As a real estate trainer and coach I see agents with many different attitudes toward business planning. There’s the agent who has a plan that’s so detailed it lacks flexibility (not to mention the fact that it takes three months to put it together!), the agent who has a plan that’s so lacking in structure and accountability that there may as well not be a plan, and the agent who has planned for failure because they have – you guessed it – no plan at all.
I actually don’t even like the word “business plan”. It conjures up images of people in suits sitting around board rooms in committees, debating the merits of this and that.
I prefer the words “action plan”.
An action plan is a living, breathing document that generates results.
When you’re planning for your business you’re taking the first step to action, and to success. There’s a lot that can, and should, go into an action plan.
For starters, you need to figure out the end goal. More time off? More money? Building a team? Uncovering a niche? All of the above?
Now it’s time to reverse-engineer your goal to figure out how you can achieve it.
Take each of your goals, and begin dividing them into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, if your goal is to increase your net income from $60,000 per year to $105,000 per year, how might that look? What steps would you need to take?
In no particular order, here are just a handful of the many questions I might be asking:
- What kind of fees are you paying at your office? One of the largest expenses most agents have is their desk fee or commission split (depending on what type of office they are in). I strongly recommend that you take a look at the fees you are paying. Just FYI, I recommend an agent pay no more than 15% of their gross income in office fees and commission.
- What percentage of your past clients have been buyers, and what percentage have been sellers? How often are you working as a dual agent? It doesn’t take a math genius to know it’s a lot easier to service ten sellers than ten buyers, so determining the steps needed to shift toward working more with sellers might be a logical next step.
- What kind of lead generation are you using … and are you consistent? There are many, many ways to generate leads but none of them work if you don’t work them. In what cost-effective manner can you amplify your lead generation efforts?
- Are you wasting time doing tasks you could hire someone to help with part-time? Yes, you’re going to put out some money … which at first glance seems a contradiction to your goal. But is your time better spent entering names in your database and sending email blasts – or is it better spent with live, action-taking clients? Save your good energy for the activities that bring you a great return.
- What are the tax implications of earning an additional $40,000 per year? How much more will you pay in taxes, and what is the net amount you’ll keep? When I was actively selling I actually could have made the same amount of money selling far fewer homes each year. Don’t make that same mistake (unless you’re a glutton for punishment!). A good accountant is worth their weight in gold; before you make drastic plans to change your income spend a little time with an accountant reviewing your income goals.
So there are five questions I would have right off the bat … and there would be many more to follow which would dissect each of these into actions to help me move forward.
Here’s what I know won’t work in the above scenario: Deciding you want your net income to be $105,000 next year, and just hoping that will somehow happen.
Planning requires time, energy, and a strategic vision.
This is the perfect time of year to start visualizing your business plan, or action plan. What do you want your business to look and feel like in 2013? And what steps will you take to make that a reality?
My “Big Visions Big Result” planning document could be just the ticket to helping you create your ideal action plan. Download that document here and spend a few days this holiday weekend planning for your 2013!