Throughout December, I’m focusing my blogs on business planning, so you have plenty of information to create a great plan. Look for checklists, processes, and systems--ready to use, too.
We all know we’re supposed to write a business plan. Yet, most business planning ‘templates’ leave out several important parts of a plan. In this blog, we’ll look at why ‘looking back’ is very important to the success of your 2016 plan. Looking back is called the ‘business review’ or ‘business analysis’.
Agents, managers, and trainers: If you’ve been in the business any length of time, you know how much more challenging this business is than it used to be! Yet, most of the information we are still getting is about day-to-day selling and managing. However, we’ve learned that we can’t just keep completing tasks and get ahead. We know that, after we’ve conquered sales and management basic skills, we still have a whole group of skills to master. Those are called ‘business skills’, and they require as much dedication to master as do those sales and managing skills. One business skill is analyzing your business.
Why Business Analysis?
If we don’t know where we’ve been, how can we decide on best strategies for the next year?
Here are the tools you’ll need in your business planning toolkit:
- Time analysis (watch my next blog for a questionnaire to analyze your time management)
- Business plan activity review
- Expense/budget review
- Profit and loss statement review
1. Your time analysis. Do you have the analysis tools to see where your business is, and where you want to take it? With a time analysis tool, you can see what your priorities are. It’s amazing how many agents and managers have no idea where they spend the bulk of their time. Look at your schedule for the last week. Did you spend time in the areas that are most productive for you? If not, why not?
2. Business plan activity review tool. This allows you to capture the history of your business in a way that clarifies your direction. For example, does the tool you use ask you where you got your business last year? Does it ask you the percent of your listings you sold in normal market time? Managers, does your tool ask you the numbers of agents you interviewed, and your conversion rate? Find the tools that ask you the right questions.
3. The expense and budget review. How many agents have a budget? How many managers and owners? All business people set budgets and review them. After all, it’s about profitability in a business, not productivity! At best, you want to use tools that are similar to the ones used by others at the same business level as you, so you can analyze like problems and solutions.
4. The profit and loss statement review. How many agents do you think have a profit and loss statement—and review it? I believe, less than 5%. Yet, if you don’t know where your money went, you can’t analyze its effectiveness. Use Quicken or Quickbooks to get a handle on your money.
Analyzing your business in these four areas gives you a great ‘handle’ on your business habits, your strengths, your challenges–and the areas you want to change for a more successful year next year.
Big question: Does your business planning system or template provide you all the analysis tools you need? If not, what’s missing?
You can find all these analysis tools and more at my convenient online business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.
Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar
During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:
- Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it
- How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
- How to anticipate market shifts (!)
- What to STOP doing in 2017
- What one thing will assure your business plan works
- Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan
- The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
- Review: Your best sources of business
Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.
Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!
Need a comprehensive business planning system that is designed specifically for seasoned agents? Most planning systems don’t cover the specific areas you need to address.
Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.