As the year is winding down, you may want to consider reflecting on how far you have come in the last 12 months and where you would like to be at the end of the coming year. Many people will advise you that as a broker and a business owner, you should get in the habit of writing an annual business plan to set goals and measure your progress. Many brokers tend to “wing it” and don’t see the value in writing one. However, writing a business plan can be one of the best things you can do for your business. Follow these tips to create your own yearly business plan before year’s end and insure that next year is your most productive year yet.
When Is The Best Time To Write Your Yearly Business Plan?
In short, NOW! The best way to set yourself up for success in the year to come is to block off time to write your annual business plan well before the new year begins. Since many real estate agents and brokers have considerable downtime during the holidays, that is a great opportunity to focus on your plans and goals for the new year. Carve out enough time in November or December to look over the current year’s production and assemble a strategic plan for next year to get started off on the right foot when January 1st hits.
What Should You Include In Your Yearly Business Plan?
For a business plan to be useful, you really have to consider your goals, tactics, activities, and budget in some detail, and develop a reasonable plan that has these things working together. How much detail you get into is up to you, but err on the side of more detail if you can. At a minimum, a real estate broker needs to give some thought to the things below:
- Goals and objectives for your business in the coming year. These can include goals around your GCI targets, a number of transactions needed, number agents needed to hit those transaction goals, how many new recruits needed and more. Run each of your goals through the M.A.R.T. goals test (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound).
BAD GOAL: “I will recruit some new agents next year”
GOOD GOAL: “I will recruit 20 new agents next year of which at least 5 will have previous experience and one who has agent management experience. I will target 8 in the first half of the year and 12 in the second half of the year.”
- Target Market – While it might seem obvious who you are selling to, there is still tremendous benefit to drilling this down into specific client types and looking at market trends. What is the age range of your primary buyers? Are they working or retirees? Relocation Opportunities? College Town? Additionally, look at some analytical data:
- Average days on market for property of different price and type
- Typical listing commission rate
- Average price trend for a market you are interested in participating in
- Number of new listings in a particular sector month over month and this year versus last year
- SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats. Knowing what your team can do better than the other guys is critical to defining where you will put your money and energy in the coming year and where your best opportunities for growth lie.
- Strategic Plan – What markets will you focus on? First time homebuyers? Relo clients? As you grow each year, this plan will change to reflect your new capabilities and market dynamics.
- Time Frame – Put yourself on the clock for your goals by breaking them down into manageable chunks of activity. If you make these elements small enough, they won’t seem so daunting and bit by bit they’ll get accomplished.
- Systems and Processes – This is really the “how” of your business plan. Your growth goals won’t happen by themselves; you will need to sponsor directed activities that are in line with your desired growth goals and strategy. Having some proven processes in place for training and marketing can be an important part of this. Need a real estate CRM? This is where you’ll budget for it and define how you will use and who will use it and what it will accomplish for you. Recruiting plan? Here is where you define the events you host and activities you’ll engage in to reach out to them.
Final Tips to Keep in Mind
Business plans are not a one-size-fits-all tool. It is important that even if you use a pre-designed template that you customize it according to your individual goals, targets, and challenges. Think in terms of both your immediate goals, as well as how they fit into your big-picture goals.
As an experienced real estate broker, you have a deep understanding of how important it is to treat your business like a business. By taking the time each year to write out a detailed plan and strategy of how you will tackle each benchmark on the path to success, you stand a much greater chance of getting there.
Plan Your Business with a Partner
At Weichert, we encourage all of our franchise owners to create a business plan each year. By writing down the plan, together with the coaching they get from their business consultants, Weichert affiliates have found this process to be truly valuable in sustaining growth. By implementing formal business plans, they are able to do more and focus their energy and resources on the right things. It’s just one of many proven strategies Weichert gives its owners to help them grow. We can help you with your business plan, but even better, we can give you the tools and processes to execute it.
For more information about how Weichert empowers its affiliates to do more, go to www.weichertfranchise.com .