Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2 here.

What does it take to have your best year ever in 2010? A great place to start is by identifying best practices both inside and outside your business.

You have probably heard the old saying, "If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results." To make 2010 your best year ever, expand what is working well in your business and add two or three innovations to your business this year.

Keeping pace with change keeps your business strong. The reason people resist change, however, is that they view change as giving up something rather than adding to what they already do.

For example, you may believe that you should give up calling people on the phone because you are friends on Facebook. A better approach would be to continue to use the phone and add Facebook communication as an additional way to stay in touch.

Change is much easier to cope with when you view it as adding an extra dimension to what you already do. To determine the changes that will have the greatest positive influence on your business in 2010, follow the simple steps below.

Step 1: Identify your personal best practices by asking the following questions:

1. During the last six months, what activity generated the most closed transactions for your business?

2. What is it about this activity that you do well in comparison to the other activities where you have a lesser level of success?

3. What can you do to transfer what makes you successful in your most productive area to another area in your business that is not so productive?

The point is to expand what is already working to at least one other aspect of your business. Sports professionals play at the positions where they have the greatest strengths. Rather than trying to force yourself to do something that is a weakness for you, play to your strengths. …CONTINUED

Step 2: Look for a role model or mentor

Identify a successful agent who could be a role model. Next, ask yourself:

  • What is this person doing that I could do, but I’m not doing?
  • What would my business look like if I added one activity this agent does that I don’t do currently?
  • What is the cost to me in closed transactions and increased stress if I choose not to act on this one item?

Whether it’s in business or sports, professionals have always relied on mentors or coaches to help them stay on top of their game. An excellent strategy for improving your best is to find someone who can either coach you or whose behavior you can successfully model. Look at what they do, how they do it, and how you can implement what makes them successful into your business.

Ultimately, most of us know what to do. The challenge is doing it. A stumbling block for most people is that they are too busy "working in" their business to spend time "working on" their business.

In his book "The E-Myth Revisited," Michael Gerber described this phenomenon. "Working in" your business refers to doing all the tasks required to keep your business operating on a daily basis. Gerber argues that you must also take time to "work on" your business. "Working on" your business refers to taking time to evaluate past strategies and outcomes as well as to plan new strategies.

To keep your business on track you must do both: Take time to plan and strategize ("work on") before you move to implementation ("work in").

Step 3: Begin making changes using the following process:

1. Identify one aspect of your business that is good but could become excellent with additional effort on your part. Take steps to start making that single piece excellent immediately.

2. Schedule time away from the office to "work on" your business at least once per month.

3. As part of your "working on" session, identify the bottom 10 percent of your activities that you could eliminate. If you’re concerned about eliminating them, simply put them on hold for the next month to see what their impact is. Then, in your next "working on" session, determine what you can eliminate permanently.

4. Find a role model to imitate. Whether it’s working with a coach, asking your manager or a top agent to mentor you, or simply imitating what is working for someone you respect, the bottom line is it’s easier to be successful when someone has already demonstrated exactly how to do it. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Once you have completed these steps, you’re ready to construct your business plan for 2010. See Part 2 next week to see how to do it.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.


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