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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

5 Critical Steps for Your Business Plan

5 Critical Steps for Your Business Plan

Despite the simplicity and importance of a business plan to a real estate professional's success, few practitioners are taught how to successfully implement one. Here's how you can get started.
By Rich Levin | January 2011

Plan your work, and work your plan. Both of these are necessary for a successful real estate career. Yet most practitioners suffer because they don’t have a plan, or never finished their plan, or don’t know how to implement their plan. As a result, their business, relationships, quality of life, and even health may suffer.

There are five critical steps that ensure you implement and follow through on your business plan.

1. Complete a simple plan

A simple plan answers these questions:

a. What do you want your real estate career to do for your life in 2011?

b. Why is that important to you?

c. What conservative, one-year, measurable goal would indicate that you are well on your way?

d. How will you measure it: weekly? Monthly?

e. What is the simplest action plan to accomplish your measurable goals? List three key projects; then figure out how you can either start doing them or do them more consistently.

f. What regular time and date each week can you set aside to assess your progress toward you overall goal and your key projects?

2. Reduce your key projects

Make sure you’ve identified benchmarks each week and month to ensure you’re making progress against your key projects. Benchmarks are simply the evidence of success. For example, if your project is to build your own Web site, then benchmarks would be:

a. Create a list of all the features and elements you want on your site.

b. Create a marketing plan for driving traffic to your site.

c. Interview and hire Web companies.

d. Have beta site complete.

e. Launch live site.

3. Create a schedule

This ensures you will complete the action steps. There are two parts to this schedule: The first is the schedule of benchmarks in the step above. The second is to choose one day of the week, the same day each week, at the same time, in the same place to work on each particular project. This step is the reason you choose a maximum of three priority projects.

4. Schedule a time to review progress

Each week, choose a day to evaluate the progress of each project (making decisions to keep going, complete, stop, or alter your work) and look at the progress of your measurable goals. Evaluating both your projects and your performance at this point is extremely important because you are then weighing the value and progress of your projects against the real measures of sales and income.

5. Instill a “numbers consciousness”

What gets measured gets done. An example of numbers consciousness for weight loss would be to set a target weight. Then, record what you eat and get on the scale every day until you get there. If you keep getting on the scale and adjusting what you eat, you are very likely to achieve your goal.

As a real estate professional, “numbers consciousness” means having sales and listing targets each month that add up to your annual goal. More importantly, it involves looking at them every week so that you always know where you stand for the month and the year. And you can make continual adjustments based on those numbers.

As you complete each step and as you review your progress each week, you gain tremendous insight into your business. Your business intelligence and motivation grow in a very natural way. I provide a daily reinforcement of this process in my coaching programs because success with this business plan is dependent on a modest level of self-discipline. Every real estate professional is capable of it.

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