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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.

Secrets to Starting that Business Plan


3 men and women working at tableIt’s time to do that dreaded business plan. Here’s how to make it a love fest, not a drudgery.

During these last two months of the year, I’m going to be giving you tips to make a great plan–and get your agents to plan.

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 next 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: Oct. 31. 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 Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, a comprehensive online business planning resource (with managers’ and agents’ planning resources).


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