The right time to do a business plan for the year ahead is the October-November the year before. This way you are off to the races come January 1st. If you didn’t manage to get to this last year, you’ll want this to be your first priority in the new year.
For many brokers, writing a business plan can easily fall through the cracks while chasing leads, driving closings, recruiting agents, training staff, paying bills or any of the hundred other things that consume the day of a busy broker. The problem is that without it, you meander without purpose and can easily waste a lot of time on the wrong things, instead of being driven by a focused, well thought out plan of attack designed to achieve specific results.
Key Parts of Your Real Estate Brokerage Business Plan
There are many templates and formats you can choose for a business plan. Weichert for instance, has guidelines to follow along with business coaches who help you and hold you accountable for completing it. At the end of the day though, the template you use is less important than the thought process that goes into it. Here are a few things you will want to cover in your business plan.
- Define Your Business – At the highest level, take some time to think about what kind of brokerage you have, and what kind you want in 1 to 5 years. Formally identify your products and services, the nature of your market, and how you will manage risks and challenges to your growth. It is a good place to define your company culture too; how you will go to market, how you will treat and value your employees, and your philosophy of customer service.
- Financial Goals – Having some realistic financial growth goals for the coming year and the years beyond is the single biggest decision from which many other parts of your business plan will be derived. Pick a growth number that is just a bit outside your comfort zone (stretch goal). Break down these financial goals into sales goals in each area of your brokerage that is appropriate like home sales, relocation sales, rentals, etc. Be as specific as you can. Define the activities you need to complete in order to reach these goals (i.e. how many listings you need each month, how many agents you need to recruit).
- Marketing Plan – Key to your success will be the marketing tools and strategies you plan to use in the new year and establishing a budget for them. As a guideline, NAR recommends that brokers spend no more than 1/3 of their total expenses on marketing. This can be a difficult discipline to keep. An advantage of affiliation with a real estate franchise like Weichert is that you don’t have to spend time and money creating marketing tools or researching best-in-class tools, technology or sales strategies. Your franchisor invests in developing those tools and templates and has the ability to regularly refresh the materials available for your use, so you can spend your time and resources elsewhere. Weichert also defines the recipe of activity for success, which makes it easier for you to estimate the costs to execute. However you choose to proceed, a detailed marketing plan has to include the following:
- Who are your target customers?
- What marketing mix will you use to promote to them?
- How will you capture and nurture them through the buying/selling process?
- How will you differentiate what your brokerage has to offer from others in your area?
- What is your content plan for web and social media channels
Make sure your plan is something that can be executed within your available resources.
- Recruiting Plan – Key to achieving your growth goals will be your recruiting plan. Your financial growth goals will translate directly into recruiting goals and without a specific and consistent plan for this we can tell you from experience that it won’t get done. In your recruiting plan be sure to specify the number of recruits you need to bring in each month and the activities you need to complete to get them in the door. Also make sure you have a plan to train new agents and get them productive as soon as possible. Weichert for instance provides its Fast Track training for new agents which is specifically designed to bring them up to speed fast on proven tactics and systems that allow them to generate income quickly. Brokers love Fast Track as well, because it removes much of the burden of new agent training from their shoulders.
There are many other elements in a good brokerage business plan but the most important element is to sit down and do it! Once you have done it once, then updating it every year and managing it throughout the year, is much easier and will help you adjust your activities when you go off course. It’s better to know right away that you haven’t met your recruiting or listings goals than to be surprised at the end of the year when it’s too late to do anything about it.
And if you feel that you could benefit from expert advice and a business coach to support you every step of the way on your path to growth, then consider talking to the Weichert franchise team today. Go to weichertfranchise.com or call 877-567-3350.