During November and December, I’m writing about business planning, to inspire you to get your business plan done for next year. Managers, see Management in a Minute for managers’ business planning tips.
Before you look ahead in your business plan, you need to look back and ask yourself lots of questions about your business history. 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 businesspeople 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.
If Your Business Planning Process Isn’t Doing You Any Favors….
Want to see more on business planning? Check out my online program Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. All the instructional webinars and documents are online, and very easy to complete and implement. This is a program created exclusively for real estate owners and managers. And, when you purchase the manager’s package, you also get access to all the agent’s planning videos and documents.