The best time to get started on your 2020 business plan is right now: Book a one day off-site business planning session into your calendar now. Make your business plan simple — one page is all you need.
You might be thinking you still have plenty of time, but maybe not as much time as you might think.
Most agents wait until they get back from the holiday break to plan their year. I’m sure you know how that goes: Come back from break in early January. Ease into the year, and start thinking about your goals. Then, before you know it, it’s the middle of January, and you haven’t even started executing on your plan.
At that point, anything you do will only show up at the end of the first quarter and a quarter of your year is already gone!
On the contrary, the best way to have a great year in real estate is to have a great fourth quarter the year before.
Why? Because real estate typically follows a 90-120 day sales cycle, meaning that the activities you do now will pay dividends in three to four months.
For that reason, right around the end of November and early December (or earlier), I reserve a full day off-site planning session with my team each year to plan out the following year, and I highly recommend that you do the same.
If you don’t have a team, just do this exercise yourself. Here’s our typical agenda for the planning session:
1. Plan it off-site
Your planning session should be off-site, meaning away from the office. It should be in a place free from distractions so you can really work on your business (rather than in your business.)
My favorite thing to do here is to go to a hotel or resort for the day so you can be in a luxurious setting that helps you to think big.
2. SWOT Analysis
If you haven’t heard this term before, it stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Essentially:
- What are we really good at?
- Where are the holes in our business?
- What opportunities in the marketplace can we capitalize on?
- What are the threats to our business?
Evaluate your business. Ask yourself: How did we do, numbers-wise? For this section, bring the data — not the drama.
This is all about what actually happened, not what you wanted to happen. Review your numbers from the prior year — sales, income, expenses and profit. Review your profit and loss statement.
3. Vision for the following year
The leader of the business (probably you) should set out his or her vision for the business for the following year. In other words, tell the rest of the team (or if it’s just you, tell yourself!) where you want to be at the end of the next year.
At this point, don’t censor yourself. Just write out your vision in a perfect world. Have fun with it!
4. Write out your action plan
You need a roadmap for you to achieve your vision. A few tips here. First, if you’re doing something well or something is working, do more of it.
If something isn’t working and you’ve given it a good effort, stop doing it. Make your business plan simple. I’ve seen complicated 12-page business plans that took a long time to create and end up in a drawer somewhere. My rule of thumb is to make your business plan one page.
List your main goal for the year, three top priorities to make your goal happen, and then five strategies for each of your priorities.
Now go take action, and book out your full-day planning session in your calendar!