Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

As the new year approaches it is time to take stock of what we accomplished this year and start planning for the next year. While it may seem like a daunting task, now is a great time to start your business plan. Most Realtors don’t take the time to do a written business plan each year but now is the time to start running your business like a real business; take some time this fall to set some goals and you will be amazed with the outcome. Realtors who have detailed and very specific plans don’t tend to see their business go up and down as much with the market.

It doesn’t need to be complicated

If the words “business plan” fill you with visions of complex documents and plans, then you may have the wrong idea. A business plan does not need to be complicated; if you are just starting out, a simple plan may be all you need. You will want to include your goals (both monetary and for building your business) as well as the steps that you are going to take to achieve them. By putting pen to paper, you will see that your ideas can come together in a concrete plan to help you achieve your goals.

Be Specific

Set goals for yourself that are specific and achievable. Vague goals lead to vague results. For example, setting a goal to sell more homes than you did last year can be made stronger by adding a more specific target (net income, award level, or a specific number of homes). Ensure that your targets and goals are realistic but not too easy to achieve; you want to push yourself to grow your business! It is also important to consider short and long term goals and timelines to achieve them.

Start Tracking Your Activities

It can be hard to forecast your income and determine what you need to do to achieve your goals if you don’t know how or what you are doing to begin with. The best way to track your activities is through a software tool called a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). Studies have shown that Realtors who use a CRM effectively and consistently earn more than those who do not. Keep track of all marketing initiatives, leads, contacts, and everything that you do. This will help you build a formula for success and will allow you to build a stronger plan in years to come. If you haven’t been tracking these activities, make this your first goal for the new year and it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a great plan in the meantime.

It’s Time to Extrapolate!

Using the data that you have collected on your activities, or general industry statistics if you have not, you will want to start putting together a plan that has specific numbers in mind. For example, if your target for the year is 20 deals and it takes 5 leads to generate 1 deal, you will need 100 leads for the year. But to generate 1 lead, it takes you 10 contacts, which means that it will take you 1000 contacts to generate 20 transactions. Divided the total number of contacts by the number of days you plan to work in the year to determine how many contacts you will need to make to achieve your goal. So if you plan on working 200 days per year, you will need to make 5 contacts per day to achieve 20 transactions.

Review, Review, Review

Now that you have a great business plan, make sure that you set aside time to review your plan at least once every month. If you don’t, you will quickly lose sight of your goals and it becomes very easy to drift off track. As you go, keep track of where you are in achieving your goals and make modifications, if necessary, to ensure that you achieve them.

Key Points to Remember

  • You are a professional! It’s time to start treating your business like a real business
  • Realtors who use CRMs consistently earn more than those who don’t
  • A business plan does not need to be complicated
  • Set goals which are specific and concise
  • Make sure to set both short and long term goals
  • Track your activities to ensure you are on track and to help you create future plans
  • Do the math and set goals for how many contacts you need to make to achieve your goals
  • Once the plan is done, review it regularly to ensure that you are on track