If you want to have your best year ever in 2019, a written business plan is a must. What does it take to create a business plan that you will follow throughout the entire year? Here’s how you do it in nine easy steps.

With more than 1,000 Inman posts, Bernice Ross is a long-time contributor whose weekly column on real estate trends, luxury, marketing and other best practices publishes every Monday.

Did you have a written business plan that you followed throughout the end of 2018? Congratulations if you did, because 90 percent of all business owners operate their business without a written plan.

If you want to have your best year ever in 2019, a written business plan is a must. What does it take, however, to create a business plan that you will follow throughout 2019?

To be honest, there’s absolutely nothing motivating about looking at a page with a list of all the lead generation activities you’re supposed to do today.

The secret to having a business plan that you will follow is to focus on what you do well, eliminate what you hate to do or what’s not working, and envision what your success would mean emotionally to you and your loved ones.

1. Label love to do, or hate to do?

Begin by dividing a sheet of paper into four separate parts and label each corner:

  • Love to do and profitable (upper left corner)
  • Hate to do and profitable (upper right corner)
  • Love to do and not profitable (lower left corner)
  • Hate to do and not profitable (lower right corner).

2. Identify your top 50%

List all of the transactions that you closed in 2018. Next to each transaction, note where the lead originated. (This could be working with expired listings, cold calling, online leads, relocation buyers, geographical farming, open house, etc.)

Of those areas, identify the top 50 percent that were the most profitable for you in 2018. Now sort these activities into two more groups —“love to do and profitable” and “hate to do and profitable.”

Place the “love to do and profitable” in the upper left-hand corner of your matrix. Make these activities your primary business focus for 2019. It’s much easier to be successful when you focus on what you love to do and stop trying to force yourself to do what you hate doing.

3. Delegate what’s no fun but profitable

Place the remaining activities from your top 50 percent most profitable in the top right-hand corner (“hate to do and profitable”). Consider delegating these activities.

For example, if you hate working with buyers, you can hire a buyer’s agent or refer them to another agent who enjoys working with buyers. If you hate paperwork, hire a virtual assistant or a transaction coordinator.

By focusing on your strengths and delegating your weaknesses, not only will you be more profitable, you will provide better service to your clients as well.

4. Stop wasting time and money on what is not profitable

The easiest activities to eliminate are those that you hate to do and are not profitable. For example, are you still mailing to an area where you obtained no listings during the past 12 months? Have you regularly held open houses and generated no closed transactions from that activity?

If an activity has not produced a profit for you — stop doing it.

Your biggest challenge will be to eliminate what you love to do and is not profitable. You might really enjoy networking activities, however, if they are not producing any closed business, it’s time to eliminate them.

In 2019, spend the time you allotted for unprofitable activities on the activities that you love to do and are profitable.

5. Set your income and closed transaction goals

Assume you closed 20 transactions in 2018. If you double the amount of time that you put into your most profitable real estate activities (by eliminating what is not profitable), most agents easily increase their closed transactions by up to 50 percent or more.

6. Use the 3-2-1 approach on a daily basis

Once you have created your business plan, ask the following questions at the beginning of each day:

  • What are the three business activities I absolutely must complete today? Complete these activities first before doing anything else.
  • What two self-care activities will I choose today to keep me balanced mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically?
  • What is one activity I can complete today that will help me have business tomorrow?

The challenge for most real estate agents is that they allow less important activities to intrude on their top three priority items. Treat these appointments for self-care and creating new business with the same priority you would attach to a listing appointment.

7. Use the 4-3-2-1 approach for self-care each month

Very few people have a regular schedule for self-care. Here’s a simple scheduling formula to follow using the 4-3-2-1 approach:

  • Take four days off each month.
  • Spend two of those days with friends and loved ones.
  • Devote at least one of those days completely to yourself where you play golf, get a massage or do whatever you need to recharge.
  • At least three times a week, have dinner with friends or loved ones. According to Paul Pearsall’s research (The Heart’s Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Our Heart Energy) this wards off illness including cancer and heart disease).

8. Track your progress

Experiment with this approach for one month, and then evaluate your progress. If your sales are increasing, stay the course. If not, look at what could be altered to improve your sales.

9. Envision your success

Keeping your written goals in front of you constantly is the secret to achieving them. The most important step, however, is envisioning your success and what that will mean emotionally to you and your family. This is the fuel that will drive your lead generation every day throughout the upcoming year.

Happy New Year!

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP (brokerageup.com) and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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