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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for webinars

hand with keyCongratulations! You’ve helped your agents each gain a business plan. That’s a huge key to their success–but only the first step. Now, how can you capitalize on all that work (both you and the agents?) It’s not enough to teach them to plan, or even to sit down with each agent and work through their plans. In order to really help them use those plans as a guide all year, you need to use that business plan as a platform from which to coach the agent all year.

Here are the basics of coaching to a business plan.

How often should you coach?

That depends on the agent. For newer agents, coach more frequently (at least monthly). For seasoned agents, coach a minimum of quarterly and better yet, monthly.

What should you coach to?

You’re going to use the numbers that the agent is generating by measuring the results of his business plan:

First, the goals: listings sold, sales, listings. Then, you’re going to help that agent measure activities:

Lead generation

Listing/sales appointments

You’re going to help the agent translate the activity numbers into ratios so the agent knows the work he must do to reach his goals.

Why bother to use the business plan as a foundation for coaching?

Because, otherwise, you’re just giving advice or doing ‘crisis management’. You want to be perceived as a trusted business coach, helping the agent grow his/her business.

Big questions: Is the planning system you’re using

1. Help the agent assess his business–where he’s been?

2. Help the agent set realistic goals and an action plan that translates into daily activities?

3. Has an accurate method to measure the activities and results of the activities so you and the agent can make fast adjustments?

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

Why not contact me to find out how I can educate your agents on business planning and support and coach you as a leader. Give me a call at 425.392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I can do a webinar series for you, supply you will all the planning documents, and help your leadership coach your agents–at a very affordable cost with big pay-off for you.

Dec
16

Do You Have a Real Business Plan?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

small write outlineWhat’s in a business plan? Goals? Action plans? You’re right, as far as it goes. But…..Recently, I presented a webinar through the National Association of Realtors’ Learning Library, titled Not Your Grammy’s Business Plan. One of the points I made was that the old-style one-two page business planning templates just don’t make it these days. It’s not enough to either write a

Platitude-heavy mission/vision plan, with a lot of ‘we will be….’
Or
A goals-only plan

Why? Because neither version of a business plan does you much good if you want to create a business plan that is useable every day. You need a complete plan. You need to use a solid planning process–not just fill in some blanks!

What’s in a Useable Business Plan

Click here to see the parts of a strategic business plan for a real estate agent (this would work for any salesperson). I created this ‘flow chart’ after being frustrated that there was no good business planning process or template for real estate salespeople. I found that there needed to be a clear ‘path’ from the big picture planning aspects (vision/mission/objectives) to the action plan. I also found there had to be a clear delineation of the parts of the action plan. Why? Agents will focus on what they find easy—the business support parts of the plan, not the lead generating parts of the plan.

Make Money—Or Not

By focusing on the review and action portions of your plan, you will have a real blueprint to follow to create success every day. Be very careful about which planning system you use. The way you think will determine the kind of plan you get. Follow the model I’ve provided her. Now, you have a useable business plan for 2010.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my online business planning resources for agents and managers: Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. I take you right through the process.

Plan_Act_CelebrateManagers: In your program, I teach your agents how to make a plan. I help you integrate the office and agent plans, too.

 

penguins focused on goalsWhat’s your mission? It’s time to begin writing your business plan for 2015. In the next few blogs, I want to give you a few tips on creating various parts of your business plan. One of the important, but often-left-out parts of a business plan is your mission statement. What it is? It’s literally your mission in your business.

Mission statements answer the questions:

Why are you in this business?
What do you want to accomplish?
How are you going to achieve your mission?
What’s important to you?

Why Have a Mission Statement?

To keep yourself on track.
To decide what you will and won’t do.
To state who you work with (and to think about who you wouldn’t work with).
For time management
For clarity and focus
To use as a springboard to your marketing

Mission statements should be:

• Well-defined
• Restrictive
• Complementary with your company statement (and the company statement should be reflected in any branch office/associate statements)

Mission statements are:

• Not lightly changed (usually stay the same through your
years’ business plans)
• Written in the present tense
• Do not contain objectives or goals
• Not tied to time

Mission Statements Are Not Objectives or Goals

Mission statements are not quantifiable. Leave out any numbers – they go into your objectives. Following is an example: A person may write, “I am a profitable agent. I will make a profit of $50,000 every year.” The first part of the statement, “I am a profitable agent” has a place in a mission statement. But the last part of the statement is an objective, or quantifiable end result, and should be placed in another section of your plan. The mission statement is broader; it guides you as you make long-term decisions. The above offers some valuable tips on writing mission statements.

Mission Statements Aren’t Changed Lightly

Because mission statements are really statements of you as a businessperson, these statements are not lightly changed – just as you would not lightly change yourself. That does not mean that you might not work over time on how your statement is constructed, but it does mean that you do not change the essence of the statement, the specialties, the ideals – without considerable thought.

Mission Statements – In the Present

Statements should be written in the present tense. These statements convey you at your best – how you see yourself as a real estate professional. Because you may not have actually attained the picture you have in mind, you may be writing about yourself as you see yourself in the future. To cement that thought in your mind, use present tense verbs as you create your statement.

How to Use your Mission Statement

• To reflect back and forth throughout your business plan (Are
your actions congruent with your plan?)
• In your office—framed in your entry
• In your marketing materials
• In your Professional Portfolio
• In your pre-first visiting listing and buyer packages
• In your email signatures
• On your website

Mission statements first clarify for you what’s important, your focus, and your limitations. Then, they help consumers choose you. Use the parameters above to create your mission statement. It’s a basis for a successful business plan.

Resources

There are several examples of mission statements in both of my business planning resources: Both the managers’ and the agents’ resource are now online at Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. You can go back as often as you want and choose some–or all of the planning documents. Webinars walk you through the planning process.

Also, both my complimentary webinars on business planning are on my website. Click here to view them.

blue ribbonsHere are four tips to increase your agents’ chances of reaching their goals. The previous blog explored the power of intention in planning. So, how do we ‘supersize’ intentions so they last all year–and longer?

Here are four tips:

1.     Include the ‘why’

Why do you want this? Be specific. Make it full of passion and ‘technicolor’. This gives you purpose to what you want to achieve. Be sure it’s something you really want—not something someone else wants for you (are they your goals or others’ goals?)

2.     Concentrate on one intention at a time.

If you take too big a bite, you choke. So, focus on one thing you want to accomplish at a time. Use a calendar and put an intention for the quarter, for example.

3.     Make it specific. Spell out exactly what you’re going to do.

 For example, if it’s lead generation, say who you’re going to contact, when, where, and what you’ll say. Make a tracking system, too. Pretend you’re giving this action plan to someone else. Could they follow it?

4.     Repeat the strategy session every three months.

Research showed that intentions start to diminish. But, doing a ‘re-strategy’ session every three months renewed the intensity of the intention. So, Sit down and ask yourself those ‘why’ questions every three months.  

Managers: Teach your agents to have intention in their plans. Help them with their 3-month review strategy. You’ll be assisting them to form life-long habits of achievement. Everyone wins.

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

I’ve got all the analysis tools you’ll need for your business plan–and for your agents’ plans. Don’t let 2014 be less than it should be because you don’t have all the information

 

bullseyeHere’s how to use intentional planning to fire up your agents. I’m always looking for tips in motivating others (and myself). I found a great article from my personal trainer. It says that ‘intentional planning’ is the biggest component to obtain your goals.

What is ‘Intentional Planning’?

It’s making a behavioral-based action plan–which answers the questions what are you going to do? When are you going to do it? and How are you going to go about it?

The Science Behind this Component

A study in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology conducted with 8000 participants found that intentional planning was the key factor in a successful habit change. This approach increased the chance of successful change by 50-80%!

The ‘Secret’ to Change

We regularly declare our intentions. But, we rarely get specific about them. When we’re not specific, we don’t have a roadmap to chart that change. We don’t know the actions to take. In order to change our intentions from ‘general’ and ‘philosophical’ to action-based, we need to answer these questions:

What

When

How–what shall we practice? How shall we do it?

The Reason Most Business Plans Fail

As a manager and trainer, I’ve seen all sorts of business plans. I’ve seen all sorts of business planning templates. Unfortunately, many plans stay in the ‘what’–the philosophical statements or just the numbers. Inferior templates encourage this flawed thought process. So, people blithely create these business plans, set them on the shelf, and continue doing exactly what they have been doing!!! So, they get the same results.

My Business Planning System ‘Forces’ This Thought Process

Having used those flawed plans and having seen my agents and other managers fail with them, I built into my business planning system and templates the when and how. So, My system actually forces the user to think through the whole process–to get to the weekly/daily action plans that will help change their business habits for the better.

How Specific is YOUR Plan?

The acid test: Could I take your business plan, follow it, and see results? If it’s not that action-oriented, you can’t follow it either! Be sure the business planning system and templates you’re following direct your thinking from the ‘what’ to the when and the how. Now you’re cooking!

Managers: As you’re counseling your agents, be sure their plans get to ‘where the rubber meets the road’. Could you follow their plan–or is it just a series of numbers or high-fallutin’ statements?

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

I’ve got all the analysis tools you’ll need for your business plan–and for your agents’ plans. Don’t let 2014 be less than it should be because you don’t have all the information

 

 

 

small write outlineComplete that business plan; here are steps 3 and 4. (You got steps 1 and 2 in my previous blog) You’ve got to cracking on those first two steps to a great business plan that I gave you in my previous blog. Now, let’s tackle the last two steps. Admittedly, you won’t have an in-depth plan with these steps, but, you will have thought through the most important aspects for you to get ready to tackle. (and, I think you’ll be excited to get your plan done before the end of the year!).

Step three: Evaluating YOU

Rate yourself in the various management areas: recruiting, selection, coaching, training, retention, staff management, etc.

Bonus business planning form

Click here to get a management evaluation to see what you’ve already mastered and what you want to work on.

What have you mastered? What do you want to improve? This becomes your personal/professional training/coaching program for next year.

Step Four: What if

Complete this sentence:”If I did these three things next year, I would increase my productivity and profitability”:

1.
2.
3.

Now, you have your ‘big rocks’ for your business plan for next year done.

Business plans: Active and Breathing, or Stuck on a Shelf?

You’re not making a business plan as a financial plan to get money from a bank. You’re not creating this wonderful, mushy visionary plan. You’re thinking about your specific situation, and then creating an action plan. You will actually put these actions into your monthly and weekly schedule, and act on them! This is the plan you will revisit at least monthly, to measure your actions and results against what you planned.

Make it an action plan and you will get into action.

For a comprehensive business planning systems, with fill-in forms for each part of your plan, see my online program for agents and leadership: Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Note: Both of these business planning systems have been recommended and endorsed by industry leaders CRS (Council of Residential Specialists) and CRB (Council of Certified Real Estate Brokerage Managers (advanced designations provided by the National Association of Realtors).

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

kid with magnifying glassIt’s not too late to get your business plan done! Here are some tips to get it in motion–and have a good time doing it.

It really can be fun….What if you could actually have fun making a plan—and know that the plan you made would at least double your profits for the year? Wouldn’t that be lovely? Having helped hundreds real estate professionals create plans, I’ve found an easy method to make that plan in no time. Better yet, I promise that plan will be a blueprint that will work hard for you.

We all talk about it. Few of us actually do it. Even less of us actually follow it! But, almost all of us know we should do it: make a business plan. Why do we resist? Why do we make plans (if we do) that gather dust on a shelf? I think it’s because it’s too cumbersome to make the plan. Most plans aren’t practical enough to follow. We’re going to change all that right now.

Why Your Planning Process Didn’t Work for You

Too many real estate professionals try to start planning by writing an action plan. (That should actually be the last step!). Instead, start your plan as I’ve outlined below. The surprising observation I’ve made is that it’s much faster and better to create the plan when you’ve done the preliminary steps. In fact, finding out the information below catapults you to your next year’s action plan—before you have a chance to question yourself. It assures you have a great plan, too. (And, it goes so much faster).

We’ll start with the first two steps. In my next blog, I’ll lead you through the next two steps. So, before you know it, you’ll be ready to polish the fine points of your plan.

Here are those first two steps:

1. Gather and analyze the important numbers. Gather last year’s numbers so you can analyze them quickly. (Best to have your secretary/assistant do this for you). These numbers should include the results that most greatly impact on your profitability: (You may have some other favorites. Feel free to analyze them):

a. Number of recruits/lead generation/appointment numbers
b. Net number of agents (how good were your recruiting/ retention efforts?)
c. Number of listings taken
d. Number of listings sold
e. Ratio of listings taken to listings sold
f. Number of sales
g. Balance/ratio of number of sales to listings sold
h. Expenses (what’s higher than your budget for the year?

What’s out of balance with your income and profitability? What can you change?)

Analyzing these numbers give you great big hints as to what you should do as an action plan next year. In fact, you’ll find it difficult not to think ahead to your action plan! (That’s a good thing!).

Your recruiting/lead generating plan for next year
Your retention plan for next year
Your training plan for listings next year
Your coaching plan for each agent/for you (balance of listings sold and sales?) (productivity)

Just with that first step, you almost have the action part of your business plan done!

2. Evaluating YOU. Rate yourself in the various skill areas: recruiting, selection, coaching, training, retention, staff management, etc. For agents, that would be lead generation, lead conversion, presentation skills. Technology skills, etc.

What have you mastered? What do you want to improve? This becomes your personal/professional training/coaching program for next year.

Your Goal Deadline for These Two Steps

Holding ourselves accountable for what we want is very difficult! So, to help you, I’m going to ask you to create a target date to finish these two steps: Jan. 5. Why? So you’ll be ready for my next blog and the next two steps. This year: A fun, ‘got the love’ business plan! I promise you’ll stand out from the normal real estate pro who never gets around to getting one.

For a comprehensive business planning systems, with fill-in forms for each part of your plan, see my online program for agents and leadership: Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Note: Both of these business planning systems have been recommended and endorsed by industry leaders CRS (Council of Residential Specialists) and CRB (Council of Certified Real Estate Brokerage Managers (advanced designations provided by the National Association of Realtors).

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

I’ve got all the analysis tools you’ll need for your business plan–and for your agents’ plans. Don’t let 2014 be less than it should be because you don’t have all the information!

person with card successDo your agents have mission statements as part of their business plans? Why is having a mission important? How should it guide agents? You’ve heard the talks about finding your passion. But, you see your agents being over-whelmed in their careers. It’s just too much to think big when they’re  just trying to find that house or convince a buyer to work with them!

The Importance of Your Mission

This time of year, we’re encouraging everyone to create their business plans. One of the first things you’ll do in creating your own business plan is to define your mission. Why? Because, otherwise, you don’t know whether or not the actions you decide to take will fulfill your mission. This is also true of your agents.

Tackling and Bringing Down your Time Management Challenges

If agents have been in the sales business a little while, they’ve already discovered that their biggest challenge is time management.  How can they get done in a business day everything that needs getting done? That’s where your mission comes in. Creating your mission helps you prioritize all the things you’re supposed to do. It helps you decide what not to do. Most important, it helps you figure out

how to put YOU into your management and sales business successfully

I have a gift for you right now, to help you assist your agents in defining their vision (where you want to ‘end up’ in your business) and their missions (it works for leadership, too). Click hereto get this planning tool, which is excerpted form my resource Beyond the Basics of Business Planning (all the planning documents and guidance you need for yourself AND to guide your agents).

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

I’ve got all the analysis tools you’ll need for your business plan–and for your agents’ plans. Don’t let 2014 be less than it should be because you don’t have all the information!

clockHow’s your time management? Will you do better in 2014? Here are tips to analyze and tweak your time management for more effective leadership.

Through December, I’m focusing on business planning in my blogs. Look for checklists, processes, and systems–ready to use. Agents, see Up and Running in 30 Days.

Business Planning: How Was your Time Management this Year?

If you’re like most of us, you have much more on your ‘to do’ list than you get to during your business day. What does that have to do with business planning? At this time of year, we need to analyze how we spent our time. Then, we can make adjustments for next year. All of us have the same amount of time, yet, some people seem to know how to optimize it.

We Don’t Manage Time

The notion that we manage time is actually a mis-nomer. We manage activities. Have you ever known an agent who comes into the office every day, seems to work hard, yet makes little money? That person would tell you he manages his time. Yet, his time is spent doing the wrong activities. (Or, maybe, he intends to spend his time in non-productive activities…….).

A Major Principle for Great Time/Activity Management

In Up and Running in 30 Days, (use this program for your newer agents for business planning) I introduced the principle of categorizing activities so that you can tell whether you are spending your time in activities that will make you money—or not. All real estate activities can be categorized as either

Business producing or

Business supporting

Which are which: Those activities that have agents meeting people directly, working with people, and selling houses are business producing. All the rest are business supporting.

Which are your business producing activities? Are they recruiting, selecting, coaching, and training? If not, you’re not making the profit you should be making.

Click here to get my time/activity analysis, excerpted from Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Let me know what you found out from your time/activity analysis, and the changes you’re making for next year’s business plan.

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

I’ve got all the analysis tools you’ll need for your business plan–and for your agents’ plans. Don’t let 2014 be less than it should be because you don’t have all the information!

Are your systems your business plan? According to Michael Gerber, small business guru, the integration of your systems is your business plan. (What does your business plan look like?)  If I walked into your office and wanted to buy it, could you show me the systems you use to run your office? Why? Because that’s what I’m purchasing–so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel!!!! (plus your agents, of course).

This blog is part of a series on business planning. Look for helpful checklists, processes, and systems I’ve included in these posts. For agents, check out Up and Running in 30 Days. Here’s to a very successful business plan!

How Many Systems do you Have?

Michael Gerber categories systems this way:small write outline

Mechanical (we probably call this technical)                           Financial                            People

The first two can be bought. It’s the last one that we need to create systems for that cause us time management problems.

Are you trying to run your office (and probably sell real estate, too), without systems? Most managers are. That’s costing you lots of time, money, and frustration. So, now’s a great time to get those systems in place, so you can have an integrated, workable business plan. Here’s the process:

1. Create systems to manage processes through change

2. Choose methods (including technology) to manage these systems

Let’s talk about the systems first. Good agents today have systems for each process they manage. For example, an agent has a listing process system, which includes the materials, packages, and checklists to manage the process. With those systems, agents can not only the manage the process, they can delegate the right activities to their assistants.

Systems: The Agent’s—and Yours

Think about the systems, processes, and checklists you, as manager, recommend that your agent create to accomplish the critical tasks, or activities, in his business. Now, compare that with the tasks you, as manager, have to accomplish in your position as “people” manager. Work from the tasks to systems to manage these tasks. To prioritize the systems you want to develop, first:

1. List the tasks you do as manager. Now, list the parallel the tasks agents do.

An example: A critical task an agent does is lead generate. Good agents have systematized that process into a marketing plan, complete with specific tactics, dates, and budget. Managers must lead generate, too. They lead generate for agents.

Does your prospecting (recruiting) plan for agents resemble that of your best agent’s marketing plan? Is it as systematized? Does it have the materials, time frames, budgets, and delegations that good agents have in their plans?

2. Now, prioritize your tasks as they relate to accomplishing your main objectives. What are the most important tasks you do as manager to assure your office makes a profit?

An example: If recruiting is very important to reaching your objective, how complete is your recruiting system? How organized is it? Who is involved with you in your recruiting plan? How well are you delegating the systems?

Your Job Description Gives you ‘Hints’ about Systems you Need

Developing systems first requires that you’ve prioritized your job description. Then, you must either create or purchase systems to manage these processes. One reason managers haven’t systematized their work is that managers have few resources for systems organization. To actually systematize their work, they must create these systems from scratch. Given the myriad of activities managers must accomplish, that’s a daunting assignment. Instead, many managers stay in “crisis” management, which admittedly takes up a lot of the day, but doesn’t allow the manager to move ahead as a leader.

In contrast, agents have many resources for systems organization, both purchased and exchanged with other agents. First, there are many more agents than managers, and agents coming into the business each day. So, there is a larger market, and need, for agents’ systems. In addition, agents have led the way in organizing their businesses to delegate to assistants. It’s become ‘the thing’ to do.

Managers know they need systems.  Learning how to systematize your business with technology supporting your goals is challenging and rewarding. Doing so will help you step into the twenty-first century with confidence and enthusiasm.

Click here for a list of systems I believe managers need to grow their offices, save time, and create a consistent culture they can count on (and hand over management to someone else when they want to!).

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

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