts of desk time and an increasing amount of technologies to manage,” explain experts at Xpressdocs.

They continue, “An easy-to-use time management tool can be worth its weight in gold in helping realtors complete specific tasks within a set amount of time.”

Grow your business: Use a tool like Trello to organize your day, week or month. Remember to set aside time each day for “distractions.” For example, when a random phone call comes in, you know you only have 10 minutes to wrap it up and stay on track with your day.

Email Your Leads

If you’re already tracking you leads with a CRM system, it’s time to engage with them—especially the ones who aren’t ready yet or are still on the fence about working with you. These emails give you a chance to show them your knowledge of the region or real estate in general.

These emails also keep you at top of mind, so when that on-the-fence client is ready, they’re likely to think, “Oh, I should reach out to [insert your name or business], they’ve been sending me all those great emails.”

Grow your business: Include a CTA (call to action) in each email you send, whether it’s to click through to a blog post, share a deal you’re offering, or download a gated piece of content. Every email should have a goal, and your CTA helps you complete that goal.

Hire an Assistant

As a small business owner, there will come a time when you can’t manage everything yourself. When that time comes, it’s in your best interest to hire help, even if that’s just an assistant. This gives you a little breathing room between reaching clients, making it to meetings and still finding time to maintain your sanity.

Grow your business: If you can’t afford a full-time, in-person assistant, hire a virtual assistant instead. They can still take calls, manage leads, and more, despite being far away. You can also consider hiring contract workers through a website like Upwork on a project-to-project basis. If your website needs work, for example, hire a freelance designer or developer, rather than taking on a full-time employee or doing it yourself and getting it wrong.

Let Go of Fear

Personal fear of failure was the number one fear in a 2016 poll of 1,000 Americans—and that fear of failure can lead you to avoid potentially risky or high-value opportunities that could ultimately help you grow your business. When you let that go, you can see opportunities for what they are, and decide whether they’ll be valuable to your business or not.

Grow your business: Find a mentor who can help mitigate concerns you may have with taking big business leaps. With a “been there, done that” knowledge set, a mentor can help you walk through pro’s and con’s and see through to the benefits of a change that you’re wary of. SCORE is great place to find that mentor!

Ask for Referrals

A shocking 75 percent of an agent’s business comes from referrals and word of mouth, according to an OutboundEngine survey of more than 500 real estate agents. To reach the next level, focus on driving referrals with current and past clients. There are many ways to do this, including:

  • Offer referral gifts
  • Request referrals on your website
  • Use branded materials to make it easy to be referred
  • Give thoughtful client gifts

Grow your business: Test a variety of ideas to see which one yields the most referrals. Optimize whichever one works best to keep referrals flowing in.

Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media

Managing and making social media useful can seem like a daunting task, yet 2.8 billion people are using social media, making it impossible to ignore.  If you want to grow your business, it’s wise to be active on at least one social network, where you can run ads, share content and drive leads, all while reaching a wide audience of potentially interested buyers or sellers. Here are a few ways to make the most of social media as a growth tool:

  • Do live video tours of new homes on the market. With Facebook, if people don’t tune in during the live feed, the video will live on your wall, where it can still be accessed and valuable.
  • Congratulate new homeowners on Instagram. It makes them feel amazing, and gives you a chance to share about how you’re changing people’s lives, making the home buying/selling process easier, and more.
  • Boost listing posts on Facebook (even $10 can go a long way) so they’ll reach a wider audience. You can target your audience via region, occupation, age and much more, allowing you to be specific and effective. Learn more about boosting posts with Facebook’s guide.

Grow your business: If you’re not on social media yet, start with Facebook, which has the largest number of daily, active users. With a wide variety of advertising options as well, you can use this platform to its fullest potential.

There are many ways to take your business’s growth into your own hands, and stand out among the crowd. Test these ideas to see which ones are most effective, and then, find ways to optimize them for even greater results.