2012 is almost here and we all want to hit the ground running. We have had some really lean years in the real estate business, and 2012 looks promising, with lower unemployment rates that could lead to more homebuying activity.

Activity has really picked up in my area and I anticipate a good first quarter. Here are some New Year’s resolutions for my business in 2012:

1. Drop what’s not working and move on
It is important to review every year and decide what has been successful and what has been a failure. Most experienced real estate agents know that success in this business has little to do with technology and that how we spend our time is important.

I plan to stop using anything that isn’t working, including some of the online social networks that I participate in. Chances are I will make some additions and some subtractions, and I will start by taking inventory.

I am considering doing more old-school newspaper advertising next year because fewer agents in my area are using print media, and when I see real estate ads in the neighborhood newspaper they really stand out.

Those papers are read by people in an older, wealthier demographic. If it doesn’t work out, then print advertising will be on my list of items to stop paying for in 2013.

2. Join a new business organization or networking group
The groups and organizations I belong to have been great for business and I have had some wonderful learning opportunities. I will join a mobile technology group that meets once a month at a local coffee shop.

The group is for geeks and businesspeople, and is an interesting mix of people from many different industries. We can learn a lot from other industries, and they can learn from us.

3. Stop making due with older equipment and start replacing it
I have spent little money on equipment in the last three years. My computer is pathetic and the printer isn’t much better. I dropped the flash accessory I use with my camera and have it taped together to hold the battery in place. The last time I needed interior pictures it took twice as long because I had so much trouble with the light.

My keyboard does not have any letters on it because I wore them off a year ago. I need to stop making due and buy some new equipment. The time I spend fighting with my computer could be spent doing something more productive. I plan to start buying before the year is over so that I can deduct some of the expenses from 2011 taxes and take advantage of holiday specials.

4. Set realistic goals
My business goals and budgets are vintage 2005. I need to set more realistic goals. They need to be a little closer to the reality of the new real estate market. I did not reach my goals for 2010 or 2011. I would like to come closer in 2012.

5. Learn something new
I plan to start by reading. I have not read any of the business or marketing books I purchased this year. There isn’t anything more important to my business than marketing. I plan to read a couple of them over the holidays, when I will likely have some down time. Sometimes books are not enough. I plan on taking a class next fall and am trying to decide which conferences to attend in 2012.

There are only five resolutions on my list, but each is important and if I follow through with each it will be an accomplishment.

Happy holidays.

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