Business Planning Basics

Mortgage and Lending with Area Manager at Guaranteed Rate, Inc 257308

With the new year fast approaching many professionals in our industry are working on their 2010 business plans, some are thinking they should be working on their plans and are putting them off, and probably the majority of our industry knows they should be working on a business plan and have no idea where to start. 

I must confess that until 2 years ago I fell into the latter category, and was lucky if I even jotted down a few projects or ideas for the next year.  For the past 2 years I have utilized a written plan, and in 2009, I not only had a written plan but actually managed and actively worked that plan, which has made all the difference.  Personally, having a plan and working that plan has helped me to meet and/or exceed every written goal that was set forth for 2009.  This included hiring a full-time production partner, exceeding production goals (by almost 100%), building new business relationships and strengthening existing relationships.  This plan has largely been responsible for my best and most rewarding year in the industry in 7 years in the business, and this during one of the toughest years in recent history for the industry as a whole.  If I wasn't a believer in the power of planning before, I certainly am now!

My boss Ruth Vogt has developed a great system that my team has adapted for the past 2 years, for which I am grateful.  Ruth has posted a great presentation with more details about why you should have business plan.  You can view the business plan presentation online for more info. 

When creating a business plan the key is to not get too bogged down with details, but to focus on the big picture.  The presentation mentioned above has some great info on how to do this.  You should start with a Mission Statement, and a Vision Statement and Values Statement are also recommended.  Then identify 3-5 specific and measurable goals.  Your goals should be your "big picture" items for the year.  A good example would be a specific production goal that you can measure and track.  Then assign objectives for each goal, which are the major projects you will need to work on to accomplish each goal.  You can then assign tasks for each objective, and the tasks become the "calendar items" that you can work on and assign to yourself as "to do" items. 

I am sure many of you have been pondering a business plan for next year, and I hope that this blog will encourage you to get off the fence and spend some time working on your business, not just in your business.  2010 will be another year with many challenges for our industry, and although none of us can control the economy, interest rates, foreclosures, etc. we can control how we spend our time and energy and having a written business plan will certainly help you to stay focused and positive in 2010!


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Dana Couch-Davis
Kendall Haney Realty Group - Memphis, TN

I agree Tim.  The last couple of years I've been working from a Business Plan and it has certainly made a difference in my business.  I love the business plan.

Dec 11, 2009 02:15 AM #1
Lisa Coates
Level Ten Construction Consultants - Halifax, NS
Residential Home Sales Specialist

Tim, I clicked on "business plan presentation" was redriected to and a message came up "Presentation Not Found". I'm sure more of us would like to see it, can you fix the link?


Thanks LIsa

Dec 12, 2009 03:21 AM #2
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

I'm amazed at the number of agents that don't have a Business or Action Plan, but I guess it is not natural for everyone.  I always like to have a plan for whatever I'm doing.  It's an essential ingredient to being successful in any business.

Dec 15, 2009 02:08 AM #3
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Given the number and size of the real estate industry I'm surprised at the relative lack of quality business planning materials available for agents.  If anyone finds a quality business plan outline or presentation they're willing to share I'd appreciate receiving a copy.  It's hard to build a solid business if you don't know where you're headed.  In this market businesses have to work smart, because the new clients are no longer just "magically" appearing.

Dec 22, 2009 03:09 AM #4
Ruth Vogt
Fairway Independent Mortgage, LLS. Equal Housing Opportunity. Regulated by the Division of Real Estate. - Colorado Springs, CO
719-592-0855 Apply 24/7

This is the link that does not go through Linked in:

Dec 29, 2009 10:15 AM #5
Tim Duvall
Area Manager at Guaranteed Rate, Inc - Colorado Springs, CO

Thank you all for your comments. 

Lisa, I have updated the blog link with a different URL that should work for you to view the business plan presentation.  Apparently the original link requires you to be a member of LinkedIn in order to view the presentation, so that was most likely the problem before. 

Dec 30, 2009 01:42 AM #6
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., ABR, GRI, SRES - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

Getting goals down on paper helps keep me on track and something about having measurable goals to reach for makes us more successful!

Dec 30, 2009 08:07 AM #7
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