Business Planning for 2013

Mortgage and Lending with Planatek Financial, Inc. CA DRE 01110003

Many Active Rain Members have been kind enough to share some of their Business Planning techniques for BP 20132013 so I thought I'd also tell you a little about the processes I'm using to create an acitivity and spending plan for the new year.


During my career as a Controller/Director of Finance, a significant part of my responsibilities was creating and monitoring the company’s annual spending plan.


This process was a valuable education - I had the opportunity to interview all the stakeholders in the spending process to learn what their upcoming plans were, then convert those plans into a numeric representation in the overall budget.


This process provided me the opportunity to learn every part of how a business operates…for example, in order to understand how marketing spends money I needed to understand how they analyze their markets to target their spending to the group(s) of potential customers that will provide the biggest return on their investment.  Their assumptions have to be defensible, and once their budget is approved, measurement processes need to be in place to test the results against the assumptions and correct for any errors.


ThinkingApplying this process to my own business, I began by analyzing 2012 in both objective terms (where did the business come from?) and subjective terms (what did I like, and not like, about this year?).  The dry stuff was easy – most of my business came from referrals of customers I helped with either a purchase or refinance loan. 


The subjective elements took some time and introspection but were worth the effort–I want my work to have meaning and this is an opportunity to shape how my work days will be spent for the foreseeable future.


Here is a description of what I learned when I started thinking about the activities that brought me the most satisfaction this year.


  • I love to teach people.  I’ve mentored in many different capacities of the course of my career and have gained a deep sense of satisfaction from watching the mentored individuals benefit from the information they have learned.

I can apply this to how I work with my clients by teaching them how the lending process works, how their numbers work and taking the time to completely answer all of their questions.

  •  I love to solve problems.  I like a challenge – when someone tells me something cannot be done I want to test that statement for myself. 

In my current business, this may mean evaluating a client’s finances to see what might have been missed in a prior loan decision, or challenging myself to figure out how to shorten the timeline from loan open to loan close.

  •  I want to be #1.  I want to be viewed as “the best” at what I do.  I am willing to work for the title…long hours have never bothered me when I enjoy what I do.


This exercise lead me to my own personal mission statement:


I want everyone who does business with me to say “that’s the way lending should work and that’s the way a client should be taken care of.”


A superior lending experience does not happen without the help of a robust support system, and it is critical to me that I align myself with service providers that share my vision and values.  I have determined that for me, in 2013, I will evaluate where I do business on behalf of my clients using the following criteria:



Do I have a support team that enables me to quickly obtain the information I need to serve my clients?


Do I have an array of products, competitively priced, that allow me to efficiently serve my clients with respect to quality and price?


Do I have the resources I need to deliver superior service?


The next step was figuring out who I want to serve.  I set the following 3 criteria for managing my activities and budget:


  • In 2013, I am going to focus on helping 10 first time home buyers every month.
  • In 2013, I am going to find 2 real estate agents every single month who are new to the business and need help with planning their business.  (I created a business planning template to help real estate agents think through their businesses and am happy to share it with anyone who wants a copy.  Send me an email message to and I’ll send you the excel workbook and instructions.)
  • In 2013, I am gong to master every single first time homebuyer lending program available in the areas I choose to work.


The above criteria are not meant to exclude any market opportunity – they simply provide a basic framework that allows me to begin to put numbers to a plan.


Once I put the answers to all of these questions in a budget, I’ll have a revenue plan, a budget and a cash flow projection to guide my activities this upcoming year.

Comments (17)

Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Those are some great goals. A number of years ago, I shifted my goals aways from dollar and number goals, to how many referral I will give out throughout the year. I break it down to every imaginable business, For example my goal was to give out 120 referral to Realtors, I'm at 126 so far this year.

Dec 17, 2012 11:49 PM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

Nice work Joe!  That's exactly the approach I'm taking - go help people and the business will grow from there.  So glad to hear that it has been a successful model for you.

Dec 18, 2012 12:11 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Linda thank you for sharing your Business Plan and how you plan on carrying it out.  You goal for how you want to be thought of “that’s the way lending should work and that’s the way a client should be taken care of.” is one that all of us on the Lending side of the business should strive for.

Dec 23, 2012 10:48 PM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

Merry Christmas George.  Thank you - both you and Gene Mundt have been great inspiration for me this year.

Dec 24, 2012 10:44 PM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Merry Christmas, Linda. Thanks for sharing your Business Plan. It's always nice to see what other members are doing. May you have a Blessed Day, and a very prosperous New Year!

Dec 24, 2012 11:29 PM
Anita Clark
Coldwell Banker Access Realty ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Linda: I really like your 2013 Business Plan.  Many of the principles are similar to my own.  I wish you much success in 2013 and beyond.

Dec 27, 2012 10:36 AM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

Anita:  Thank you very much - best wishes for much success to you also!

Dec 28, 2012 01:01 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Linda thanks for subscribing to my blog.  I came over to do the same.... and you've got to get back to blogging lady.  This was a wonderful post and I'm looking forward to hearing more from you.

May 06, 2013 11:54 AM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

Hi Tammy:  

Thank you so much for your very nice comment.  I've been reading and enjoying your blogs for the last year at least and didn't realize I wasn't a subscriber...senior moment perhaps?  LOL!

Anyway, yes I need to start blogging regularly - thank you for the encouragement and I'll get on the bandwagon again very soon.

Kindest regards,



May 06, 2013 12:19 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Hope you are accomplishing your goals as stated on this post.  Thanks for your comments on our post, and we wish you a great first week of June.  A

Jun 02, 2013 06:05 AM
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Linda~  even though this was posted awhile ago I just wanted to say I love this post. & BTW: "I do my when it comes to making a business plan & setting goals.  

Jun 20, 2013 09:12 AM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA


Thank you very much for your kind words.  I read your blog articles regularly and take much inspiration from the lessons you post.  

Kindest regards,



Jun 20, 2013 09:50 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes


Your business plan is very well thought out.  If everyone does what you are doing they will be focused on their goals and direction.  And since you are a financial person you stressed the importance putting it into a budget of sales and expenses. 



Sep 22, 2013 10:39 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hi Linda, stopping by to say hello and to thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.

May 24, 2018 01:04 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi Linda, I am so appreciative of your kind words on my blog post this morning re: the loss of my dad. Thank you.  D 

Sep 15, 2018 09:37 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Hi Linda just wanted to stop in and I just notice it has been a long time since you posted, hope it was due to  being busy, Endre

Mar 16, 2019 02:29 PM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

Hi Endre:

Thanks for your nice words.  I took a little detour back into corporate finance and have decided to return to the lending business full time.  I expect to begin posting again in the next week or so. 

I ejoy reading your posts, epecially the ones about your furry friends!

Thanks again for reaching out - I appreciate it!

Mar 16, 2019 06:49 PM