Developing a business plan is one of the most crucial steps to starting a sustainable business model, defining and measuring your goals, and setting a comprehensive plan to help you achieve those goals.
Your business plan will guide you through the coming year. How much can you expect to earn? How should you budget? How many transactions will you need to reach your income goals? How should you be allocating your money toward marketing, continuing education, and other expenses? You should address all those questions in your business plan.
This will keep you focused and on track.
Step #1: Establish goals and a mission statement for your real estate business plan
Your business plan should detail your long- and short-term business goals. Articulating your mission (or your long-term objective) is important. Doing so allows you to start each day with a purpose. Do you want to be the go-to agent in your community for land purchases? Perhaps you want to build a reputation in the luxury market, and sell a certain number of million-dollar properties your first year. Maybe you simply want to make the buying and selling process enjoyable for all of your clients. No matter what your specific goals, writing them down will motivate you. It will also help you develop your marketing strategy: our next step.
Step #2: Develop your marketing strategy
Before you start laying out the specific details of your marketing strategy—deciding what kind of mailers you’re going to use and the number of business cards you’ll need to order, and so on—ask yourself: what is your unique value proposition? What, specifically, will you bring to the table that stands out from other agents?
Next, given your unique value proposition, who is your target client? Do you want to target all buyers in a particular zip code? First-time home buyers only? Sellers in a specific neighborhood?
Once you determine to whom you’re marketing, and what their needs are, you’ll be able to write specific, actionable steps to help you attract and work with that target customer. If you want to target sellers in a specific neighborhood, for example, you can now determine the types of marketing that would reach them and the custom-tailored message you want to send.
Step #3: Organize your finances
Having a sound financial plan as you begin your career will be vital to your success, especially given all the expenses you’ll incur in your first year.
First, you’ll want to track your expenses and lay out your financial obligations. These include pre-licensing coursework costs, state licensing fees, broker fees, website, and MLS obligations, marketing, and advertising, cell phone bills, and more.
Next, map out a plan to achieve your desired income. Before you pull a number out of the air, do some research on average agent incomes in your market. Calculate the number of transactions you’ll need to complete to meet your income goals and cover your expenses.
Step #4: Put your plan into action
As you create your action plan, be as detailed as you can. Look at the goals you created in Step #2 and give each goal a strategy and the custom-tailored actions you think you need to put into place to make that plan come to life.
Here’s an example:
Goal: Add 30 prospects to my database each month.
Strategy: Network via online and offline channels.
- Attend three community functions per month.
- Call five past colleagues, friends, and family members per month to discuss real estate.
- Develop my blog and website with valuable real estate content.
- Share content via my social media channels.
- Find ways to measure ROI for social media efforts.
Repeat this step for each of your goals, including financial goals.
Step #5: Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate
Know what’s working and what’s not. As you implement your business plan and take steps toward your goals, keep revisiting the plan. Evaluate how it’s working. Your business plan should evolve as you grow professionally. Share the plan with your broker, who may have insights that can help you improve it, the better to reach your goals.
In addition to your business plan, consider writing out a daily schedule. Because you’re an independent contractor and you don’t have a set nine-to-five job anymore, you might need a schedule to keep you organized and motivated. Of course, you’ll have to deviate from your schedule occasionally, and last-minute changes will come up, but having a rough outline of how you’re going to attack the day can’t hurt. For example, you might schedule yourself to check and respond to emails from 8:00 to 9:00 each morning, make client phone calls from 9:00 to 10:00, attend agent open houses and caravans from 10:00 to 11:00, and so on. As Thomas Jefferson once observed, “If you’re constantly doing, it’s wonderful how much you can get done.”