Through December, I’m going to be blogging about business planning, to help you create an exceptional business plan–a roadmap–for next year. Look for checklists, processes and systems–ready to use, too.

What should a business plan do for you? Appease your manager?  (I’ve been there, so I know that’s why we do it sometimes….) Or, should it actually provide you specific, day-to-day guidance about what to do to make your business thrive? If you’re a practical person like me, you don’t like to do ‘busy work’. You and I believe, then, that a business plan should have a practical application for every day of your business.

How Does your Business Plan Stack Up?

Take this quick ‘exam’ to see how your business plan stacks up.

1. By going through your process of business planning, you get the ‘vision’ and mission principles to make the positioning, marketing, hiring, and termination decisions right for your particular business.        T                      F

Does your plan have an over arch of your vision? Few business plans start with vision. This causes huge problems when real estate professionals try to implement—such as implementing a marketing plan.  A potential coaching client told me she ‘wasn’t very good at marketing’, and wondered how to get better. You can’t become a great marketer unless you have a very clear vision of who you are and where you expect your journey to take you.

It all starts with a crystal clear idea of your vision, mission, and positioning in the market. Your business plan should contain these very important statements. Then, when you design an institutional marketing plan, you’ll be able execute your thoughts and feelings visually.

If your vision and mission aren’t well defined in your business plan, you simply have no solid foundation to make those tough leadership decisions.

2.  Your business plan starts with reviewing and researching the past year in all your business areas.                                             T                         F

Are you ignoring the obvious? If your planning ‘template’ doesn’t lead you through the analysis of key business statistics, you simply don’t know what happened. So, you can’t possibly make decisions for next year, because you don’t know whether to do it, stop doing it, or start doing something differently!

Example: What percent of your listings sold within normal market time? What was the percent of list price to sale price? Few business planning templates ask you to grab these statistics and analyze them. Yet, these are the statistics that directly point you to your strategies and tactics for the coming year.

3. Does your business plan have an ‘action plan’ area, so you can translate your yearly and monthly goals into daily actions—and actually schedule these actions?                                                      T                         F

Is your business plan so theoretical that no one could follow it daily? I have seen so many business plans that only played on the ‘results’ playing field. Writing down the results you want are great, but if your plan doesn’t get down to where the rubber meets the road, (what you need to do daily), you simply are doing an exercise. In other words, you have to get past the ‘what’ and get to the ‘how’ and ‘how much’.

For example: You may say you want to increase your ‘sold’ listings by 25% in the coming year. How are you going to do that? You may build into action part of your plan that you are going to take several courses in gaining marketable listings.

4. Does your plan consist of integrated, ready-to-follow systems so you can delegate?                                                                           T                      F

Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited, says that a business plan consists of the integration of systems. Most managers and agents feel they are working too many hours. They want to be able to delegate specific duties. But, without systems and processes in place, delegation is impossible.

Sell me your business. Pretend you wanted to sell me your business. I walk into your office. What systems do I see? What systems can I buy from you, so I don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’? What systems do you have that integrate and reflect your values in the overall way you do your business?

How did you do on the ‘exam’? Here’s your opportunity to think through your business at a much deeper, more meaningful level. Doing so will re-motivate you, re-ignite your passion, and provide you some solid answers for next year.

Click here to see each of the parts of a business planning system–and the order in which they should be explored.

Looking for a system that guides you with assurance through the planning process? Offers dozens of strategies for you? Helps you avoid common mistakes? Check out The Business Planning System for the Real Estate Professional, now on special through December. Plus, you’ll receive a bonus of a business planning webinar to update you on best strategies for 2011.

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