Smashing your targets and what to do next

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Tom Simpson, Managing Director of Commercial Lending at Yorkshire Building Society (1

Reaching your targets is a cause for celebration, but what comes next is even more important, writes Tom Simpson, head of commercial lending at YBS Commercial Mortgages

At YBS Commercial Mortgages, we’ve recently taken a moment to reflect, as we passed £1 billion on our balance sheet.

This is a great achievement, and surely a key milestone for any business. As with any milestone like this, it’s a great time to consider the journey that got you there, but importantly, what comes next.

Positive growth is always hard in a difficult market – especially during a pandemic, but for us, passing the £1 billion mark really demonstrated our commitment to continued growth and lending, and it reinforced our position in the market as a stable long-term lender. However, that’s by no means the end of the story.

Look to the future

So, we’ve established that hitting a target is great. But it’s important to realise that this is not the right moment to sit back on your laurels.

Having ambitious objectives is important, and as you hit each milestone you should make sure that the next one is both clear and realistic.

Improving on what you’ve achieved so far is often a challenge – and one I can resonate with as it’s what I faced when I took on the managing director role for YBS Commercial Mortgages back in 2019.

But from experience, there are ways you can work out how to do this. For example, checking you still have the right teams in the right place performing the right roles, a strong product or service, and that you’re offering your customers the best value.

Although it may seem like common-sense, it’s often not until we’re reminded that we see how obvious it is, so it’s easily overlooked.

Ask yourself the following questions – do you need an expansion plan so that you can reach the customers who need you (and more importantly – they can reach you!).

If you sell products, should you overhaul or expand your range? Are you still fulfilling market demand? Are your processes efficient and effective such that they will support your growth aspirations? If not – you need to do something about it, and fast.

Things change very quickly so build regular operational reviews into your planning.

What’s the next milestone and how do you reach it?  Look at your longer-term growth – what’s the next target? Do you want to try to shorten the time it takes to reach it?

Or are you focussing on national growth, such as supporting more customers across a wider breadth of the country – which is what we decided was one of our key goals.

Emerging from lockdown

Writing this in September, it would be impossible to talk about targets, objectives and expansion plans without acknowledging the very unique market in which we’re still operating.

No one could downplay the serious impact that Covid has had on the sector, or on the market as a whole. Some businesses have suffered and closed and there’s also the obvious human impact of the last 18 months.

But it seems clear that there is a significant amount of resilience in the UK property sector and its’ ability to absorb shocks and recover.

And we’ve certainly seen this – especially in the buy-to-let sector, as investors demonstrated their confidence throughout even the depths of lockdown, as our lending teams saw increasing volumes of enquires for buy-to-let transactions from our broker partners.

This is hugely encouraging for those involved in supporting and investing in the sector.

Investor support for the commercial investment sector has also shown positive signs.

Despite an unsurprising period of reflection in the market during early lockdowns, transaction demand continued and we’ve seen the value of deals in this space increasing over several months.

We don’t yet know how strong the recovery will be, but the signs are hopeful – and this can only be a positive thing for anyone looking to smash their next target, whatever that might be.