Business planning for today’s real estate professional is critical and not for the faint of heart. To craft and adapt a business plan as viable instrument which serves and grows your business, you must take a deep dive into many dimensions of your business. Let’s consider each level and the depth to which you must dive to achieve the success you desire and deserve.
And here’s why…let’s face it, at times this is simply a painfully brutal business. As recently as this week, I was approached by a seasoned professional who stated to me that he was so very tired of having his heart broken by individuals who he considered to be his core followers who had ignored his advice, recommendations and loyalty. Each had betrayed and abandoned what he considered to be a trustworthy relationship and taken a walk on the wild side with either a cheaper solution or working with someone who provided what they wanted to hear rather than what the market was stating.
To avoid being compelled to quit the business every other week (and sometimes multiple times within the same week), you must craft an annual written plan that masters the following three areas of your business:
1) Specifically identify your BIG WHY and your Mission or Vision.
Discovering Your “Why” …I know many of you are now skeptically shaking your head saying…”Oh no! Can we just go ahead and talk about a weight loss and exercise plan, hanging wallpaper, social media or some other topic that makes me wince?” No. If you want to artfully and intentionally build a business that is vibrant, sustainable and unstoppable, you must craft a business plan that is realistic and executable. You must identify your BIG WHY.
And to be clear, this is your “Why”. Not why someone else thinks you should, could or would achieve your goals. We will cover the “how” next…but first you must identify your “why”. More often than not, the “why” is supported and compelled by a “who” … Who (other than yourself) is going to receive the greatest rewards and benefits from you sacrificing your time, energy and talent to fulfill these goals?
For some reading this, it’s about the money. Simply. Wholly. Yet for most, it’s about what the money will do. The opportunity, experience and sometimes memory the money will create, provide and support. Identify your “Why”, write it down and create a visual reminder of it. This may be in the form of a vision board, a check written to pay down/off debt or other tangible evidence of your success.
Second, define your “mission”. Whatever that is. There is no right or wrong “mantra” that speaks to your business and/or business model. This should be as individual as you are…yet it should speak to what you represent, the business you are building and maintaining and the legacy you desire to leave. Once discovered, put it in writing. Simply, clearly and with a steadfast passion within each word.
This will serve your business in so many ways going forward. Each time you are approached with a disruption that may be disguised as an opportunity, bounce it against your mission statement and validate that it serves and supports your mission or vision. If it does not, make a conscious decision to walk away from the disruption/opportunity until the appropriate time (if ever).
Once you’ve created the visual of your “Why”, and your written “mission” or vision statement, place them where you will see them often and be reminded of the meaning behind the nonsense of this business we call real estate. I promise, it will keep you from threatening to quit the business you love.
2) Craft a vibrant, executable written business plan. Your Business Plan should be specific and dimensional. Each must be specific with intentional, actionable activities which can be tracked, measured and finessed as needed to ensure your year’s goals are achieved.
To successfully “plan your work and work your plan”, you should include but not be limited to the following dimensions within your written plan:
- Desired Annual Profit for your Business (should be non-negotiable)
- Budgeted Expenses
- Gross Revenue Needed to meet your desired Profit
- Average Commission Earned—based on previous performance and production
- Closed Volume Needed to achieve your financial goals
- Average Sales Price—based on precious performance and production
- Transactions Needed within 12 months to achieve your financial goals
- Reflection of Previous Year’s Business (SOS)
- Understanding the source of sales with the previous year’s business and the ROI on each
- Transactions Needed and Source (Buyer Side/Seller Side)
- Needs analysis from both sides of the business
- Specifically: % of each source (Buyer Side/Seller Side)
- Conversion Rates in all dimensions of the business (Resources/Opportunities)
- Activities required to achieve your desired goals
- Monthly Requirements
- Weekly Requirements (breakdown)
- Daily Requirements (breakdown)
Proven professionals in this industry are drawn to this business for its flexibility, versatility, opportunity to create and sustain a collaborative conversations and relationships among like-minded professionals and an unlimited opportunity to practice leadership, service while earning an unlimited income by providing an extraordinary customer experience. Without exception, those who own a productive, sustainable and profitable business know their numbers. They track their success…and failure. Top Producers understand you cannot improve upon what you cannot measure.
3) Accountability is non-negotiable. And honestly, it is almost that simple. You must visit your business plan frequently. Your Business Plan is an instrument to empower you to achieve your goals and support your “why” …You must visit your Business Plan frequently, and by frequently we mean a minimum of quarterly…not the 4th quarter/end of year when you are crafting the upcoming year’s. It is an active GPS to keep you on course and tool to keep you moving towards success. It may require modification, adjustment and change. Therefore, flexibility from your perspective is a must.
As you can imagine, we believe in accountability at the highest level…which means a professional Coach. The right Coach possesses the ability to navigate you past the blind spots, roadblocks and obstacles that appear and create a detour on your journey to success. At a minimum, identify and engage an accountability partner. One who will be honest, candid and relentless in holding you to each step of your plan.
And please, hire a professional. I’m often amazed and disenchanted with the REALTOR® who shares with me that they have partnered (either Coach or accountability partner) who is either not a professional or does not have the skillset and/or experience and track record/results to make a difference in the professional’s career. This will only lead to disappointment and frustration.
Bottom line…if you are going to “play” the game of real estate…play to win!