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The £10K Planning Mistake

Last updated October 6, 2020
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... That Businesses Make Again and Again.

It’s so frustrating when you are on the receiving end of poor products, badly executed service, poor marketing campaigns or communication. I’m genuinely disappointed to see businesses continually throw money away when a little bit of thought and pre-planning could avoid such wastage.

Let me share a story with you.

Right now, Steve and I are trying to move house

It's a tricky process (English law) at the best of times. It's been on the market for three months; not long for a house like ours, it's well, quirky.

The house is a 16th century, 3 bed cottage. It's grade two listed has a large-ish garden, veggie plot and a good size, two-person office at the bottom of the garden.

Sales pitch over but if you would like to buy let me know.

The First Mistake

Anyway, I received a mailshot flyer from a competing estate agent. It had a great heading… 12 weeks? Bored of waiting? A good picture too as you can see.


Call to action was super clear, ‘Call us for free marketing advice’ and the phone number. I called the number shown t(he business is in the next town) and mentioned I had received the flyer and asked if they could help me.

Their response… ‘We're so sorry Mrs Mansfield. Let me get your file out and we'll see why we haven't found you a buyer…’


I explained again that they weren't currently selling my house, but they had sent me a mailshot to ask if I would like them to sell my house…. Effectively switching estate agents. I explained again but it turned out they had no idea what mailshot I was talking about.

I use this long-winded example to highlight how companies throw money away again and again.

How the £10k Was Lost

This competing agency is a franchise and the marketing is probably part of the support package for the franchisee and organised from head office.

It's a great idea and it's one that hooked me in so where did the £10,000 go…

1. The marketing team will have spent time come up with the idea, prepared a draught, several iterations of copy, spent time choosing an image and having it designed.

Counting time, effort, meetings, image costs, etc say £1,500

2. Printing costs, perhaps £500

3. Defining, organising and setting up a system to track houses which have been on the market for more than 12 weeks and not currently being sold by this company. I’m guessing but say £2,500 (manpower systems, software…)

4. Employee time taken to organise the list of possible addresses, a regular print run and dispatch the cards. These were delivered by Royal Mail. Maybe they send out 500 every week at the cost of £1 each £500 plus admin time so total £750

We're already at £5,250…..

5. My phone call to the local office. I spent time on the phone with two of their people doesn't take long but it's £100 worth of time and wasted effort.

6. The branch staff knew nothing about the mailshot and they may have called head office, using up more time, effort and resource say another £500, or possibly not

The remaining £4,250 of the £10,000 is lost because I may have paid them at least that amount to sell my house. If I had received a much better reception when I phoned to inquire.

Other home owners who I shared the story with might also use this service and the amount could easily double or triple. Perhaps several £5,000…I I’m asked for an estate agency recommendation would I recommend them… probably not.

Sadly not the only example of money being frittered when it could have been additional profit…

How to Save £10K

How could this company have ‘not lost’ (saved) £10,000 and possibly made a lot more money?

Just one additional step was needed to avoid this. It just needed planning out before the campaign went live.

It wouldn't have take long to implement and it doesn't take much effort either but boy does it have a huge positive (and profitable) impact.

And the task was….

A briefing note or internal communication sent to all franchisees, office managers, regional directors and any employee who has contact with customers.

The briefing – just a few sentences would explain what was happening and when. It's not a difficult communication to prepare and issue.

If you'd like to know more, I've shared the secrets in The One Small Task to Save £10K.

Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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