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Archive for 2010 business plan


Whose Business Plan is It?

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Yes, I know. Wea��re supposed to have our business plans all done and ready to go prior to the New Year. But, if we dona��t get it done by Dec. 1, chances are ita��s still waiting to be polished by March 1! How do we make those plans not only get done, but, how do we make them realistic? How do we make them action road maps?

Four Steps to Integrate Your Plan

Take these four steps to get that business plan finished and implemented with real action steps by March 1.

  1. Meet with each of your agents and assure each has a plan.
  2. Capture the goals of each of your agents: listings, listings sold, and sales. Now, add a dash of realism. Ask yourself, a�?Based on what the agent accomplished last year, are his/her goals realistic for this year?a�? Then, make any adjustments you think need to be made.
  3. Add your agentsa�� adjusted goals in each of the three areas. Those sums are your office business plan objectives. Why? Because your agents are the ones who actually create the listings, listings sold, and sales.
  4. Decide, in each of the action areas below, the actions you will take to assure you reach the office goals, which are a summary of your agentsa�� goals.

The Six Action AreasBusiness Planning for the Owner overview

Create action plans in these six areas. Using these divisions, youa��ll assure that you cover all the bases.

  1. Recruiting and selection
  2. New agent productivity through training and coaching
  3. Higher production/retention for your experienced agents
  4. Marketing: Internal/external
  5. Personal/professional development
  6. Operations: financial planning/staff

For a flow chart of the leadership business plan in this blog, including these six action areas, excerpted from Business Planning for the Owner, Manager, and Team Builder, click here.

More from Carla Cross on Business Planninga��free Webinar

Listen/look at the free webinar I just did for the Learning Library of the National Association of Realtors. Click here to view it.

In the last blog, we explored how to toughen up your agents. We know it takes an agent with more tenacity and more skill to make it in real estate sales than it did in the past. Now, the question is, how do you find these tough people in the first place? There are specific strategies we recruiters must gain to choose the right people for this newer, more unforgiving market.

One of the ways to pick winners is to ask questions in the interview that indicate your candidate has the tenacity and persistence it takes to thrive in this market. (See The Complete Recruiter and Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for skills on how to construct best questions).

Best Questions to Identify Toughness

Here are a few questions to include your interview process:

  1. Tell me about a time in your life when you accomplished a great deal against all odds.
  2. Was there a time in your life when you had to accomplish something completely on your own? What happened?
  3. Have you ever performed in front of dozens, or even hundreds or thousands of people? How did you prepare to do that? What happened?

Asking this type of a�?past baseda�� questions, probing, listening, and evaluating will give you a great sense of the performance potential of your candidates in tough markets.

What are your favorite questions? What challenges are you having picking agents for this a�?new normala�� market? Let me hear from you!

Ita��s the new year. Are you ready to move that ceiling of achievement youa��ve been batting your head against? 2010 is the year you can do it! Without new skills, we just keeping working harder, not smarter. The really bad thing about continuing to beat your head against that ceiling, is that it hurts more and more. You spend more energy just trying to accomplish the same thing.

A�Too Much Energy, Too Little Results

A�Worse yet, we bounce off that ceiling and hit a new low every thing we get up the energy to try to break through it. Not only that, the last few years have been discouraging for many in real estate. Dona��t give up on yourself! You do have the talent, the skill, and the determination to succeed at a much higher level again.

A�All Performers Hit a�?Ceilings of Achievementa��

A�As a long-time performing pianist and flutist (I spent the first thirty years of my life playing and teaching music), I had to learn how to constantly change up my playing for the better. In these next few blogs, Ia��m going to share what I learned as a musician that will change your 2010 performance dramaticallya��for the better.

A�You Arena��t as Good as You Can Bea��I Promise

A�I just did a talk for our areaa��s Womena��s Council, on how to have a much better 2010a��how to smash through that ceiling of achievement. (Title: Everything I learned about Achievement I learned from Ticklinga�� the Ivoriesa��also the title of my latest keynote).

A�As a four-year old, I climbed up on the piano bench and figured out, by ear, how to play a�?Sue City Suea�?a��with bass notes, chords, rhythm, melodya��the whole shebang. I was acclaimed as a little kid. However, as I got a little older, I found that playing by ear just wasna��t getting me to be a better player. Herea��s what I did to get to concert artistry level, and earn a bachelora��s in piano performancea��and how you can translate these performance principles to your real estate business.

A�Get from a�?By Eara�� via your Talent to Conscious Systemization

A�As a musician, I know that no one can play very well when they try learning only by hearing (playing a�?by eara��). To progress pass a a�?whiz-bang, arena��t you wonderfula�� amateur level, musicians must learn to read music, get a great teacher, and learn to practice perfectly. Generally, their teacher/coach will teach them how to practice, and provide the best editions of music. They will teach them will a specific system. The better the system, the coach, the music, and the practice, the higher the performancea��the sky is the limit.

A�The First Time You Do Something Isna��t As Good as it Gets!

A�What does that mean to a real estate professional? Most of us started selling or managing a�?by eara��. Some of us were talented, and that carried us pretty well for quite a while. But, then, we hit our a�?ceiling of achievementa��, and found we were working 24/7 and expending way too much energya��and money. The way out:

  1. A�Grasp systems (the best systems you can find)
  2. Follow processes and checklists
  3. Get a great coach
  4. Practice as perfectly as you can

A�Practitionersa��Watch Those Actions, Not Just the Words

A�Unfortunately, we real estate professionals dona��t realize that we are judged on our performance, not our knowledge. So, when you get all antsy because you think you need more classes, stop and think about your performance level, not your knowledge level. Spend more time evaluating your performance, and pay someone to coach to you get better (all performers, whether musicians or golfers, do this, by the way). Critique your systems, and keep refining them because they will subconsciously affect your performance levels.

A�If I had a piano, Ia��d demonstrate these points (I do use the piano in the keynote!).

A�What Do You Want to Work on This Yeara��from a�?By Eara�� to Systematic?

A�Do you have some business plan goals for yourself this year to raise your ceiling of achievement? What do you believe is most valuable for you to work on?

Are you all systematized and ready for next year? In this world of lightning change, we managers are struggling to stay even–much less get ahead. In our business, changes are occurring so quickly that, just as we start to organize a process, new considerations appear. These new considerations are not only occurring more quickly than ever, the technology to organize them is evolving at warp speed. Since youa��re making your business plan for 2010 (you are, arena��t youa��.), ita��s a perfect time to see whether you are a�?up to speeda�� in your systemization.

A Different Definition of a Business Plan

I love Michael Gerbera��s definition of a business plan: a�?The sum of your systems is your business plan.a�? (Gerber is the author of the awesome business books, The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited.)

Two Systems Challenges for managers

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 1. Create systems to manage processes through change

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 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.

Agent Systems vs. Management Systems

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:

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

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

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 2. Now, prioritize your tasks as they relate to accomplishing your mainA�objectives. What are the most important tasks you do as manager toA�A�A�A�A� 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?

Prioritize your Job Description to Prioritize your Systemization

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. (Weirdly, thata��s what I like to doa��create recruiting, selecting, coaching, and training systems so you dona��t have to reinvent the wheel).

Next post: Ia��ll give you a list of the systems I think you should work toward so you end up working smarter, not harder.


What’s In a Business Plan?

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Whata��s in a business plan? Goals? Action plans? Youa��re right, as far as it goes. Buta��..Last week, I presented a webinar through the National Association of Realtorsa�� Learning Library, titled Not Your Grammya��s Business Plan. One of the points I made was that the old-style one-two page business planning templates just dona��t make it these days. Ita��s not enough to either write a

Platitude-heavy mission/vision plan, with a lot of a�?we will bea��.a��
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.

Whata��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 a�?flow charta�� 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 a�?patha�� 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 easya��the business support parts of the plan, not the lead generating parts of the plan.

Make Moneya��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 The Business Planning System for the Real Estate Professional (for agents) or Business Planning for the Owner, Manager, and Team Builder.

Grab your Complimentary Audio CD

I really, really want each one of you to gain a workable, useable plan for 2010. So, I’m offering a bonus of an audio CD to help you in your business (offer good until Dec. 31, 2010).